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cold tolerant pomegranates  RSS feed

 
Posts: 71
Location: Italy
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Russian cultivars are the most hardy....here in Italy we have a cultivar (Dente di Cavallo) considered as hard as Russian variety.....it's coltivated even in not mediterranea climate here in Italy, USDA 7 without any problem
 
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Francesco, I could give it a try. Do you know any way I could get the seeds?
 
Francesco Delvillani
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The problem is that with the seed you don't have the same plant....each seed gives a different cultivas, maybe not as hard as the mother.
You should make a cutting....or buy in a serious garden center...I don't know were...search in Google, also Russian cultivars are known to be very cold-hard, may be more than "Dente di Cavallo"
 
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Hello Thekla! Here's some pictures of the pomegranate a customer brought me from Tajikistan. He called it "Dark Red", and said it was the best tasting pomegranate from his country. I agree! When he brought it to me, it was a surprise gift. He made me promise I would save some seed to plant. I have 32 I grew from seed. I hope they are as good as the fruit I ate, but if some are not, then I will try to graft them. A Jordanian man said their custom is to plant a seed. When the tree gets big enough he then goes to four or five neighbors and gets cuttings to graft them into his tree. By doing this he has several varieties on one tree. Hopefully I won't have to graft any of them. These came from a high altitude mountainous area with cold winters. Here are some pictures below.
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Hi Shane,

Glad to know there is another pomegranate adventurer! Where are you located? How cold do your winters get? How long since you germinated your seeds, did you germinate them all? And what are your plans for this undertaking?

It looks like you have them in gallon pots. They look very healthy. Are you going to winter them outdoors? Have they already spent a winter out?

I am full of questions about what you are doing and the logic behind your decisions.

I hope you'll fill me in!

Thekla

 
Francesco Delvillani
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My "Dente di Cavallo" survived 5 F without any injury.....I don't know, but Russian Pomegrates could withstand temperature below 0 F !!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Francesco,
I love the name Dente de Cavallo, and did google it when you first posted about it, but I'm not sure it will work for me here.

5 F is not bad. Every few years we have overnight low of -17 F. It's not uncommon to have a stretch of a week or so getting that cold overnight.

I have seedlings going in to their second winter in the ground, and two sets of seedlings germinated this year to winter out doors. The theory I am relying on/testing, is that a seedling's ability to adapt to cold will be affected by early exposure to cold.

Epigenetics tells us that metabolic pathways are plastic, especially at early stages, hence seeds. A rooted cutting, or grafted tree has had much of their physiologic capability set by the conditions in which the origin of their parent plant was a seedling.

If my seedlings don't develop the cold hardiness I want, I might try Russian or Dente de CaCavallo, but for now I've got hundreds of seedlings to tend.

Thekla
 
shane jennings
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Is there anywhere in the USA to get the variety Dente De Cavallo?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I just did a quick google buy Dente de Cavallo Pomegranate, and it looks like there are lots of options!
 
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Thekla,
You make a good point. There were some experiments performed in the old USSR when they did just that. They found out that plants grafted earlier took on the grafting more completely, and had fewer compatibility issues. I grafted some Abbe Fetel pear on a quince when it was a tiny tiny seedling, and I'm curious to see how it turns out compared to the others.

We don't have quite the cold that you do, but we have a much wetter cold than you do. Snow only lasts here typically for 5 hours, not 5 months, and it rarely happens anyway. We do get some mighty consistent drizzle in the winter though.

John S
PDX OR
 
shane jennings
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Francesco,

Is it possible you could send me some cuttings this winter of the Dente De Cavallo ups/fed-x? I would be happy to reimburse any cost. From what I read online, they sound really good & sweet.
 
shane jennings
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The 32 pomegranate seedlings are from Khujand Tajikistan. I germinated them in February. I am growing pomegranate trees in Alabama. Besides the 32 Tajikistan Dark Red seedlings, I also planted this spring about 40 varieties. I am trying to grow as many as I can to find out what will grow in my climate. When my Tajikistan Dark Red seedlings get bigger I would be willing to send you some cuttings to root if you are interested. Also, when yours get bigger, I would love to get a cutting from you to see if they would grow in my climate.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Shane.

