How to establish a pomegranate orchard…

ORCHARD ESTABLISHMENT

Pomegranates require a spacing of around 3.5m x 4m. The tree density should permit adequate sunlight penetration for growth. The light penetration from between the rows depends on the distance between the rows and the height of the trees. The ideal tree height should be 3.0-3.5 m.

Management Practices for Pomegranate Orchard

De-blossoming: To increase fruit production, prune off the flowers the first time they appear. This flowering and fruiting are the expense of growth and hindrance of the formation of a strong framework of the plant.  It may lead to stunting and poor development of the crop. These inflorescences, therefore, need to be removed immediately after emergence not to disturb vegetative growth. Pomegranates grown from cuttings should be de-blossomed until they are 5 months old after planting.

Weed control

Weed control in pomegranate orchards is important as it creates competition for water and fertilizer and in the case of newly planted trees – sunlight. Weeds could also host insect pests that could create problems in the orchard. Weeds can be managed by mowing, covering crops in the inter-row space, or application of weed killer chemicals. Weeds are controlled mainly with pre-emergence weed killers while after germination, in the plant rows, glyphosate can be applied throughout the season but special care should be taken to avoid applications on windy days. Consult label for application instructions.

Cover crops could be considered to get rid of competing weeds and act as hosts for natural enemies of potential pests.

Fertilizing

Pomegranate being a perennial crop, producing a huge quantity of biomass generally demands specific amounts of nutrient elements. Depending on the soil analysis results, about 200kg/acre nitrogen is given annually. As for other macronutrients, phosphorus and potassium need only be applied if soil tests or leaf analysis indicate a deficiency. One of the few common deficiencies found in pomegranate is zinc, which appears as unusual yellowing of the leaves. If required, a foliar zinc application in the spring after fruit set is recommended. It is recommended to reduce the N: P to the minimum closer to fruit ripening, to ensure good development of the color and accumulation of sugars in the arils. It is important to get advice from an expert on the most suitable fertilizer programs for your orchard.

Watering.

Although pomegranates are very drought tolerant, ensuring adequate soil moisture will result in a substantial improvement in plant vigor and fruit yield. Most commercial pomegranate orchards are irrigated and drip irrigation is normally recommended (one or two lines of drippers per row)

Care should be taken, as excessive soil moisture in the summer can lead to an abundance of vegetative growth, but the fruit produced will tend to be softer, resulting in poor postharvest quality.

Trees are irrigation according to an irrigation schedule developed for the specific soil and climatic conditions in the orchard. An average of 350mm to 500mm of irrigation water is required over the growing season.

Pruning

Proper pruning and thinning of fruit for sun protection and larger fruit yields. Each tree has a limited capacity to supply nutrients to foliage and fruit. With adequate pruning and thinning of underdeveloped or poor quality fruit, those nutrients can be more beneficial to a smaller number of fruit, producing better yields.

Trees should have three to five lateral branches as opposed to the conventional 12 or 15. Trees should be pruned to maintain a height that provides easy access to fruit on top branches. (Taller trees do not provide more fruit.) Trees should not be more than 5m in height. Prune older trees more heavily than younger trees so that they are reinvigorated. Remember that fruit will form mostly on the outer part of the canopy where light penetration is best.

Pruning should take place before full bloom takes place.  Prune the top portion more heavily than the bottom, as this is where most vegetative growth occurs.

Thinning of fruits

Too many fruits on trees may hurt the following season’s yield and will also impact the current season’s fruit size. To avoid this, thinning of fruits 4 – 5 weeks after flowering could be useful. It is also important to thin fruit in clusters as fruit clusters usually create an ideal environment for insects to survive and thrive! A general rule will also be to thin out the fruits borne on weak spurs, deformed and damaged fruits. Generally, the early flowers will result in a large fruit.

Fertilization

Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are the major nutrients required for proper pomegranate growth. Nitrogen (urea) should be applied by hand during the first two years, the amount increasing each year up to the fourth year. Trees can be given 200 grams of NPK in the first year of planting. After that, little fertilizer is needed (although the plants respond favorably to a mulch of rotted manure or other compost). After harvest and when the trees have lost their leaves, 300g of urea and 250g of diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer should be applied, with plenty of irrigation afterward.

Sunburn protection.

Pomegranates are mainly grown in the warmer areas where temperatures normally rise above 40°C. Exposure of the fruit to intense sunlight can cause sunburn damage in the form of large black spots on the fruit skin, which render the fruit unmarketable. Fruit from young trees is especially sensitive to sunburn as a result of insufficient leaf coverage on the tree. Several approaches could be taken to reduce sunburn incidence such; Avoid heavy pruning and ensure that the tree has adequate growth to allow sufficient leaf growth to protect the tree and  bagging of fruit (paper bags), adjusting of fertilization and irrigation regimes as well as orchard covering (netting)

One pomegranate fruit tree will give you between 25 and 30 Kgs in terms of fruits, one acre has 200 fruit trees so that gives you between 5,000 Kgs and 6,000 Kgs that is between 5 to 6 Tonnes.

Give us a call on 0706222888 to purchase pomegranate fruit tree seedlings and also to learn more about this fruit tree seedling.

1 thought on “How to establish a pomegranate orchard…”

  1. This is a good article.
    I have a few plants at my Makindu home but for domestic consumption.

    I would like to get technical support to go commercial.
    My farm is in Makindu in Makueni county.

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