How To Prune A Pomegranate Tree

Feb 11, 2022 | Garden, Gro Guide

To truly understand how to prune a pomegranate tree, we must first understand the complexity of this amazing super fruit berry. The name “pomegranate” originated from 2 medieval Latin words “pomum” which means apple, and “granatum” which translates to seeded.

So the name originally means apple with many seeds. The French term for pomegranate is “grenade,” which translates to grenade in English.

The small tree or sometimes shrub belongs to the Lythraceae family. The trees grow between 15 to 28 feet tall, and the shrubs can grow 20 to 35 feet tall. If you do not prune a pomegranate tree, it will be a bush tree.

Originating in the region extending from modern-day Iran through Afghanistan and Pakistan to northern India, there are trees found to be over 200 years old.

Every October, the Pomegranate Festival is held in Goychay, Azerbaijan. The festival features pomegranate cuisine, dancing and music.

Now let us look at the marvelous pomegranate fruit tree. Before we jump in there and get to sawing off everything we see, we need to understand what happens if we prune vs if we do not prune. As I said before, if you do not prune your tree by default it will be a bush tree.

Pruning vs Not Pruning

This is one of the most important decisions to make when planning the direction of your tree. Do you want a one main tree trunk plant with 2-4 other trunks, or a shrub looking tree with many trunks and branches coming out from the ground?

After you take a good look around your yard, maybe you decide to make the tree a LANDSCAPING FOCAL POINT in your yard. You want a traditional one trunk tree bearing pomegranates to look at. In this case, you would then prune your tree.

If you are using the plant as a LANDSCAPING FOCAL POINT fence, then you would not want to prune as much and as often.

Pruning your pomegranate tree should only be done in late winter when the tree is dormant. This will help the longevity and health of the tree. I recommend pruning in February for most places. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere of the united States, prune closer to March, but the snow has melted but before the last frost.

So now that you have decided which direction you want your tree or shrub to grow, let’s get started.

mature pruned pomegranate trees

Pruning a Pomegranate Tree

You can transform a mundane shrub tree into a single to three stemmed plant in most cases by pruning a shrub into a beautiful pomegranate tree. You just need a little know how and some proper pruning techniques and you can turn a shrub into a small tree.

1. Get your best hand held sheers. You want them very sharp, and ones that fit well in your hands. Do not use long handled tree trimmer cutters for this task. Start at the bottom of the tree and work your way up.

2. First locate the main trunk. Never cut this this off! Trim away any branches and suckers that are low down on the trunk. The best time for structural pomegranate tree pruning is late winter before the buds break but after risk of frost has passed.

4. Note, tree suckers can grow really fast in the right conditions. I recommend cutting away those sprouts to avoid competition with the mother plant and those young suckers.

5. You want to cut away most of the suckers, leaving the trunks, and maybe 2-4 other thick branches that could be trunks because of their size and thickness.

6. Shape the tree by selectively trimming away any suckers that you don’t want to become branches. Prune out suckers and other awkward branches that might criss cross or lay on each other.

With regular, competent pruning, it becomes easier to care for the tree. Prune pomegranate trees while they’re still dormant, before their spring growth begins. Remove dead, damaged and crossing branches.

After a few seasons, you will notice you trained your tree, and will only require light annual pruning. will be much easier and only take about 15 minutes to finish.

When to prune pomegranate trees

The best time to prune your tree is in late winter, when the tree is still dormant. Because all the leaves have fallen, this will also give you a good look at the shape and potential growth for the season.

Depending on where you live, mid February is a perfect time. You want to prune after all thee snow has melted, and the last frost is either coming or has gone. Some places with a longer winter should wait until early March.

Doing this will will help your tree stay happy and healthy as well as produce a ton of berries during its harvest months.

When a pomegranate tree has been trimmed properly during development and the seasons, it will have a single trunk, or, more likely, three. An unpruned tree will assume a bush form but there’s no reason you can’t make it a tree if you want a tree vs a bush.

Always remember, messing with any sucker systems can exposes the plant to a lot of hurt. A small infection might lead to death. So always use clean sheers, and gloves to avail any infection.

Pruning a Pomegranate Shrub

1. The shrub plant will have what is called a multi-trunk system. To help expedite this, you can cut the plant top off, which encourages new growth off the sides of the plant. This does makes the plant hardier, and it becomes a more resistant because of the multi-trunk system.

2. Trim some of the shoots when they are young to half their size. Cutting the stalk down will rejuvenate the plant, which will help to produce more buds. This also stimulate the tree to becomes bushy shrub, which is a good thing.

3. The best time for structural pomegranate tree pruning is in late winter before the buds break but after risk of frost has passed. If the tree is developed and maintained properly, it should only require light annual pruning.

4. Grab your best hand sheers for this manicure. You want ones that are sharp, and fits close to your hand. You to do not want to use long handled tree trimmer cutters for this.

5. Since it is the end of winter, your tree should be bare with no leaves and a ton of branches crossing in every direction. I like to start at the bottom and work up.

6. Leave all the branches that come up next to the main trunks. Aim to cut off the branches that look discolored or are growing in crazy directions. During this step, you can develop how you want your tree to look.

7. Prune as close to that particular main branch as possible. Do not over cut, because you want your bush to be full when in bloom again. Think of a hair cut for your bush tree.

8. When you are all finished, throw away all the branches in the trash or recycling bin, and you are done. It should only take you about 15 minutes from start to finish, and should only be done every other year.

One of the main downsides of choosing a bush over tree, or not pruning all together is you will have less fruit production. All the energy that could go into creating more pomegranate fruit berries will go into the extra branches, and foliage.

large bushy pomegranate tree

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