Pomegranate pruning, how and when to do it

There pomegranate pruning, with the right technical precautions, it is simple to do, even for the most inexperienced gardeners. It is a cultivation operation aimed at keeping the trees of our organic orchard in a good balance between vegetation and production.
The pomegranate is a very luxuriant tree, so it is important that pruning is done regularly over the years.
Pruning it must avoid drastic interventions, which stimulate an excessive emission of new vegetation. However, it is necessary to ventilate the foliage, relieving it of excess vegetation.
In this article, we will therefore see how to prune a pomegranate depending on the type of cultivation chosen.

When to prune pomegranate

The pruning of the pomegranate is carried out in two periods of the year: at end of winter, in the months of February and March (dry pruning); and between late spring and early summer (green pruning).
Winter pruning is the most important, it is in this moment, in fact, that the vegetative-productive balance is established with the cuts.
The green pruning of the pomegranate instead has, more than anything else, a lightening function, and allows you to concentrate all the energy of the plant in fruiting.

How to prune pomegranate

The pomegranate is a species that in nature has a shrubby / bushy habit. If we let the plant grow freely, in a few years we would end up with a thick blanket of impassable branches, with poor production and difficult harvesting.
The reason is that this tree has a strong tendency to emit basal suckers.
Pomegranate pruning operations are therefore essential to have harmonious, productive and manageable plants.
In the home there are two main forms of farming: rational bush is sapling.
These forms are impressed with the breeding pruning, which is practiced in the first years after planting.

Bush pruning

Bush pomegranate pruning

The bush shape is the easiest pruning to set up and maintain over the years. It supports the natural bearing of the pomegranate and keeps the plant lower, with the vegetation well distributed in space.
Of course, if we want to grow a pomegranate bush we must set it rationally.
The ideal planting distance is that of 4 m between one plant and another.

First year

The setting is done after planting by selecting 3-4 basal suckers, which will become the main stems (branches) of the tree.
It is necessary to choose well positioned and adequately spaced suckers, which have an outward inclination.
The selected suckers must be pruned, removing any shoots on the stem. In this way we will give a strong and free growth to what will be the future branches of the pomegranate.
All other suckers must be eliminated at ground level.
These growing stems must have the right inclination, in order to guarantee a more open shape. The ideal degree of inclination is 30 ° -35 ° with respect to the ground plane. If the stem is not tilted on its own, we can fold it by tying it to the ground with a tie rod, which will ensure the desired angle.

Second year

At the end of the winter of the second year, we will carry out another pruning operation. All the basal suckers must be eliminated, in order to swell the stems chosen the previous year, which at this point are the structure of our bush.

Production pruning

Pomegranate is a slow growing plant, but it goes into production quite early. In fact, as early as the third year after planting, we could reap the first fruits.
Fructification takes place on the two-year-old branches, which must be those preserved from the cuts. The old ramifications that have already produced, on the other hand, are renewed from year to year, with thinning cuts.


With winter pruning, the suckers, that is the young branches that grow straight on the adult branching, must be thinned. The suckers, in fact, remove energy from the plant and push it upwards, and, among other things, they are not productive.
However, the sucker has the purpose of renewing an exhausted or damaged branch and thickening bare parts of the structure. It is therefore necessary to evaluate which and how many suckers to possibly leave.


Obviously, during the winter pruning we will always eliminate the basal suckers.
The pomegranate's sucking attitude can be exploited for reproduction, using the technique of offshoot of trench and the classic cutting.

Central or intertwined branches

When pruning the pomegranate, you must always try to bring the vegetation outwards, keeping the plant as free as possible in the center. The best fruiting, in fact, occurs at the apex of the branches best exposed to light.
The branches that point to the center or that intertwine must therefore be pruned, avoiding return cuts that give rise to the emission of many suckers and cause us to lose production on the apexes.

