Pomegranate Best Management Practices
(Please note that there is a separate PDF file attached to be hosted on the website, if possible)
A- Local contacts in Iraq:
1. Mr. Sardar Sami, Director of Research at the Ministry of Agriculture in
Kurdistan-Iraq, his email is: Erbil Research Center
<firstname.lastname@example.org> Mobile: +964-750-451-3584
2. Dr. Adel Nouri Al-Ani, College of Agriculture at the University of Diyala
email@example.com mobile: +964-770-346-4807
3. Mr. Merdan Ali Al-Azzawi, Environ Iraq NGO,
firstname.lastname@example.org mobiles: +964-790-125-7479, +964-770-
1. For the attached PDF file:
2. Others included in the text below:
The best quality pomegranate fruits are produced in regions with cool winters and
hot, dry summers. Pomegranates vary in frost tolerance, but in some cases
temperatures down to 10°F may not severely injure the plants. The recommended
site must comply with the growing conditions:
Dry weather, particularly during fall.
Sandy soil or other with good drainage.
Water availability of 3.5 mm/day by drip irrigation including the use of
treated or salty water.
Temperature: at summer between 30°C - 44°C and during winter need
several days below 17°C (and higher than -5°C).
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Trees are easily propagated with winter hardwood cuttings, 6-8 inches (15-20 cm)
in length and pencil size or larger in diameter. Cuttings should be taken in
February or March. The cuttings are planted vertically in open ground 6 to 8
inches apart in nursery rows, with about 2 to 3 inches of the top exposed. It is not
necessary to callus the cutting to insure rooting. The plant is allowed to grow for
one season in the nursery and then transplanted bare root to the orchard the next
winter or early spring. Seed-propagated plants do not grow true-to-type, but seeds
will germinate in 45-60 days. Layering is also successful but more labor-
Pomegranates produce best on deep, heavy loams, but are adapted to many soil
types from pure sand to heavy clay. Yields are usually low on sands, while fruit
color is poor on clays. Growth on alkaline soils is poor. Optimum growth is
associated with deep, fairly heavy, moist soils in the pH range of 5.5-7.0.
4- PLANTING AND SPACING
Plant trees in early spring (February - March), avoiding late frost. Soil should be
loosely worked and not too wet. When used as a hedge, plants are spaced 2-3 m
(6-9 ft.) apart. Suckers will fill spaces and produce a compact hedge. Spacing of
5-6 m (15-18 ft.) between plants and rows are used for orchards and similar
spacing should be maintained for dooryard trees. Picking and pruning can be a
problem under close-planted conditions because workers cannot move freely
through the rows.
The pomegranate can withstand long periods of drought, although not much fruit
is produced under drought conditions. Water requirements for pomegranate are
about 125-150 cm (50-60 in.) per year. Trees should be irrigated every 7-10 days
in the absence of significant rainfall. Adequate soil moisture must be maintained
throughout the growing season particularly as harvest approaches in late summer
and early fall to reduce potential fruit splitting. Most orchards are irrigated under
the furrow system, but sprinkler and drip irrigation systems are satisfactory if
properly designed. Orchards thrive under non-cultivation and semi-non-
cultivation berm systems. Weed control is difficult because at present no pre-
emergence herbicides are registered for use in pomegranate orchards.
Mature pomegranate trees require from ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per tree
per year, which is equivalent to 2-3 kg (4.5-6.5 lb.) of 8-8-8 (or similar) fertilizer
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in November and March. Young trees should receive about 1 kg (2-2.5 lb.) of a
similar fertilizer at the same intervals. Excessive or late applications may delay
fruit maturity and reduce color and quality. Some evidence indicates that
excessive nitrogen applications cause increased vegetative growth and reduce
fruit production. Occasionally, zinc deficiency is evident in trees. This can be
corrected by applying zinc sprays during the dormant season or to the foliage in
spring and early summer.
