Pomegranate Cultivation

Pomegranate Cultivation

Pomegranate is indigenous to the Middle East and was first introduced in India from Persia or Afghanistan in the first century. Pomegranate fruit is very nutritious and refreshing.

The total area under Pomegranate in Andhra Pradesh is about 4.9 thousand hectares with estimated annual production of 44 thousand tons.

Scientific namePunica granatum

Family: Punicaceae 

Soil and Climate requirement for Pomegranate

Deep fertile soils with good drainage are suitable. Can be successfully grown even in slightly calcareous and alkaline soils. Tolerant to severe hot, hence most suitable for dry arid climates.

 Pomegranate Varieties

1. Bhaguva

It is a selection from Arakta cultivar. Rind and arils are dark red, softer arils. Fruits weight about 250–300 g.

2. Mridula

Fruits are medium sized (230–270 g) with thick smooth dark red rind color with blood red color soft arils. Arils are juicy having TSS of 18 °Brix.

Pomegranate Cultivation

3. Ganesh

Rind color is yellow with pink spots. Aril color pinkish, with soft seed. Average fruit weight 174g, TSS 13.1%, acidity 0.37%, yields about 12 kg per plant.

4. Muskat

Rind color is yellow with pink spots. Average fruit weight 360g. TSS 15.5%, acidity 0.28%, yield 15 kg per plant.

5. Jyothi

Aril color pinkish white with red patches, soft seed. Average fruit weight 22g, TSS 15%, acidity 0.50%.

6. Jalore Seedless

Rind color yellow with red patches. Aril color pinkish with soft seed. Average fruit weight 155g, TSS 15%, acidity 0.30%, yield 16kg per plant.

7. Jodhpur Red

Aril color dark pink, Rind color light green with red patches. Most prone to fruit cracking. Average fruit weight 140g, TSS 15%, acidity 0.30%, yield 15kg per plant.


Pomegranate plants are mainly propagated by air layering and cuttings, ground suckers can be used for cuttings. 15-20 cm long hardwood cuttings taken from 1-2 years old plant, should be treated with Seradex ‘B’ rooting hormone or given a quick dip in 500 ppm Indole butyric acid. The nursery should be maintained with proper care from initial stages, spraying mancozeb (0.25%) or Chlorothalonil (0.25%) at 15 days interval. Before planting in the main field, spray the plants with Copper Oxychloride (0.25%) and Streptocyclin (250 ppm). Ideal age of air-layered plant should be minimum 4 months after cutting from the mother plant.

Pomegranate Cultivation


Young plants can be planted at 3×3 m or 4×4 m or 4.5×3 m spacing. Pits (1×1×1 m) should be in the month of May–June and kept open for at least a month for sun exposure, drench pits with 0.1% Carbendazim in 5 l/pit and filled with 20 kg FYM, 0.5 kg SSP and 100 g of 2% Lindane powder along with loose top soil. The ideal time for planting is July to October. Watering must be done immediately after planting.


High density planting is adopted in temperate regions. A spacing of 5-6 m. in northern India and also in the plains of Deccan plateau is usually followed.  High density planting with a spacing gives 2-2.5 times more yield than that obtained when the normal planting distance of 5 X 5 m. is adopted. Farmers have adopted a spacing of 2.5 X 4.5 m. Closer spacing increases disease and pest incidence.

 Planting Method

Square system of planting is mostly adopted. Planting distance is decided on the basis of soil type and climate. A spacing of 4-5 m. on marginal and very light soils is recommended.

Pits of 60 X 60 X 60 cm. size are dug (at a spacing of 5 cm. in square system) about a month prior to planting and kept open under the sun for a fortnight. About 50 g. of 5% BHC or carbaryl dust is dusted on the bottom and sides of the pits as a pre-caution against termites. The pits are filled with top soil mixed with 20 kg. farmyard manure and 1 kg. super phosphate. After filling the pit, watering is done to allow soil to settle down. Cuttings/air layers are then planted and staked. Irrigation is provided immediately after planting.


