Propagation techniques for trees can vary widely, often depending on the chosen plant’s characteristics. Concerning pomegranate trees, the most commonly used method is undoubtedly through cuttings. Creating a pomegranate cutting isn’t complicated, yet, like all simple things, it demands precise attention to fundamental steps. Among these steps, choosing the right branch for the cutting, the method of rooting the twig, the soil provided, and, last but not least, the care given to the sapling once it’s planted are crucial.
In this article, we will delve into how to propagate a pomegranate tree through cuttings, enabling you, over time, to cultivate a robust tree laden with fruits.
When to Take Pomegranate Cuttings
Various periods are suitable for taking pomegranate cuttings, but for a higher chance of success, it’s best to act in autumn (after the leaves fall) or between late winter and early spring. The idea is to select the branch to reproduce when the tree is in its vegetative rest phase (perhaps during pruning), then wait for the plant to show signs of vegetative regrowth before proceeding with rooting. However, pinpointing a precise month to proceed is difficult. This can vary from area to area and from year to year, depending on the climate faced. In years of climate changes, predicting this becomes challenging (for instance, abnormal warmth can cause leaves to fall later in autumn). Nevertheless, it’s always wise to avoid periods of frost or intense heat for the sapling.
Choosing the Branch for the Cutting
Generally, cuttings can be herbaceous, semi-woody, or woody. In the case of pomegranate, the cutting is woody, meaning it starts by selecting a lignified branch. The ideal choice is a one-year-old branch, to be cut to a length of about 20-30 centimeters, with at least a couple of points where leaves meet the branch (known as nodes). Choosing a watersprouts recently formed is excellent; it will likely have these characteristics. Even simpler is using a suckers or shoot uprooted from the base of the plant, considering the pomegranate bush’s tendency to produce many of them. The cut should be clean and oblique, allowing water to drain in case of rain and not leaving entry points for potential parasites.
Preparing the Pomegranate Cutting
Our pomegranate twig must now be prepared for rooting. First, the base of the cutting should be peeled with a knife for about 1 cm. This stimulates the cutting to emit roots in that area. Then, the tip should be cut, concentrating all energies on the central nodes. The basal part of the branch can then be immersed in a jar of water. It’s sufficient to soak it for a few minutes, at most a few hours. To aid rooting, you can use rooting powders. Still, ensure they are entirely natural and allowed in organic farming. An example could be a powder based on and natural bacteria (available in stores specializing in organic farming). This type of product can speed up rooting and is entirely phytotoxicity-free, serving as an extremely natural aid.
Planting the Pomegranate Cutting
Once removed from the water jar, the pomegranate cutting must be moved into the soil. You can choose to proceed gradually, first transferring it to a pot, or place it directly in the orchard (or garden). In the latter case, it’s advisable to act when winter is behind us, preventing frost from damaging the newly born plant. Also, keep in mind that the roots can reach a depth of 5 to 7 meters over time, depending on whether the growth will be bushy or tree-like. So, select an appropriate spot. The ideal substrate should avoid water stagnation, so it should be very draining. Additionally, the young plant should find nutrients from the start, so enrich it with organic matter. A mix of sand and peat, with the addition of compost or worm humus, can be a viable solution. The pomegranate branch, whether planted in the garden or in a pot, should bury about two-thirds of its total length. At least one node should be buried, and at least another should remain outside. This detail is crucial for the successful rooting of the cutting.
Caring for the Planted Pomegranate Cutting
The ideal weather conditions and necessary care to help the pomegranate cutting take root, once planted, include:
- Moderate temperatures without excessive fluctuations. So, it’s wise to move the pot to a sheltered location during overly cold periods or create a cover with a tunnel greenhouse if the cutting is already planted in the garden or orchard.
- The soil should always be moist, so check it frequently and water if you notice it drying out.
- Indirect light for the first month (if in a pot). This step also helps maintain the soil’s moisture.
These conditions, combined with diligent care, will contribute significantly to the pomegranate cutting’s successful growth and eventual transformation into a robust and fruitful tree.
Remember to keep an eye on the plant’s progress and adapt the care accordingly, ensuring it receives the best possible conditions to flourish. With patience and attention, you can successfully propagate a pomegranate tree through cuttings, nurturing it into a thriving and productive member of your garden or orchard.