This blog carries detailed information about the cultivation practice required for pomegranate production.
Pomegranates are popular table fruits and are loved for their refreshing juice, which offers many medicinal benefits. Pomegranate production is profitable due to the fruit’s hardiness, low maintenance requirements, higher yields, and superior qualities. It is necessary to understand the proper method for cultivating pomegranates in order to obtain higher-quality fruits.
In terms of pomegranate area and production, India leads the world. Other nations that produce pomegranates include Iran, Turkey, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco, Afghanistan, China, Greece, Japan, etc. India accounts for over 70% of the global pomegranate market. Pomegranates are grown on 1.12 lakh hectares of land in India, which represents 1.7% of the country’s total fruit-growing land. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan are the Indian states that grow pomegranates. Maharashtra is the leading pomegranate state in terms of the area.
Pomegranate is a subtropical fruit. It can adapt to a wide range of climate conditions and can be grown upto 1800 m above sea level altitude. The fruit tree grows best in semi-arid climates with cold winters and hot, dry summers. The tree requires a hot and dry climate during fruit development and ripening. The ideal temperature for fruit development is 38°C. A sustained high temperature is necessary for the tree to produce sweet fruits. It grows as an evergreen or semi-evergreen in tropical and subtropical climates. Fruit’s sweetness suffers when it is exposed to high humidity. As a result, pomegranates are regarded as hardy fruit that can survive in droughts regardless of the low yield.
Pomegranates are grown on diverse types of soil. The pomegranate is not very particular about its soil requirement. The deep loamy or alluvial soil is ideal for its cultivation. It can tolerate soils which are loamy and slightly alkaline. It can thrive well on comparatively poor soils where fruits fail to grow. Pomegranates can grow in medium and black soils. It is rated as a salt-hardy fruit plant.
How to plant pomegranate trees?
Prior to pit digging, the site is fully prepared and levelled. It should be planted in either a square or a hexagonal layout. The pit should measure 60 x 60 x 60 cm. Pits should be filled with a suitable soil mixture, 22–25 kg of compost or farmyard manure, and 1 kg of superphosphate.
The plants in a square planting system are spaced 6 m by 6 m apart, and each hectare can sustain 275 plants. If the soil is deeper, the planting distance can be lowered to 5 m.
Planting density is the most important yield-contributing component that can be adjusted to produce the highest productivity per unit area. The optimal spacing is critical for maximising land utilisation and profit.
Pomegranate planting is best done in northern India during the dormant season, which runs from January to mid-February, and in southern India during the monsoon season.
How to propagate pomegranate trees?
- Pomegranate plants grown from seed vary greatly and are unappealing. As a result, they need to be raised vegetatively. Cuttings are the most commonly used vegetative propagation technique for commercially producing pomegranate plants.
- The cuttings are made from mature wood and range in length from 8 to 10 cm. In the nursery fields, the cuttings are planted in such a way that no more than one-third of the cuttings are exposed. The optimal time to implement cuttings is between December and January when the plants drop their leaves. Cuttings taken in September and October will also root well. The cuttings made from the plants in the nursery fields are planted right away.
- Pomegranate can also be propagated using air-layering and ground-layering methods.
Flower regulation or bahar treatment in pomegranate
- The pomegranate starts fruiting about four years after planting and continues for about 25 to 30 years. Economic yield is generally obtained after ten years of planting.
- Pomegranate has a tendency to bear flowers and fruits throughout the year.
- Plants are given a resting period, which artificially alters the tree’s natural propensity in order to produce more yields during a specific period. It is accomplished by withholding water for two months prior to regular flowering, exposing the roots, and using chemicals.
- Such techniques can be used to encourage flowering in June–July (Mrig bahar), which coincides with the end of the monsoon, February–March (Ambe bahar), and September–October (Hasth bahar). This is known as bahar treatment.
