Attractive Color Pomegranate Fruits on Tree
Attractive Color Pomegranate Fruits on Tree

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

The right Pomegranate planting distances and the orchard planning are both a critical area of knowledge for the successful establishment and productivity of any commercial Pomegranate orchard.

They are intended to ensure optimum layout, proportions and quantities of trees relative to the area of the orchard, guaranteed that the plants receive the required amount of light, air circulation is unobstructed, and cultivation and other works can be seamlessly carried out.

However, even in this field of Pomegranate cultivation, scientific documentation is lacking.

As a result, the potential professional Pomegranate grower should take into account the empirical nature of the recommendations, particularly those referred to the tree planting distances, and – accordingly – to do so.

… The right ones.

Pomegranate Orchard Planning & Planting Systems

For the establishment of a new Pomegranate orchard, the planting system of the rootstocks is recommended to be square or rectangular.

In the case where only one variety (or cultivar) of Pomegranate is to be planted, then the planting plan is extremely simple, as one of the two above-mentioned systems is followed, at the specific recommended planting distances.

However, if two varieties are to be planted in the Pomegranate orchard, the planting design is differentiated in the manner described below.

Planting Two Pomegranate Varieties / Cultivars

It is now known that although Pomegranate is a self pollinating species, it benefits greatly from cross pollinating.

Indeed, several research studies have shown that the existence of a second variety leads to an increase in overall production and yields, with about 20% more fruit being observed and, at the same time, fruits being larger in size.

Bearing this in mind the professional Pomegranate grower, it is legitimate to seek to plant not one but two varieties of Pomegranate in the orchard.

In this case the planting design will be adapted to the productivity of the variety – pollinator: if it is as productive as the main one, then 50% of the plant material should come from this, setting a 1: 1 ratio, while the planting design should be based on alternating rows of main and pollinator varieties.

If, on the other hand, the second variety is just only a good pollinator of the main, then it is recommended to plant it in a ratio of 1: 8, while in relation to the design of the planting, the pollinator variety should be placed in the center of a 3 x 3 square spatial unit of Pomegranate trees.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning - Pomegranate Orchard Planting Plan of 2 Varieties
Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning - Pomegranate Orchard Planting Plan of 2 Varieties

Preface as for the Proper Pomegranate Planting Distances

Proper Pomegranate planting distances, as well as most fruit trees, are among other factors a function of the variety/cultivar vigor of tree with the technique of cultivation.

The Theory

In general, it could be said that the more vigor the trees of a variety/cultivar – in this case the Pomegranate – the greater the planting distances; on the contrary, the smaller the final growth of the trees, the planting distances be smaller.

Experimental work is being carried out on this principle, which, when confirmed by other researchers, leads to recommendations for the proper planting distance of each fruiting tree – in this case the Pomegranate.

The Fact

Unfortunately for the professional grower of Pomegranate, and the recommended distances for its planting, fall into the category of anecdotal material, mentioned in a previous article.

So, for example, in two indeed different regions of the temperate zone, Greece and the State of California, but with similar soil-climatic characteristics in the cultivation areas, the recommendations for Pomegranate planting are far from one another:

  • The Department of Deciduous Fruit Trees in Naoussa, Greece, recommends 5 x 3.5-4 m planting distances
  • The University of California, Davis (UCD), USA, recommends 6 x 6 m distances, and in no case for the establishment of commercial Pomegranate plantations, trees spacing of less than 5.5 x 5.5 m

From the above, it turns out that either the Greek farmer plants more Pomegranate trees per hectare than needed, or the American farmer plants less – so it is reasonably concluded that one of the two is being harmed, for the sake of anecdotal recommendations.

It should be noted that in both these regions, the cultivar of Pomegranate who leads in plantations is the Wonderful (Punica granatum cv. Wonderful).

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Avoidance of Pomegranate Ultra High Density Plantation

A walk around the world no one has hurt, much more so when it has a studious and/or educational, even of web-type, character.