I am remarkably ignorant about the climate in Alabama. I have this idea that it is humid all year, hot in the summer, and not too cold in the winter, but cold enough to snow. My idea is also that humid cold is a lot more bone chilling than dry cold, but for an organism that is not trying to maintain a warm internal temperature, that probably does not matter, but could.

I am also remarkably ignorant of what the limiting factors of pomegranate trees are. I have this idea that they need heat to bear fruit, and I don't know if they are susceptible to mold.

I want to keep in touch with one another to see what we can find out, and when I have them would donate cuttings in hope of receiving future cuttings, but I do think seeds are a better idea when developing new cultivars.-- on the other hand, I have been reading about how bacteria seem to share an open library of genetic material, just using what ever they need at the time. And the whole idea that DNA is not a mandatory blueprint that must be followed by the organism that contains it is so new, and gives us a mental model for so many other possibilities, that who can say we might not do something interesting with trading cuttings.

Are you going to get a Dente de Cavallo? or any of the advertised VERY hardy pomegranate varieties, or just stick with the parent stock you already have?

I have this idea that what I really need to do is get my pomegranates big enough that if a hard winter comes along and they frost to the ground, they have enough stored oomph to get big again right away.

Another thing I don't know, and think is important, is does the pomegranate fruit on new growth or old growth.

Do you know anything about that?

Thekla

 
shane jennings
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Thekla,

Here are some of the challenges I face growing pomegranates in Alabama. Spring 2014 I planted 10 varieties of pomegranate trees. During the winter it got down in the teens several times. No problem until February it warmed up for several weeks. The trees were tricked. Some even budded out. Then another arctic blast came in March. The jet stream dipped and the morning low dropped to 17 degrees. This time because the sap had risen in some of the trees, they froze to the ground. Varieties like Parfianka & desertnyi. The spring they did re-sprout in the spring. Flip flop, to boot, to flip flop weather is bad for some varieties. Ariana, Red Saveh, & White Yadz lived. A guy from California instructed me to protect them for three years. He said after the third year the plants are more cold tolerant. The other item I have to worry about is diseases that are more rampant in high humidity areas. Two weeks ago I visited a farm in Plant City Florida who planted 800 Angel Red pomegranate trees 5 years ago. He said the first years they froze to the ground. After the third year they did not freeze back. Also only about 20% of the fruit he produced this year is edible. The other 80% disease destroyed. High humidity encourages disease. There is hope. I am finding some heirloom dooryard varieties that show no diseased fruit. Some varieties are immune. So finding what works here will be challenging also. So the more I try the better. The next 3 winters in going to protect my trees from late cold spells, then hopefully they will be more cold tolerant.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Shane,
Sounds like an adventure there in Alabama, too. I'll be interested to see what develops in cold tolerance after three years. I know apricots are not pomegranates, but I have 75 year old apricot trees, and they still sometimes flower too early, then lose their fruit to a late frost. I don't think that will ever change because it has to do with the vulnerability of the flower and fruit once they get beyond a particular phase of development. I think the thing to do is retard the flowering as much as possible.

I don't know if it is working, but when I planted my nectarines, I planted them where the ground is shaded by the neighbors privacy fence on the south side. The snow stays there the longest, so I figure the ground stays the coldest too, and has less fluctuation of temperature. I have not lost any nectarines to late frosts, but they do flower later than apricots, and it is the early flowering and late hard freeze that is the problem.

Last spring, I had little red leaflets on the pomegranate stems and then something killed the leaves, I think it was a hard freeze. All the poms with leaves lost their above ground stems, which had lasted through the winter under mulch started over from the roots. It is a problem I did not consider, the early growth being tender. Many plants spring growth is not sensitive to frost.

My hope was to have pomegranates that did not have to be babied. I have a couple of protected places, south facing walls and such, but if they don't work, and the poms are going to be early tender leaf-ers then I may not want to continue.

I'll be testing a couple of the protected places this winter.

