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The pomegranate tree, Punica granatum, is a small tree growing to 30 feet. It has a shrublike habit with numerous branches and trunks. The pomegranate has been known to live more than 100 years. Although native to India, it is cultivated throughout the world in dry, calcareous soils as well as acidic, sandy loams. The tree's outstanding feature is its leathery-skinned fruit that contains hundreds of seeds. Each seed is surrounded by thick, juicy transparent tissue that tastes very sweet. Pomegranate trees make attractive landscaping specimen plants in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 through 10.
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Transplant a pomegranate tree when it is dormant during the winter in the southern United States; in climates where the ground freezes, transplant it as soon the soil can be worked in early spring. A cloudy, cool day with high humidity is ideal for preventing the exposed roots from drying out during the transplanting process.
Push the shovel into the soil around the outside of the pomegranate tree's root system to find the outer section. Work slowly in toward the plant, using the shovel as a probe to find out where the fibrous root system begins.
Cut the root system by pushing the shovel around the tree in a circle. Dig as far away as possible from the trunk, taking into account the size of the root ball and how heavy it will be to remove from the planting hole.
Dig around the root system, removing the soil around the roots while you work. Continue digging deeper, damaging as few of the roots as possible, while clearing soil from the sides of the root system.
Remove soil from below the root system by digging downward underneath it. On a large specimen tree, this may take several hours. Cut large roots that extend outward from the digging zone with a garden lopper as needed. However, save as many entire roots as possible.
Loosen the shrub from the planting hole by severing all roots. Pull it carefully from the ground. Do not pull the tree by the limbs -- this can break the limbs and pull the main trunk away from the roots. Get as close as you can to the root ball and pull and push it from the ground, sliding it onto a tarp.
Move the pomegranate tree to its new location by dragging or carrying the tree with the root ball wrapped in the tarp. Keep the roots covered and do not allow them to be exposed to sun or wind for even a few minutes. After you get the tree to its new location, place it in the shade and lightly dampen the root ball while you prepare the planting hole.
Dig a hole for the pomegranate tree that is twice as wide as the root ball and deep enough that the tree is planted at the same level as before. Place the pomegranate tree into the planting hole.
Return the excavated soil back to the hole, placing it around the tree's roots. Do not add any soil amendments or fertilizer to the planting mix. Pour water into the planting hole while you are adding the soil to create a good soil seal around the roots and prevent transplant shock. Cover the root base with a 3-inch layer of mulch after planting to prevent moisture loss and control weeds.