7- INSECT PESTS
One widespread insect pest on pomegranates is the flat mite, Brevipalpus lewisi.
This small, light-reddish mite hibernates under flakes of bark on larger tree limbs
in foliage in mid to late summer, causing a russeting and checking on mature fruit.
One or two sulfur dustings in June or early July offer good mite control.
Omnivorous leaf-roller, Platynola stultana, is another serious pest in many
pomegranate orchards. The larvae of this insect are first observed in the tops of
trees nesting in shoot terminals in June and July. As fruit begins to ripen, larvae
enter in protected locations; under leaves, near the stem, or where two fruits are
touching. Larvae also cause channels to appear in the rind where they feed under
leaves. After entering the fruit they feed on kernels and pupate at the entry
location. The fruit usually rots just inside the entry location. Control is difficult
because timing must be exact when larvae are first noticed nesting in the shoots. It
is difficult to get good coverage because the larvae plaster leaves together or to
fruit, and are thus well protected.
Mealybug may cause damage to pomegranates and also citricola scale, black
scale, melon aphid, greenhouse whitefly, katydid and thrips (citrus greenhouse
and flower) attack the pomegranate but seldom. Scale insects can be controlled by
an application of 3% oil spray during the winter when the leaves are not present.
Pomegranate trees are not affected by any serious disease. The fruit, however, is
frequently damaged by heart rot, caused by Alternaria fungus. At least three
sprays/year of neutral copper fungicide gives desired control. Removal of old fruit
from the tree during pruning may eliminate a potential source of fungus as well as
shoot dieback for the following season. The disease seems to affect more fruit if
there is much rain in blooming season, thus suggesting that moisture in the bloom
increases amount of infection.
Root-knot nematode has been identified in pomegranate roots. Not normally
considered a serious pest, it may be responsible for a weakening effect on trees,
particularly those planted in sandy areas or areas where the root-knot nematode
population is very high. Few insecticides or nematocides are registered for use in
pomegranate orchards. Control measures for some of the foregoing pests must
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follow prescribed methods given under special permits through the local
9- TRAINING AND PRUNING
Trees form the nursery are planted bare root in winter or early spring. The natural
growth habit of the pomegranate is to produce many suckers from the base of the
tree. If a single truck tree is desired, only one vigorous sucker or the trunk of the
original nursery tree should be selected and branches grown from it. Basal suckers
should be removed periodically in summer and during dormant pruning to
promote growth form the main trunk of the newly planted tree.
Pomegranate trees require a small amount of pruning each winter to maintain
shape and good bearing surface. Pruning is important to produce stocky, compact
framework in the first 2 years of growth. Cut trees back to 60-75 cm (2-2.5 ft.) at
planting and develop three to five symmetrically spaced scaffold limbs by
pinching back new shoots, the lowest at least 20-25 cm (8-10 in.) from the
ground. Branches should be shortened to 3/5 of their length during the winter
following planting. Interfering branches and sprouts should be removed leaving
two or three shoots per scaffold branch. In addition, some thinning-out of
crowded bearing areas helps produce larger fruit having fewer wind scars.
10- SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS
Pomegranate trees are self-fruitful. That is, they can pollinate themselves. Severe
fruit drop during the plant's juvenile period (3-5 years) is not uncommon. Fruit
drop is aggravated by practices favoring vegetative growth such as over-
fertilization and excess irrigation. Avoid putting young trees under conditions of
stress. Mature trees tend to hold more fruit that are set than will younger trees.
Picking begins in August before fruit is fully mature. As fruit approaches maturity
on the tree it may split. For commercial handling, picking should be completed as
soon as possible after fruit has reached maturity standards. Rain on maturing fruit
will cause many to split before they can be picked. For shipment, fruit may be
waxed to enhance the appearance; it can be held in cold storage for several weeks
without losing market quality. Fruit continues to develop to a darker skin color
when held at room temperature, and may last several weeks in decorative
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