The recommended fertilizer dose is 600-700 g. N, 200-250 g. P2Oand 200-250 g. K2O /tree/year. Application of 10 kg. farmyard manure and 75 g. ammonium sulphate to 5 year old tree annually is adequate , whereas application of 50 kg. farmyard manure and 3.5 kg. oil cake or 1 kg. sulphate of ammonia prior to flowering is ideal for healthy growth and fruiting.  The time of application is December/January for ambe bahar, May/June for Mrig bahar and October/November for hasthe bahar.

The basal dose of farmyard manure @ 25-40 cart-loads /ha. besides the recommended doses of N, P and K should be applied to non-bearing trees in 3 split doses coinciding with growth of flushes during January, June and September. Fruiting should be encouraged from fourth year onwards. Nitrogenous fertilizer is applied in two split doses starting at the time of first irrigation after bahar treatment and next at 3 weeks interval, whereas full dose of P and K should be applied at one time. These should be applied in a shallow circular trench below tree canopy not beyond a depth of 8-10 cm. After application, fertilizers are covered with top soil and irrigated.

Pomegranate Cultivation


First irrigation is provided in case of mrig bahar crop in the middle of May followed by regular irrigation till the monsoon sets in. Weekly irrigation in summers and that during winters at fortnightly intervals is recommended. The check basin system of irrigation is usually followed.

Drip Irrigation

The average annual water requirement through drip irrigation is 20 cm. Drip irrigation helps to save 44% on irrigation and 64% when sugarcane trash mulch is used. It also helps to increase the yield by 30-35%.

Training and Pruning of Pomegranate Plants

Training pomegranate plants to one or too many stems are not advantageous and uneconomical. The plant should be allowed to retain 4 main stems from the ground level. Prune ground suckers, water shoots, criss-cross, dead, dry and infected branches and twigs regularly. The main stem should be stopped at a height of about 70 cm to induce branching. The tree is given a balanced shape during the initial 2–3 years by proper selection of secondary and tertiary branches. Downward-growing branches and crossing branches should be removed. While pruning, care should be taken to disinfect the secateurs with Dettol (1%) or sodium hypochlorite (1%), so that infection may not spread from on plant to other.

After the tree is trained, much pruning is not required as the fruits are borne on one-year-old branches (short branches). However, water sprouts and the dry branches should be removed.

After about 10 years, old main stems should be renewed by cutting back to make it more productive.


During first 3–4 years, intercrops such as low-growing vegetables, green manure crops, onion, etc can be taken. Rainy season is the best time for intercropping. During the crop, period orchard should be kept weed free. For soil moisture conservation plastic or organic mulches can be used.

Pomegranate Cultivation

Pomegranate Pests and Diseases Management

Pests of Pomegranate and its control

1. Fruit borer or Pomegranate Butterfly (Deudorix isocrates)

Adults lay eggs at the time of fruit setting in flowers. Larvae develop inside the fruit and these larvae bore out of the fruits. Black excreta of caterpillars are commonly seen on fruits


Remove infested fruits and destroy. Spray Phosphamidon (0.03%) or Carbaryl (0.4%) or Endosulphan repeat the sprays with Fenvalerate (0.01%). The first spray should be given at the time of fruit setting

2.Thrips (Rhipiphorothrips cruentatus/Scirtothrips dorsalis)

Feed by sucking sap from leaves, flower stalks, petals and result in leaf curl, drying of young shoots and shedding of flowers. On fruits, discolored areas are seen which later show rusty scars

  • Affected plant parts should be removed and destroyed on observing the insect infestation.
  • Spray chloropyriphos (0.02%) or imidacloprid (0.04%) or deltamethrin (0.15) or dichlorovos (0.05%) as prophylactic or on observing the symptoms.

3.Aphid (Aphis punicae)

Usually, affects new flush and suck cell sap. The affected parts get discolored and disfigured. These insects secrete copious amounts of honeydew, on which sooty mold develops.

  • Affected plant parts should be removed and destroyed on observing the insect infestation.
  • Spray chlorpyriphos (0.02%) or imidacloprid (0.04%) or deltamethrin (0.15) or dichlorovos (0.05%) as prophylactic or on observing the symptoms.

4. Mites (Aceria granati/Oligonychus punicae/Tenuipalus punicae)

Adults and nymphs feed on the lower leaf surface resulting in shiny white/brown patches and leaves may curl and dry.

