The Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a deciduous tree or large shrub, which should be pruned at the end of its dormancy, i.e. towards the end of winter. In general, the method for pruning trees differs with ornamental plants as opposed to those grown mainly for their fruit. As Pomegranate is both a beautiful landscaping tree and one that has delicious and nutritious fruit, the dilemma facing the gardener concerns the type of pruning to adopt.
Pruning Trees for Fruit
Commercial fruit tree growers prune their trees by shortening main branches. The purpose is to induce new spring growth, from which develops more numerous flower buds and thus more fruit. The farmer is also interested in making the harvesting process cheaper and easier, which he does by periodically lowering the height of the tree.
The trouble is that this method is often imported into the ornamental garden, to which it is largely unsuited. The reason for this being that shortening branches disturbs the natural shape and flow of the tree, leaving behind an ugly stump, from which sprout a group of stems. It may be right for the farmer, interested primarily in maximizing yields, but not for the ornamental gardener, concerned with the appearance of the landscape plants.
Pruning Pomegranate Trees for Landscaping
In order to preserve the natural look of a tree, instead of shortening branches, whole limbs are removed to the trunk or larger limbs. This pruning method applies just as much to the Pomegranate, with its natural, arching, vase-like form. The habit of pruning branches short simply ruins the Pomegranate as a decorative specimen.
To reduce the tendency of the plant to become thick and messy, it is possible to thin out some growth in the center, especially those stems that crisscross into each other. In addition, stems that grow too close to the main branches can be removed. It is wise though to retain, some of the stems that sucker from the base, as the Pomegranate looks best as a multi-stemmed tree.