Intensity of pruning

The production pruning of the pomegranate aims at maintaining the shape set during the rearing phase. The advice we give is therefore not to intervene too vigorously with pruning, but to do it only where necessary. Excessive cuts lead to a drop in production and vegetative growth the following year.

Photo gallery

In the photo gallery below here is the sequence of the operations just described.

Green pruning

Green production pruning takes place after fruit set, usually in June and July. Again the young suckers at the base of the stems and any new suckers are cut.

Sapling pruning

Tree pruning of pomegranate

The sapling shape of the pomegranate is more difficult to set up and maintain, as it does not support its natural bearing. However, it is more appreciable from an aesthetic point of view and, if well set up, greatly facilitates harvesting operations.
With varieties of medium vigor, the planting distance is 3 m between one plant and another.
Let's see how the tree pruning of pomegranate trees.

First year

Unlike the bush shape, to form a sapling pomegranate we must start with only one stem, which will be the central trunk of the plant.
All other basal suckers must therefore be eliminated.
The stem during the first year is allowed to grow freely.

Second year

In the second year, winter pruning consists, first of all, in the elimination of all basal suckers.
Then the stem must be trimmed at 80-100 cm in height, in order to form the scaffolding of the sapling. All shoots on the stem below the topping cut should be cleaned up. The trunk must be free.
The future branches of the tree will be formed from the topping cut and the desired 3-4 can be selected in the green pruning cut. You have to choose the best positioned and with the right inclination, this time at 45 ° with respect to the ground plane.
Of course, the cultivation of the pomegranate as a sapling is easier if you buy 2-3 year old potted plants, which already have the set shape.

Production pruning

Production pruning follows, roughly, the same criteria set out for the bush, with some little extra care.
In addition to the periodic elimination of suckers, in dry and green pruning, the suckers that grow on the trunk, below the scaffolding point, must always be eliminated. If one of these suckers escapes us, we risk losing shape.
With the sapling setting, the pomegranate will tend to emit even more sucks in the upper part of the foliage. This will lead to a strong upward vegetative drive.
Therefore, more time will be lost in the thinning and thinning cuts of the canopy itself. We must not risk that the tree grows too high, otherwise we will lose the advantage of making a comfortable harvest from the ground.

Renewal pruning of pomegranate

It may happen that you are faced with pomegranate plants that have been abandoned for some time and need a renewal pruning. Generally they are large bushes, with many branches that cross and a bunch of vegetation. In these cases, the intervention must be more drastic, aimed at returning the plant to the state of a rational bush.
We then identify the 3-4 best positioned stems, large and healthy, and clean them at the base by eliminating all the rest.
Once done, we can proceed to a strong internal thinning of the canopy. To do this, first cut the dry or damaged branches and then those that cross in the center.
The pomegranate is a very plastic plant, which tolerates cuts well.
In a few years we can rejuvenate it and bring it to the lost vegetative-productive balance.
It is an intervention that is worth doing, since the pomegranate tree is very long-lived, it can easily live over a century.

Precautions in the use of tools

Pomegranate has a very hard and tenacious wood. Young branches and suckers are also difficult to cut if you don't have good scissors, with a sharp blade.
We recommend the purchase of high quality scissors like these.
It is important to make the cuts precisely, avoiding tearing of the bark.
Another tip is to disinfect the tools before starting the pomegranate pruning work.
With a mixed orchard, where perhaps we have performed different prunings, such as those of: Apple tree, However, khaki, apricot, almond tree, FIG, olive tree, lives etc., it is absolutely necessary to avoid carrying pathogens from one plant to another.
Tool blades are an excellent transport vehicle for fungi and wood diseases.
So, let's waste some time disinfecting shears and knives, using common bleach.

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Organic cultivation

Organic Cultivation is a blog that was born from our desire to spread the good practices of organic farming. To do this we decided to give our knowledge to anyone who wants to get involved and create their own vegetable garden (even using a terrace or a simple balcony). Growing without the use of pesticides is possible and we want to prove it by presenting alternatives biological and effective for any type of problem linked to agriculture.