  • Affected plant parts should be removed and destroyed on observing the insect infestation.
  • Spray chloropyriphos (0.02%) or imidacloprid (0.04%) or deltamethrin (0.15) or dichlorovos (0.05%) as prophylactic or on observing the symptoms.

5. Whitefly (Siphoninus phillyreae)

They severely infest on dorsal sides of leaves resulting into curling, yellowing, and drying.

  • Affected plant parts should be removed and destroyed on observing the insect infestation.
  • Spray chloropyriphos (0.02%) or imidacloprid (0.04%) or deltamethrin (0.15) or dichlorovos (0.05%) as prophylactic or on observing the symptoms.

6. Mealy Bugs (Planococcus sp., Ferissia sp.)

Adults bugs and nymphs are seen on all parts. The cottony appearance of mealy bug and sooty molds are the visible symptoms of mealy bug infestation.    

  • Affected plant parts should be removed and destroyed on observing the insect infestation.
  • Spray chloropyriphos (0.02%) or imidacloprid (0.04%) or deltamethrin (0.15) or dichlorovos (0.05%) as prophylactic or on observing the symptoms.

7. Bark eating caterpillar (Indarabeal tetraonis, I. quadrinotata)

Its larvae feed on bark under webbed galleries of silk and excreta. The attacked plants show the presence of such galleries on the bark surface.

  • Orchard should be kept clean and overcrowding of trees should be avoided
  • Whenever larvae holes are observed, inject larvae holes with quinalphos (0.01%) or fenvalerate (0.05%)
  • Give a prophylactic spray or on observing the symptoms spray with carbaryl (0.04%) or dischlorovos (0.08%)

8. Stem Borer (Coelosterna spinator)

            Grubs make holes and bore through the bark of main stems and branches, feed internally. Excreta and dry powdered material are usually seen near the base of plants.

  • Treat the holes produced by borer with dicholrovos (0.25%) and seal holes with clay
  • Spray quinolphos (0.05%) or chlorphyriphos (0.05%)

9. Shothole borer (Xyleborus fornicates/X. perforans)

Beetles bore holes in roots and trunks resulting in drying of trees. Their incidence increases in the rainy season.

  • When insect symptoms are observed (yellowing and drying of plants) soil drenching with chlorpyriphos (0.2%) in and around the affected trees is effective.
  • As prophylactic, spray chlorpyriphos (0.2%) and carbaryl (0.2%)

10.Leaf eating caterpillar (Achaea janata)

            Caterpillars feed voraciously on leaves and adults suck juice from fruits.

  • Spray crop with chlorpyriphos (0.1%) as a prophylactic spray or on initiation of insect infestation.

11. Fruit sucking moths (Othreis ancilla, O.cajecta, O.fullonica, O.materna, Achaea janata)

It punchers mature fruits at dusk by inserting proboscis and suck juice. Through feeding punctures, secondary pathogens enter and cause fruit rotting. They lay eggs on weeds.

  • Destroy weeds and keep the orchard clean.
  • Collect and destroy infested fallen fruits.
  • Harvest mature fruits little early.
  • Put poison bait containing malathion 1 ml + 100 g jaggery + 5ml vinegar in small tins during night.
  • Generate smoke in orchards during the dusk time.

12. Termites (White ants) (Odonyotermis obesus)

White ants feed on many crops and more serious in light or light loamy soils and dry areas. It is more serious in Rabi season.

  • Use well decomposed organic manure
  • Remove dead decaying matter or dry stubbles from the field to avoid termite infestation.
  • Treat soil with quinolphos 1.5% or methyl parathion 2% dust @ 25 kg/ha before planting.
  • In standing crop apply chlorpyriphos 20EC @ 4L/ha with irrigation water for effective protection of crop against termite infestation.

13. Nematodes (Eudocima fullonia, E. maternal, E. homaena, E. cajeta)

The roots of infested plants from knots, resulting in weakening of plants.

