Pomegranates in Western Australia

Page last updated: Monday, 14 May 2018 - 2:30pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Field management

Incorporate compost into the hole before planting.

In early spring, plant in rows that ideally run east west. Space at 4 to 6m by 2 to 6m. Plants bear fruit on the terminal shoots of branches which receive good light. Production will decrease if spacing is too close and the branches are shaded due to the intermingling of branches from adjacent bushes.

Mulch plants with compost and/or organic material and apply occasional light applications of an organic manure for at least the first three years.

Wind protection is beneficial to ensure good growth. Permanent windbreaks of river sheoak (Casuarina cunninghamiana) will protect plants from winds, but sucker re-growth must be removed every year.

Fertilising

The fertiliser needs of the pomegranate are moderate compared with most fruit trees. For the first four years, apply a good, mixed fertiliser each month from August to March. One suitable commercial product contains 15% N, 2.2% P, 16.6% K, 1.2% Mg, 8% S and six trace elements. Apply a total of 0.5kg per tree in year 1, 0.75kg in year 2, 1kg in year 3, 1.5kg in year 4, 2.5kg in year 5 and 3kg from year 6 onwards.

Extra applications of zinc sulphate at 2g/L may need to be sprayed onto plants grown on alkaline sandy soils. Extra manganese and iron sprays may also be needed.

A leaf analysis from a proprietary laboratory will give a guide whether the nutrients in the leaves are at deficient, satisfactory, optimum, high or toxic levels. The results must be compared with other fruit trees, as there are no comparable standards for pomegranates.

Irrigation

The pomegranate has good drought tolerance, however for commercial production in Western Australia irrigation is required. Mature plants with mini-sprinklers or drip irrigation need about 5000 to 8000kL of irrigation water per hectare per year, with most applied from September to April.

Pomegranates have a higher salt tolerance than most fruit crops. The water quality should be less than 1000ppm total soluble salts for best results, but plants will tolerate more than 2000ppm total soluble salts.

Pruning

Shrubs are initially pruned at 60cm high to form three or four main stems. For the first three years, in winter, cut back slightly the tips of new shoots, to promote the development of side shoots. Remove suckers and water shoots, especially at the base of the stem. In winter, remove crossing branches.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080

Author

Allan Mckay