So many thanks for your reply. You can't imagine how happy and relieved I was to read it!
I really, really appreciate all your advice.
1) I fell in love with this one because it seems to be well trained as a tree. However I did notice a few suckers coming from the roots. Actually, they were sprouting from the compost around the base. If I prune them to the "ground" (which I assume will be some distance to the actual root) does it do any effect?
2) What do you mean by: "The new fruit is easy enough to snap off the branches". That it will be heavy and break the branches?
5) Very interesting that you mention this (=ants). Here I go on my story (I'll try to make it brief).
We have been rebuilding a house with a backyard (it will be our first one). I was never good with plants but always loved the feeling of being in a forest. As this house has two outdoor spaces, we bought a few trees but were ill advised by the architect (who said trees will adapt to a space... and there I was, buying 7 trees, one of them a Liquidambar, for a 35 sqm and a 49 sqm place). When I started reading (clever of me, to do it only after that emotional purchase)
I realised we wouldn't be able to plant them safely and started daydreaming about having a farm. And here we are, almost finishing construction works, having decided we're selling that house and buying a huge land instead. That'll lead me to other stories, for which I'll also need advice. But trying not to get lost, let's get back to the ants.
For the first house, we bought an old (and quite expensive) pomegranate tree in a container. This was before I did any reading at all. I started reading because once it arrived at the house I noticed there were a few (too many!) problems.
The most evident, apart from terrible, terrible!, pruning, was a family of happy red ants. It was fascinating finding out how they herd aphids around.
So, here are my questions:
- We transplanted the tree in late january. However, it's been really warm and dry in Portugal. Trees were blossoming everywhere, as early as february. The tree needs some serious pruning, but since the transplant is recent, should i leave it be for next year? I already cut dead and broken branches.
- What about the ants? I don't think it's so much as preventing them going on the tree as they actually already live there (because they came from the nursery with it). Any thoughts on what I should do?
- When we bought the tree (october) it had 3/4 fruits. Very small ones... Could this be because of the terrible pruning and it being in a container?
I'm also curious about some kind of tunnel on the tree's bark. Could it be some kind of catterpillar?
I'm attaching the pictures in the following reply.