How to Graft a Pomegranate Tree

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Pomegranate tree cultivar with bright red fruit.
Pomegranate tree cultivar with bright red fruit. (Image: NA/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Pomegranate trees are native to the Middle East, where they represent abundant life in symbol and art. They are raised commercially in China, India, Afghanistan and areas of California. Pomegranates are rich in health-promoting antioxidants and have a long storage life—about seven months—at 80 percent to 85 percent relative humidity.They prefer semi-arid, mild temperatures with cool winters and hot summers.They adapt well to container growing and sometimes fruit in a greenhouse environment. There are more than 500 cultivars of pomegranate, ranging in fruit color from yellow to purple. The whip cut method is an easy grafting technique.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Grafting tape
  • Pomegranate seedling

Cut a 2 1/2 inch long scion with 2 to 3 buds. Make a sloping cut with the knife on both the scion (twig cut from upper tree) and the understock. Choose scion and understock twigs that are 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. A smooth cut assures that the cambium layer of both sections will adhere. Cambium is the layer of cells between the bark and wood where new cells develop. This layer needs to meet for the wood to grow together.

Cut again to form a tongue on the scion. Hold the one-sided slanting cut facing you and support it with your finger. Make a 1/2-inch-long cut downward, parallel with the grain of the wood. Fit both pieces of cut wood together tightly, inserting the pointed end of the understock into the tongue of the scion. Match surfaces together so cambial areas align.

Wrap tightly with grafting tape. Cover the grafted area and 1/2 inch on both ends. Grafting tape is adhesive-backed cloth that disintegrates as the grafted twigs grow together. Wrapping prevents the graft from drying out or becoming insect-infected. Remove tape that has not disintegrated after one month. The scion and understock adhere and new growth begins within a month.

Tips & Warnings

  • Graft in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
  • Pomegranate trees bear fruit at 2 1/2 to 3 years of age.
  • Fruit ripens 6 to 7 months after the tree flowers.
  • The pomegranate tree is both self-pollinating and cross-pollinated by insects.
  • Pomegranate trees prefer cool winters and hot summers. They are injured by temperatures below 12 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do not pull pomegranates off the tree to harvest. Cut close to the base of the stem.

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