Water is withheld for about two months in advance of the normal flowering season to regulate flowering. After two months, manures and fertilisers are applied, and light irrigation is given. Three to four days after, heavier irrigations at normal intervals are followed. The tree readily responds to this treatment by producing new growth and blooms and bears a good crop.
Irrigation in pomegranate
Regular irrigation is necessary for newly planted saplings so that the roots can become well-established and the plants may begin to grow. The plants can be irrigated separately on a daily or weekly basis. In the northern part of India, when planting is done in the spring, frequent watering should be done every 7 to 10 days until the monsoon season begins. In regions where planting is done during the monsoon, irrigation may be provided whenever there is no rain for an extended period of time. After the plants have had time to establish themselves, which takes approximately six months, they can withstand significant amounts of drought.
Depending on the soil, climate, weather, and intercrops cultivated, irrigation can be supplied at intervals of 2 to 4 weeks. Nowadays, drip irrigation helps farmers to achieve higher yields.
Regular irrigation is required from blossoming through fruit ripening because irregular moisture conditions result in the falling of flowers and small fruits. Additionally, it can lead to the development of cracks in ripe fruits, which would lower their market value and consumer acceptance.
It is particularly beneficial in pomegranate orchards since it takes around 6-7 years to reach commercial bearings. In a pomegranate orchard, it is simple to cultivate vegetables such as moong, peas, beans, tomatoes, radishes, cucurbits, and peas. Intercrops should be grown during the first four years of the plantation’s life. It is normally best to let the intercrops grow all year. Intercropping can be continued for another 3 to 4 years once the plants have begun to bear fruit. A green manure crop should ideally be grown during the monsoon and should be buried in the soil once it has reached the end of the vegetative stage and begun to flower.
Training in pomegranate
Pomegranates can be trained as either multi-stemmed trees or single-stemmed trees.
In this technique, 3–4 stems are left at the hillside while the remaining shoots are cut, giving the resulting tree a bushy appearance. The growers in Maharashtra prefer multistem training by retaining all stems. However, it has been discovered that the quantity of stems per plant has little effect on yield.
At the time of planting, all side shoots are cut off, leaving a single stem up to 30 cm. The primary stem is turned back at the height of about one metre, which causes branches to form. It is permitted for four or five evenly spaced branches to develop on each side 60 to 70 cm above the ground. The desired shape of the pomegranate can be maintained in the third year of planting.
Pruning in pomegranate
Pomegranate does not usually require pruning except for removing suckers and dead plant parts, diseased branches and developing a sound framework of the tree. It is essential to remove suckers as soon as they arise. Annual pruning in winter during the dormant period should be confined to the shortening of the previous season’s growth to encourage fruiting.
Steps of pruning
A) Development of young trees
- Pruning begins after 6 to 8 months to develop the structural basis.
- If you desire a system with just one trunk, keep one strong shoot and remove the others.
- If you desire a multi-trunk system, leave 5–6 strong-looking shoots.
- After planting, a healthy canopy should emerge in two years.
B) Pruning for maintenance of bearing trees:
- The third year is when pruning begins.
- Remove weak, broken, dead, or diseased branches.
- Reduce the breadth and height of the tree.
- Increase air and light permeability.
- Get rid of the suckers near the ground.
Harvesting and Fruit Handling
Pomegranate is a non-climatic fruit. After the blossoms appear, the fruits are ready to be harvested in 5-7 months. Fruits mature and turn somewhat yellowish, then pink or red. When tapped, the fruits make a metallic sound, and when pushed, they make a “Crunch” sound. With the assistance of secateurs, the fruits are gathered.
|Bahar||Flowering time||Harvesting time|
|Mrig Bahar||June to August||November to March|
|Ambe Bahar||January to February||June to August|
|Hasth Bahar||October to November||February to May|
Fruit is harvested from November to March in Mrig bahar, June to August in Ambe bahar, and February to May in Hasth bahar. When it comes to flowering, Mrig bahar blooms from June to August, Ambe bahar blooms from January to February, and Hasth bahar blooms from October to November. In the fourth year, the trees start to produce fruit, which can be collected in small quantities—20 to 25 fruits (4-5 kg) per tree. It increases to between 100 and 150 fruits in the tenth year (20-25 kg). A well-managed plantation should have an average yield of 200–250 fruits per tree.