And given the systems and the country-specific recommended Pomegranate planting distances that follow shortly afterwards, one can only admire the multitude of tree cultivation methods – human ingenuity and adaptability of the plant.

However, despite the variety of techniques, there is at least one practice that is common to all producing countries: it is the recommendation to avoid the Pomegranate ultra high density plantation system.

Indeed, the manner of fruiting and the need for abundant light of the fruits mainly suggest about this common practice.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in India

The India, along with Iran and China, are among the world’s three largest producer of Pomegranate. In India, Pomegranates are widely cultivated in tropical, subtropical, temperate and semi-arid climates.

The dispersal of Pomegranate cultivation in all these dissimilar of many aspects areas, along with the diversity of plant material, justifies the otherness of recommendations regarding the planting distances of the tree, but also justifies the actual divergence between them and the fact of several commercial Pomegranate plantations around the country.

Recommended Planting Distances

Generally, it could be said that the Indian Agricultural Institutes recommend for the tropical regions, that Pomegranate should be planted at a distance of 3 m in the row and 4.5 m between the rows.

However in the temperate zone areas, in North India Pomegranates are recommended to be planted at longer distances, ie 5 to 6 m in the row and between the rows.

Deviations

In those areas of India where the factors for Pomegranate planting and cultivating are characterized as favorable, that is, where the climate is dry, the average annual rainfall is low, water drainage excellent, and the light intensity high, it is often observed in commercial plantations that tend to dominate the moderate density planting of the tree.

And moderate density planting is that where distances range from 2.75 to 3 m in the row and 3.6 to 4 m between the rows, with a maximum number of Pomegranate per hectare the 1000 trees.

Conversely, in areas where atmospheric humidity and rainfall are high, drainage of water problematic, and light intensity low, there is a tendency for low density Pomegranate plantations.

And low density planting is that in which the distances range from 3 m in the rows up to 4.3 to 4.5 m between the rows.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning - Pomegranate Orchard in Thar Desert - Rajasthan, India
Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning - Pomegranate Orchard in Thar Desert - Rajasthan, India

Pomegranate Planting Distances in Iran

The cultivation of Pomegranate in Iran is traditionally one of the most dynamic crops in the country.

Corresponding dynamics are also observed in the research project, which leads to an increase in the productivity of Iranian commercial Pomegranate plantations.

Indeed, in 2018, Iran became the world’s first producer of Pomegranate fruits, leaving India in second place, which grows Pomegranates in areas almost twice as much as Iran.

The general recommendation for the Pomegranate planting distances in the country is, as they range, from 3 m in the row to 4 up to 5 m between the rows.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in China

With more than 200 cultivars growing, China is one of the largest producers of Pomegranate fruits in the world – according to some sources the largest.

However, the productivity of Chinese Pomegranate orchards is very low and tree cultivation techniques and methodes lag behind.

Despite that, efforts are being made to modernize the crop and improve the yields of the growing cultivars.

As for planting distances, in China it is recommended to range from 3 m in the row to 5 m between the rows.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in Turkey

The 4th largest producer of Pomegranate fruits in the world, but at the same time by far the first in productivity, is Turkey. One would therefore reasonably expect that in this country the recommended planting distances would be generally recognized as correct, but also that they would be complied with.

But he would have to wait in vain, because Turkey is particularly highlighted by the anecdotal nature of the recommendations for the correct Pomegranate planting distances.

So while it is generally recommended that distances range from 4 m in the row to 6 m between the rows, the reality of commercial Turkish Pomegranate plantations is surrealistically different, as the orchards of the tree are also found from densely planted to simply dense.

Planting distances range from 1.50 to 3 m in the row and 3 to 6 m between the rows, up to 2.50 x 4 m or even 3 x 6 m.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in the USA

In the US, the main producer of Pomegranate fruit is California, with its main production center in the San Joaquin Valley, in an area of approximately 14,100 hectares.

However, other states in the south of the country are slowly trying to grow Pomegranate, in regions where the climate is predominantly favorable for such an effort.

