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Growing Pomegranate in a Guild

 
Laurence Keela
Posts: 7
Location: Portugal
bike forest garden toxin-ectomy
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I am currently volunteering at Osho Gardens in the Algarve in Portugal where it is hot, dry but with lots of clay. I am helping to restore an over grown forest garden. Today I am focusing on the Pomegranate tree that was surrounded by overgrowth that i have cleared.

I have cleared around the tree (one of many types of fruit trees, but this is one I could identify) and put layers of brown and green mulch and covered with wood chips.

I next want to plant a guild and want to know if anyone knows what is best to plan here. Here is what I have found out on google and will try, but so i don't do the wrong thing thought i would check on here:\\12 foot

- I understand they life full sun and can tolerate some shade, there is a tree a few meters south of the Pomegranate tree so think its ok and the sun is high here. But i dont think i need to plan anything to provide any shade.
- I understand it can be rooted easily by taking cuttings so will try and do this to fill some gaps in the boundary hedge here if they will let me.
- I understand it is Bee pollinated so should plant some herbs (Thyme & mint), flowers (Lavender) and fruit (Melons and berries) that bees like to attract bees to pollinate the pomegranate tree.
- I understand that Aphids are a problem and should plant some Nasturtium as it repels aphids and some that attract insects that eat aphids like Dasieis, Fennel and Leaf celery.
- I guess any guild should include a nitrogen fixer such as comfrey and the above plants can be chopped and dropped for mulch
- also i can see load of ants on the flowers, is that ok or can i do something about this

So before i ask the owner to source some of this stuff does anyone have any recommendations?
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Tree post clearing area with strimmer, digging around it and adding layers of mulch
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Pomegranate flower covered in ants
 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Pomegranates are tough trees. They will grow in some of the most inhospitable and harsh soils.

They don't want to be a tree --- they want to be a bush. They sucker heavily from the base, and if you don't prune that stuff back regularly, you will have a mess of tiny, spindly little root suckers that don't produce anything of value. So don't be afraid to thin your tree a bit to open it up, and aggressively clip all those suckers off from the base of the tree as they continually sprout.

I've trained my pomegranate to be a single trunk tree, in spite of its desire to be a bush. Under it, the guild is chives, nasturtiums (which you mentioned), ginger (which doesn't like full sun, so if you plant some ginger, plant it on the shady/north side of the tree), aloe vera (also not a hot sun lover -- north side), and then I let vining things creep under that area (watermelons and cucumbers do well in that area).

Mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch. This will help it extend its root system outward, as the mulch will keep the soil soft and moist.

Thin, thin, thin. Pomegranates can be a pain to thin and train because they have those sharp points on the ends of the branches. Wear gloves.

That ants are a pain in the ass. But with a single trunk cleared up from the ground, you could put a tangle-foot barrier around the base of the trunk to keep them off. That's why I've pruned my tree to be a single trunk. The first scaffolding branch isn't until 4 feet up the trunk. But, again, that's why it suckers so aggressively from the base. In both this thread as well as your other one, its apparent that those trees haven't been thinned recently. Even though its spring, I don't think it's too late to get in there and thin out some of the spindly branches. Open the trees up a bit. Here is a great video of how to prune.



Finally, thin the fruit aggressively. On your small tree, only keep 6 or so fruit, and pick the rest off. Otherwise you'll not get anything of decent size. You don't want two pomegranates touching each other (side by side on the same branch), or that is where the ants seem to get into the fruit. A single piece of fruit hanging by itself will be much more pest resistant.

I need to get on the ladder this weekend and thin my pomegranate tree. The fruit are about the size of a small walnut now, so it's time to do so. But it's raining heavily today, so it will have to wait for a day.

Best of luck --- I really like what I see in your pictures (both in this thread and in the other one).
 
Laurence Keela
Posts: 7
Location: Portugal
bike forest garden toxin-ectomy
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Marco - thanks so much for taking the time for this reply. I have found another one here as well when clearing grass. I have heavily pruned one and the other just a little. I have taken some cuttings of various plants to planta round it and asked him to buy the rest and plant when i am gone.

anyhow i have learnt alot and that is the aim!
 
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