Sorting and Grading:
Fruit sorting should be done after harvesting to remove undesired fruits. For the fruits to sell for more money on the market, adequate grading should be done before packing. The fruits are classified into five grades: A, B, C, D, and E. A fruit must weigh at least 400g and measure 90mm in diameter to be classified as an ‘A’ grade fruit. Fruits should ideally be packed in CFB containers with a capacity of 4-5 kg.
|S.no||Grade||Weight of fruit (g)||Fruit diameter (mm)|
The majority of the fruit is packaged in bamboo baskets or wooden boxes weighing 10–12 kg with a layer of dried grasses or paddy straw for padding. The fruits can be transported without suffering any loss to distant markets.
The fruits can be kept at 4.5°C and 80-85% relative humidity for around 5 to 6 months. Pomegranate fruits can last up to 12 weeks when sealed in polythene bags (0.02 mm) and stored at 10°C.
Disease management in pomegranate
The major pomegranate diseases are described below:
- Affected plants exhibit branch browning, followed by leaf drooping and drying.
- In a few months or a year, the tree perishes completely.
- The wood of the damaged tree has a dark greyish-brown discolouration that is visible when the tree is sliced open lengthwise or crosswise.
- Fusarium wilt can persist for years in infected plant waste and the soil (5-7 yrs).
- The majority of the wilt pathogens, which also include fungi and nematodes, spread through infected planting materials to new areas.
- However, other intercultural activities like weeding, applying manure, using farm equipment and pruning tools, using root grafts, flooding/runoff irrigation water, and insects like shot hole borer can also spread the pathogens within and near orchards.
Infected plant material should be removed and destroyed to stop the disease from spreading.
Clean the grafting and pruning equipment both before and after usage.
Avoid areas with alternate pomegranate trees with non-host species.
Maintain enough separation between trees (to prevent root contact, where the fungus may spread).
Infection from wilt can be more likely in areas with poor drainage. Hence ensure proper drainage in the farm.
- Anthracnose symptoms include tiny, regular, sporadic black dots on fruits, leaves, and flowers that subsequently transform into dark brown depressed marks.
- Yellowing and wilting of infected leaves.
- These spots are frequently encircled by a more or less distinct yellow halo. On leaves, the spots can eventually spread to cover a significant portion of the blades and develop into lesions.
- They can become yellow and prematurely shed, which causes defoliation.
- Fruits have brown to dark brown spots that start off round before becoming irregular as they grow.
- Later, the fruit softens, which initially turns dark grey or black but is not watery and begins to rot.
- Choose Ambe bahar or Haste varieties.
- Wider tree spacing and regular tree pruning.
- Correctly discard unhealthy branches and leaves.
Bacterial leaf spots
- In extreme circumstances, the appearance of one to several small, uneven, water-soaked patches on leaves causes premature defoliation.
- The disease also affects stems and branches, resulting in symptoms including cracking and girdling.
- Fruits had dark brown, uneven, slightly elevated, greasy spots that, in more severe cases, burst open with L-shaped splits.
- Farmers should maintain appropriate plant and row spacing.
- Choose disease-free seedlings for new planting.
- They should use a lot of organic manures, micronutrients, and the advised NPK.
- The root-knot nematode forms knots or galls on the roots. Root systems show different degrees of growth retardation, leaf yellowing, and dropping of mature plants.
- As the nematode population grows, feeder roots are invaded and destroyed as quickly as they are created. The plants become weak and produce smaller fruits due to the disruption in nutrient intake.
- In young irrigated orchards, severe root galling and noticeable damage to pomegranate trees is common occurrences.
- Branch-by-branch wilting of the plant due to the association of the wilt fungus is also a common symptom of root-knot nematode.