  • Apply phorate @ 40gm/plant or carbofuron 2kg a.i/ha

Diseases of Pomegranate and its control

1. Bacterial Blight (Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. Punicae)

 Water soaked lesions are formed on leaves, twigs, branches, flowers, calyx and fruits. The lesions coalesce to form big spots, as a result, the infected leaves and flowers drop, twigs and branches break at the point of infection. ‘Y’ or ‘L’ shaped cracks are formed on lesions and in severe cases, entire fruit split opens.

  • Plant orchard with disease-free planting material
  • Keep proper row to row and plant to plant spacing and follow proper pruning and training to avoid plant to plant contact. This will also help in proper aeration and distribution of solar light, which helps to reduce diseases.
  • Do not leave infected plant material (leaves, flowers, fruits & twigs) in orchards nor dump near orchard or throw in irrigation channels. The orchard should be swept clean to collect all fallen plant parts and burnt.
  • Drenching of bleaching powder @ 150g/5-7L of water per plant or dusting of copper dust (4%) @ 20 kg/ha on the soil below canopy at the time of bahar treatment reduces the bacterial inoculum due to leftover plant debris in orchards.
  • Prune twigs and branches 2 inches below the canker followed by 1% Bordeaux mixture spray. Cut ends should be applied with Bordeaux paste (10%) immediately after pruning.
  • During pruning, secateurs should be sterilized with Dettol (1%) or Sodium hypochlorite (1%)
  • People handling diseased plants/orchards should avoid entering/touching disease free orchards/plants without changing clothes and washing.
  • Educate neighboring growers about the significance of sanitation and clean cultivation and to follow recommended spray schedules as well as doses strictly and in all the orchards effectively checking the spread of the pathogen.

Adopt the following spray schedule

  • The first spray be given with 1% Bordeaux mixture immediately after pruning
  • Second spray at foliage initiation with Streptocycline (250ppm) + Copper oxychloride (0.25%)
  • Third spray at 15 days interval with Bordeaux mixture (0.5%)
  • Fourth spray with Streptocycline (250ppm) + Carbendazim (0.1%)
  • Under favorable weather conditions of overcast sky and rains and high disease pressure, higher concentrations of Streptocycline (500ppm) should be used. Also, spray interval can be reduced to 8 – 10 days.
  • The rest period of 3 – 4 months should be practiced and during this period Bordeaux mixture (1%) should be sprayed at a 1-month interval. Streptocycline (250ppm) should be sprayed once during the rest period.

2. Leaf and fruit spots

  • Colletotrichum and Sphaceloma spots

On leaves, the spots are brown-black spots with a light center and purplish-brown borders. On fruits initially, spots are small with dark purplish brown borders with light centers which later enlarge to form larger spots with a light center and dark edge.


At flower initiation or disease appearance spray the crop with carbendazim (0.1%) or mancozeb (0.25%), or copper oxychloride (0.25%) or Thiophanate methyl (0.15%)

  • Cercospora Spots

Small irregular reddish brown spots are formed on leaves, which may be few or numerous. On fruits, these spots resemble much too oily spots but do not have cracks. The disease is more severe in warm climates and in summer.


At flower initiation or disease appearance spray the crop with carbendazim (0.1%) or mancozeb (0.25%), or copper oxychloride (0.25%) or Thiophanate methyl (0.15%)

  • Alternaria Spots

Isolated irregular round blackish-brown spots on leaves which may enlarge to cover a large area. Sometimes the affected leaves appear blighted, turn yellow, dries and fall off. On fruits, the spots are dark and cover a large area, mostly mature fruits are attacked. Stressed plants are more prone to this disease.


At flower initiation or disease appearance spray the crop with carbendazim (0.1%) or mancozeb (0.25%), or copper oxychloride (0.25%) or Thiophanate methyl (0.15%)

  • Drechslera Spots

The fruits develop small irregular spots surrounded by a yellow border. In severe cases, these blotches result in discoloration of inner tissue or even extend up to the seeds, where arils turn brown.


At flower initiation or disease appearance spray the crop with carbendazim (0.1%) or mancozeb (0.25%), or copper oxychloride (0.25%) or Thiophanate methyl (0.15%)

3. Wilt complex (Ceratocystis fimbriata, Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizoctonia solani and nematodes)

 Affected plants show yellowing of leaves in some twigs or branches, followed by drooping and drying of leaves. The entire tree dies in few months or a year. When affected tree is cut open lengthwise or cross-section dark grayish-brown discoloration of wood is seen. The disease is more in heavy soil and increases with soil moisture.