Pomegranate and training pruning

Each plant needs be pruned periodically, in such a way as to allow the elimination of branches that can damage the correct growth of the plant, those that are damaged or those that are too large that can compromise fruiting in some way. The second reason for the pomegranate pruning it is purely aesthetic, to give a harmonious and pleasant shape to the crown of the plant. Since the pomegranate is a bushy plant, it needs pruning to have the shape of a tree. The pomegranate, in fact, can be grown according to different tree forms and bushes are the most common. Regarding the tree shape involves the formation of a main trunk, up to 80-100 centimeters from the ground after this the formation of the main branches of the plant, with an overall height of about 3-3.5 meters. The tree shape is not easy to impart, considering the plant's natural tendency to be bushy. The plant tends to produce a series of basal suckers that interfere with the development of the stem chosen as the main one.

The planting distance to develop the tree-shaped pomegranate plant is about 3 meters for dwarfing plants, 6 for vigorous ones: distance both between one plant and another and between the rows. The very first operation to be carried out, during the winter, is the removal of the suckers at the foot of the plant. The scaffolding for this type of plants takes place at a height of about 80-100 centimeters: from here the main branches of branches will start. Anything that develops below this height must be eliminated. In the following years the cuts and pruning will be carried out exclusively to maintain this shape, eliminating the intricate or twisted branches and lightening the crown. The suckers that eventually develop at the base of the plant must be eliminated.

As for, however, the bush shape, this proves much simpler due to the nature of the plant and also widespread. For the initial breeding, they choose 3 or 4 more vigorous branches, which will then be renewed over time and years to maintain a high production of the plant. Immediately after the planting of the pomegranate, the first operation takes place, i.e. the topping of the stems chosen as the main ones at 15-20 centimeters from the ground, then the other unnecessary branches and the suckers at the base of the plant are eliminated. Subsequently we will intervene on the plant to ensure the correct inclination of the branches, that is 30-35 degrees towards the outside, in order to give the foliage a more open shape that allows the light to penetrate between the branches, increasing earliness and ripening of the fruits .

Especially for beginners it is easy to make some mistakes but, don't give up, you learn by making mistakes. For this reason, we show you some of the most common mistakes you might run into.

Prune too much. Often we tend to get carried away and remove more branches than we need. Let us remember that it is good to follow a middle way, neither too much nor a little. In fact, if pruned excessively, the pomegranate will give little fruit, so leave some main branches on the tree, 2 or 3, and on each of these other branches, 4 or 5 per branch.

Prune little. This is one of the mistakes that beginners run into for fear of damaging the plant. By doing so, however, we risk excessive fruiting which could weaken the pomegranate plant. Furthermore, as we have already said, the fruits tend to grow on lateral vegetation, so their weight could break the branches.

Kiwi pruning: production

The purpose of this type of pruning is only one: to make the plant lighter and better prepare it for production of new fruit.

Production pruning should be done twice the year:

  • dry winter pruning
  • summer green pruning

Production pruning is done to make the plants as productive as possible

In the first case, you can intervene on the branches that have already borne fruit or on those particularly damaged by winter frosts, thinning them so that they are 30 to 40 cm apart. Once cut, they must be tied to the scaffolding wires so that they grow parallel.

In the case of summer pruning, however, you must make sure of thin out the floral buttons removing both excess and flattened ones.

How should pruning be

Pruning must therefore be balanced, that is, one must neither exaggerate nor economize, in fact excessive pruning could lead to poor fruiting while insufficient pruning increases the number of fruits but weakens the plant, whose branches will be more fragile and therefore more subject. to breaks. By implementing the necessary cultivation rules and the right pruning, in the period between May and June we will see a beautiful flowering of pretty fire red flower heads, which will be followed by the well-known fruits with a very particular flavor.

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