- Propagate only nematode-free stock and resistant crop varieties.
- Use cultural methods like intercropping and crop rotation to control the nematode population.
- Also, using clean planting materials and farm equipment can help control the spread.
- Using 10g of carbofuran per plant during sowing will also help check the nematode growth.
Pest management in pomegranate
Anar butterfly/ Pomegranate fruit borer
- The caterpillar eats the young fruits.
- Feeds off of interior components (pulp and seeds).
- Fruit loss and rot could occur.
- The tree’s health and vigour should be maintained through clean cultivation.
- The fruits may avoid contamination if they are screened with polythene or paper bags.
- Eliminate all the harmed fruits.
- Get rid of Compositae family weeds.
- Keep an eye out for drying branches to spot early infestations.
- Nymphs and adults both consume the leaking cell sap on the underside of leaves by rasping the surface.
- The fruit’s market value will decrease due to the leaf tip turning brown and curling, drying up, and losing its flowers.
- Always keep the basin clean.
- Keep proper aeration by using proper training and trimming
- Remove and destroy the plant’s harmed components.
- Keep an eye out for drying branches to spot early infestations.
- At the feeding site, a round pinhole-like spot emerges.
- Later, the area close to the damaged area develops a yellowish-brown colour. Bacteria and fungi can quickly spread to the fruits that have been pierced.
- The fruit rots and drops before its time as a result.
- Fallen fruits should be thrown away since they draw insects.
- Small-scale fruit bagging is efficient.
- Generating smoke at sunset in the orchards.
- Elimination of weeds (Tinospora cardifolia, Cocculus pendules)
- Moth collection with hand nets in the evening.
- Utilise a light trap, then eliminate it with kerosene water.
Disorder of pomegranate
- Fruit cracking is a major disorder hindering pomegranate cultivation. A lack of boron and calcium generally causes this disorder.
- The fruits with cracks are subject to additional insect or fungi attacks. Fruits are thus no longer suitable for commercialisation.
- The Mrig Bahar is more susceptible to cracking than other bahar crops.
- The main cause of this disease is the considerable variation in soil moisture content as well as air humidity caused by monsoons. Fruit growth is interrupted if there is a sudden delay in rainfall throughout August. As a result of the subsequent dry atmosphere, the elasticity of the skin is lost; then there is rain again, and development resumes, resulting in the cracking of the fruit skin.
How can Fasal assist?
- Fasal is a fully automated platform that offers farmers a comprehensive range of services.
- Fasal system analyses numerous parameters such as soil, crop, and weather conditions, such as leaf wetness and soil moisture, using AI-based sensors to determine a plant’s health. It monitors these conditions round-the-clock, identifying any anomalies and calibrating a solution in conjunction with its in-depth understanding of ideal pomegranate conditions.
- With the help of sensors, farmers can meet the precise irrigation needs of their pomegranate crop & avoid chances of poor yield caused by over or under-irrigation.
- Our sensor will be able to pinpoint when your farm soil is excessively damp, if rain is expected, or whether temperatures are at an ideal point for the development of disease or the likelihood of pest invasion.
- Fasal sensors are designed to function in a way that can help generate pest and disease warnings and recommend preventative treatments only when necessary, significantly decreasing pesticide expense.
- Precision farming and timely irrigation tracking helped numerous farmers linked with Fasal to reduce their use of pesticides by 15–30% and water use by 30–50%, respectively, while also improving yield and quality by 15–30%.
- The Fasal system also assists farmers in selling their produce at higher rates by providing Sorting, Grading, Packaging, and Logistics services.
- With the introduction of ‘Fasal Fresh’, the company has entered into an entirely new direction in which farmers and buyers could do direct business with complete end-to-end traceability. The approach removes the need for intermediaries and creates a healthy market for both parties concerned.
Fasal is continuously developing to enhance the lives of farmers and remove any barriers standing in their way.
We would love to talk to you and help you understand more about Fasal.