  • Plant at spacing 4.5 m × 3.0 m in the orchard
  • Plant pomegranate in sandy loam soil with proper drainage
  • Soil drenching with carbendazim (0.2%), or propiconazole (0.15%) or Tridemorph (0.15%) + Chlorpyriphos (0.25%) before planting in diseases prone areas.
  • Spray with carbendazim (0.1%) or propiconazole (0.15%) or tridemorph (0.15%) as soon as the first sign of the disease is seen.
  • The completely wilted plants should be uprooted and burnt and drench the plant basin as above.

4. Phytophthora Blight (Phytophthora nicotianae)

Affects seedlings, foliage as well as fruits particularly during the rainy season, when humidity is high. Affected leaves and twigs show typically blighted appearance. The fungus also attacks flowers and fruits at all stages and cause fruit rot.


At disease appearance, spray the crop with metalaxyl 8% + mancozeb 64% (0.25%) or mancozeb (0.25%).

5. Fruit rot (Cercospora punicae/Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

Fruit spot pathogen also results in fruit rots. Pathogens enter through calyx or stem end and result in dark brown depressed spots on fruits.


At flower initiation spray the crop with carbendazim (0.15%) or mancozeb (0.25%) thiophanate methyl (0.15%)

Fruit Disorders

1. Fruit cracking

Apart from cracking due to bacterial blight, fruit cracks are also due to improper irrigation, boron, calcium and potash deficiency. When after a long dry spell there is rain or irrigation water is given fruits tend to crack. Hence regular watering during the fruiting period should be practiced. Since abiotic cracks are directly related to moisture imbalance, maximum cracking is in Ambe bahar followed by Hasta and lowest in Mrig.


Irrigate the plants with an adequate quantity of water at regular intervals. Spray Boron @ 0.2% (2 g/l). Apply calcium and potash as per soil test values.

2. Sun scald

Develop good canopy by proper pruning and plant nutrition. To reduce sun scald spray Kaolin thrice at 15 days interval during hot summer months. The first spray is 5% and next two of 2.5%. If heavy rain or the wind occurs spray interval can be accordingly reduced.

3. Internal breakdown of arils

 The disintegration of arils in matured pomegranates known as an internal breakdown or blackening of arils is a serious malady. This disorder cannot be identified externally, whereas the arils become soft, light creamy brown to dark blackish brown and unfit for consumption. It is increasing rapidly in the pomegranate growing pockets in western Maharashtra.

The incidence of internal breakdown occurs 90 days after anthesis . Its intensity increases if the fruits are left on the tree for 140 days onwards. It is evident in evergreen and deciduous cultivars. The incidence is more in ambe bahar, it increases with increase in weight of fruits from 150-200g (26.60%) to more than 350g (60%). No insect or organism is associated with this malady. The TSS, acidity, ascorbic acid, reducing sugars, starch, tannins, nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, boron and enzyme polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase increase in the affected arils compared with the healthy ones.

The exact causes are not known and remedial measures are difficult to advocate. Therefore pomegranates should be harvested at 120-135 days after fruits set.


Harvest as soon as the crop matures.

Pomegranate Cultivation

Weed Control

Generally high density cultivation is followed for pomegranate plantation. Hence, weeding must be done manually. It is done twice a year- once in May and second in December during the time of fertilization. Some farmers spray 0.6% of Gramoxone during the monsoon period. Spraying must be done by keeping the nozzle close to the weeds so as to avoid chemical drifting.

Harvesting Pomegranate

Pomegranates must be plucked when fully ripe. Letting the fruits stay on the trees for longer period of time can cause aril breakdown. They start bearing fruits 1-2 years after planting. But, commercial production can be started only after 2-3 years of planting. Harvesting the immature fruits would cause downgrade in the quality. Fruits are generally ready to be picked 120-130 days after fruiting sets in. On maturity, the calyx at the distal end closes. The sides also get suppressed and the fruits turn yellowish red in color.

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