Thekla
 
shane jennings
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Thekla,

I absolutely think you should continue. One point to make is the pomegranates I mentioned are soft seeded varieties. From what I read, they are less cold tolerant. I think some seedlings have the ability to adapt to their environment for survival. Also, people have told me that pomegranate trees go through a juvenile stage for the first three years. Once your root system get more established, I believe they will be more cold tolerant than they are now. Also, great applause to you for what you already have done. I am excited to see what you accomplish. I hope to one day trade material with you and see if my Tajikistan Dark Red pomegranate seedlings will work in your in you area.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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i Shane,
Any way you look at it, they have to get through those late cold spells. I have a lot of 7 gallon plastic buckets with the bottoms cut out. I think next spring they will go over the little trees when the cold spell comes.

Probably this winter I'll mulch as many as I can, protecting the branches at least one foot off the ground. If/when those branches begin to leaf out, that is to say when we can hold back spring no longer, then those are the ones I'll protect with the buckets.

I think I've already said that this year, I had some that froze to the ground during the winter and some that began to leaf in the spring, then got frozen to the ground. In the beginning of the year, the ones that froze to the ground in the winter were diong much better than the ones that did not get killed til spring. My theory is that they had spent their energy with the leaves they lost, and had to catch up.

At the end of the season, they seem to be equivalent.

This week, I'll be getting the other plants cut back so the poms are visible, then try to get some good pictures up.

Thekla
 
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I didn't know there was such a thing as a "soft seeded" variety. The seeds in the one I had in the desert were just like little rocks.

 
shane jennings
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Thekla,

I talked with the man from Tajikistan who gave the pomegranate fruit. He said in his country they plant the pomegranate trees at a 45 degree angle on the sides of mountains. He said they do this so it is easier to bury them. Every winter they bury the trees with dirt. Then every spring they dig them out. They bear fruit every year. Sounds like a lot of work, but I guess people from Tajikistan love their pomegranates.

Rez,

Soft seeded pomegranates are awesome! No spitting seeds out.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Shane,
That sounds like good information, and a way around the problem of the early buds and leaves getting lost to late spring frosts. I don't have mountain sides. I have a south facing stone retaining wall where I have planted figs with the plan to keep them low, pruned into an horizontal espalier. I already have a few poms planted there. I also have an east west evergreen wind break. I am planning to plant some of the poms on the south of that row, and try to use the evergreens to protect the poms. With those I think part of the pom will stay back inside the evergreen, and some will poke out, and possibly get frosted back, but maybe the part of the pom that gets frosted will be a small percent of the tree. The third set are planted in the "open" where I can water them easily. They are the ones I mulched last year. If I do the espalier thing with them, and keep them low enough to mulch, I am still facing the early warm, late cold puzzle.

But, all I need is for one of the strategies to work, right?

I'm excited to have your friend's insight.

Thanks !

Thekla
 
Rez Zircon
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I suspect just putting a plastic bag and a pile of straw would suffice. Way less work than burying 'em in dirt. But up in the mountains they don't have straw, or if they do it's too valuable to waste covering trees.

So are the soft seeds still astringent? if you bit into one of my seeds, you'd be sorry!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Rez, Plastic bags or sheets of plastic can be bad news when they are directly next to a plant. Last year I had a piece of lumber wrapper over the pile of straw that covered the plants, but I would not put something like that down first.

 
Rez Zircon
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I suppose it depends on the environment, and whether you're liable to grow fungus under there. I've seen plastic bags used as winterizing for roses.
 
Francesco Delvillani
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shane jennings wrote:Francesco,

Is it possible you could send me some cuttings this winter of the Dente De Cavallo ups/fed-x? I would be happy to reimburse any cost. From what I read online, they sound really good & sweet.



Now, I don't have "Dente di Cavallo"...but i think that also other Pomegranate could be good variety....for instance "Parfianka" is said to be sweet and very cold-hardy....you can find it in USA, i advice you to buy tree of at least 3-4 years because they need time to bear fruits....

The link below is an italian garden center, i don't know if they send outside Europe, but you can check

http://www.vivaigabbianelli.it/23-frutti-del-benessere

Bye Bye

 
shane jennings
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Fred,

Are any of the trees from New Mexico in your neighborhood sweet? I love sweet pomegranate fruits. What color are they? If so, could I get some cuttings from you to try here in Alabama? Thanks, Shane!
 
Francesco Delvillani
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Dee Dee Lozano wrote:Burnt Ridge Nursery

Considering ordering this Southern Russian Varietal from Burnt Ridge Nursery to plant in my 6b Mediterranean garden. Says they are rated to -10 F but could be much more cold tolerant once established. Has anyone ordered from them?



I think -10 F is a very low temperature, I every year you have these temperatures I think Pomegranate will not grow well...I mean, it might survive, but with serius damages. If it happens once every 15 years is ok, all the years it's not.

But anyway, the best way to answer a question is to try...
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Francesco, that's exactly what I am trying. We have winter temperatures of -17F for a few nights once in 5 years or so. My thinking is that once the tree is big enough, then it can come back "quickly" after dying to the ground after one of these super freezes.

In the years between the super freezes, I'm hoping to get fruit. And the seeds from those fruit should make for at least SOME seedlings that are even more cold hardy. Here's hoping there are not additional variables waiting to surprize me!

Thekla
 
John Saltveit
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Dee Dee Lozano wrote:
Burnt Ridge Nursery

Considering ordering this Southern Russian Varietal from Burnt Ridge Nursery to plant in my 6b Mediterranean garden. Says they are rated to -10 F but could be much more cold tolerant once established. Has anyone ordered from them?

I have ordered from Burnt Ridge for years, decades even. They are great. Sometimes their plants are small, but usually they do a good job for less $.
John S
PDX OR
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I just looked at Burnt Ridge pomegranates. Right now they list two: A C Sweet and Parfianka. Do they sometimes have other varieties that are currently out of stock? I was curious about the one mentioned as from Southern Russia. I guess I'll contact the nursery and find out.

I like the descriptions they provide, but they don't mention specific temperatures.

Then I got searching around and found a pom called "Utah Sweet", available from several vendors. It is rated for zones 6 through 10, as is the A C Sweet. Most varieties are 8-10 with a few zone 7 - 10. When I looked at the zone map they show zone 6 or warmer through most of Utah and Idaho, and Western Montana. Sheesh! why am I doing all this work with the seeds? Maybe I should get a Parfianka and a Utah Sweet and plant them too! I see that the Parfianka is supposed to bear when very young.

Something I noticed while looking at many different web listings for these varieties of poms, is that the different varieties have different needs for chilling hours as well as length of growing season and summer heat for ripening.

Lots to pay attention to!

When I started this project several years ago, all these cold tolerant varieties were not available. And anyone I talked to about it said they had to have a Mediterranean climate. I am amazed how things have changed in such a short time.

Thekla
 
shane jennings
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Thekla,

Parfianka is one of the ones I had freeze back & re-grow that I mentioned earlier. It's not from Russia, but from a collection of pomegranate cultivars from Turkmenistan that Russia use to control. I think coining them as Russian Pomegranates is just a marketing term to help them sell more. Some companies even change a cultivars name and re-name it. Gregory Leven collection from Turkmenistan is great, but many of the cultivars are still being tested for cold hardiness. Green Sea Farms & Rolling River Nursery have the biggest selection of this collection. Wade Nursery from Alma Georgia has done the most testing for cold hardiness, but it's not Colorado.

I have a heirloom pomegranate I found 2 1/2 hours north of me that would have survived below zero temperatures back in the 80's. I call it Florabama Gold because it was a seedling that originally came from Florida. I feel like it would survive in your climate, but have hesitated mentioned it to you. The reason being is it is so late to leaf out and does not fruit here until November. Even though it would survive in your climate, I doubt the fruit would ever ripen in Colorado.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Wow, Shane, you know all kinds of things pomegranate! I don't know if iFlorabama would ripen here, but summer heat may be a consideration in pom ripening. The climate where I grew up, the pomegranates wold hang on the trees past the first frost. The extreme freezes come in Jan Feb,, after a gradual cooling. I would like to try your Florabama.

How many varieties do you have growing there, and are any of them bearing?

Thekla
 
shane jennings
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Thekla,

I'm sorry I'm just now getting back to you. I was out of town last weekend on vacation at six flags over Georgia. This winter I can send you cutting if you would like, or do you prefer seeds?

To answer your question I currently have about 63 varieties. I have all planted them this year. No one is growing them here in Alabama, so I am searching & planting what I can to determine what will grow here in my climate. Most are the Turkmenistan collection & a few others.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Shane,

Thanks for your reply. I'd like to have cuttings or seeds, but I think I'd like to wait til next growing season, or late winter at the soonest.

I've been on the black pomegranate thread too, and read about your amazing good luck establishing a connection with the Davis collection. I have a friend currently attending U C Davis. And my sister lives in northern California, so it's not out of reach for me to visit there, and maybe get some plant materials. First I'd need to get a set up for rooting cuttings I guess. I have figured out another location here at my house that would be good for cold sensitive plants. I think I'll get it prepared before I bring home any more pomegranates and figs. It is right up against the south wall of the house, and the house makes an inside corner, so there is no wind there. I could plant things right up against the concrete foundation which has (unheated but never freezing ) basement on the other side. Possibly, I could even insulate it somehow. Then I could bring home some not so cold tolerant plants and let them fruit and begin with their seeds for the cold aclimatization process I am counting on.

Those black and purple pomegranates are gorgeous aren't they? I'd like to have something like that!

Glad you made it home safe and had a good trip

Thekla
 
shane jennings
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Thekla,

John mentioned that they are going to have a taste test there at UC Davis two weeks from tomorrow. That would be cool if you could go to that one!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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yikes! 14 hour drive each way, I'd love to, but I'll have to plan it for next year. Not that I have not done such a trip- here and home again a weekend, but not lately. Besides, I just got back from the pyronauts event at Wheaton's in Montana. I WISH I could go. I 'll have my friend go enjoy it for me. She'll do a great job of taste testing many pomegranate varieties. We have sat down together with 8 or 10 varieties of apples, tasted them side by side to compare. Nothing like it for learning the varieties of a fruit.

What does Amy need to know to find when and where?

Thanks

Thekla
 
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I not sure because I knew I couldn't go so I didn't take notes on the details of pomegranate taste test. I do have some information that has their office number & website. The number is 1-530-752-7009. The website is www.ars-grin.gov/dav. My understanding is they are taste testing a lot more than pomegranates, such as persimmons, ect;. I wish I could go too!
 
shane jennings
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How did your pomegranate seedlings grow this summer? Do you have any pictures of them before it got cold?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Shane,
They are just losing their leaves now, and I have been out there with my camera trying to get pictures that show them. Basically, some that frosted to the ground after being mulched last winter, and some that were not mulched last winter are knee to mid thigh high at the end of the season. They were much smaller when I planted them out a year ago. Some of the seedlings that germinated in the spring area about 12 inches tall. The last batch to germinate were a couple of inches high, got planted out and mulched to preserve the moisture in the soil, and I cannot see them among the mulch that my one unpenned chicken has tended to satisfy HER standards, but I know where they are and will see what happens in the spring.

Photos will be coming.

How are all your poms doing? My friend in Davis did attend the pomegranate tasting. She sampled about 20+ varieties of poms, said she did not pay attention to the names, and realized later she wished she had. Something to remember about such an event is it is a snapshot in time, with fruit all picked the same day in the same location, so it is not a good comparison of variety performance as they are tasting early midseason and late varieties at the same time. Just the same, I think I'll try to attend next year.
 
shane jennings
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I'm so glad your friend got to go to the taste test. A lot changing here too. Mild winter so far here. Can't wait for spring! Exciting to see your progress. Do you still have more seeds from the Himalayas or have you planted all of them already? Still hoping for the best for you. I have planned a meeting here in Alabama October 14, 2016. Guest speakers, taste test. First annual meeting for Alabama Pomegranate Association. I have one member and Commitments to come. Wish me luck! Also, check my Facebook page I started https://www.facebook.com/alabamapomegranateassociation/
 
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On the subject of cold-hardy poms, what I need here isn't nearly as much cold-hardiness as you guys are pursuing, it's early ripening.

There are a few poms *out there* that should manage to ripen here [super early cultivars, two of which were produced in Israel and are being put into production in Chile] but I'm playing hell trying to get my hands on any of these super early cultivars.
 
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