California

In California, the recommended distances for Pomegranate planting range from 5.5 to 6 m, both in rows and between the rows.

It is well known, however, that there are commercial Pomegranate farms where the trees are planted more densely, with distances ranging from 3.6 to 4.2 m in the rows and 5.5 to 6 m between the rows.

Florida

From the University of Florida (UF) and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), the recommended Pomegranate planting distances come to add another yet harmonious anecdotal note, as they suggest for commercial Pomegranate cultivation, that the trees must planted at distances ranging from 3 to 5 m in the rows and from 4 to 6 m between the rows.

Georgia

From the southeastern US state Georgia, and the homonymous public University of Georgia (UGA), finally comes to the conclusion that, at least for them, the optimal Pomegranate trees spacing has yet to be determined and hence any recommendations are purely empirical.

Traditionally, tree planting distances at Pomegranate orchards of Georgia are 5.5 x 5.5 m, but they are not uncommon and the densest plantations at 4.3 to 4.9 m in the row with 5.5 m between the rows.

The cases of Pomegranate farms, where the trees have been planted even more densely, at a distance of 3 x 4.6 m are also mentioned, but their evaluation has not yet been carried out, and therefore this is not a currently recommended strategy.

Arizona

Normally the state of Arizona should not be mentioned here, because until 2009 there were no commercial Pomegranate orchards. But the increasing demand both within the US and worldwide for the fruit, arils, and juice of the tree, which has turned some growers’ interest and in this state in exploring the possibility of establishing Pomegranate plantations, has provided us with an interesting story that we thought was worthwhile to share it with the always patient reader of ‘Kalliergeia’.

Planting Commercial Pomegranates First Time

The Turley Bowie Pomegranates farm is an operation of approximately 37 hectares, at an elevation of 1127 m, near Bowie in the Cochise County High Desert in southeastern Arizona.

The owners of the farm are the first to establish a commercial Pomegranate plantation in this area in 2009.

The climatic conditions are similar to those in the San Joaquin Valley, California, and the soil is sandy clay loam. Initially planted bare root stock of the Wonderful cultivar, to be followed a year later by Angel Red.

Planting distances were 2.50 x 5 m for Wonderful, and for the Angel Red 3 x 4.30 m.

It is noteworthy that in late autumn 2010 the temperature reached -9.5 °C (15 °F), and frost nipped about 85 percent of the Pomegranate foliage to the ground level. The trees recovered, giving relatively good yields in 2016.

On the same farm, in 2012, they were set up experimentally, as part of a research trial program by University of Arizona (UA) tree fruit specialist Glenn Wright of Yuma and UA environmental horticulture specialist Ursula Schuch of Tucson, 28 selected Pomegranate varieties to study and evaluate.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in Afghanistan

In this long-suffering country Pomegranate belongs to traditional agricultural crops. And despite the many and varied problems of Afghan Pomegranate growers (obesity, cholesterol, blood circulation, etc.), this country still manages to be one of the world’s largest Pomegranate producers.

The prevailing recommendations for optimal tree spacing ranges from 3 to 4 m in the row and from 4 to 5 m between the rows.

In addition, it is proposed that for the hottest areas of the country, the Pomegranate trees should be planted at the shortest recommended distances to afford protection from the sun.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in Spain

The Spain is a major producer of Pomegranate. Spain has historically been associated with tree and fruit, not only because the Pomegranates were there and are particularly popular and of high quality, but also because it was the Spanish who first spread the Pomegranate in the New World.

And while the editorial team of ‘Kalliergeia’ doesn’t know how glad the Native Americans were to receive this generous cultural offer, does know the tree planting distances in Spain.

So in Spain, for the establishment of a new commercial Pomegranate orchard, the traditional planting distances are 6 x 4 m.

In recent years, however, there has been a tendency for dense pomegranate planting at distances of 4 x 2 m and a maximum number of trees at 1250 per hectare.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in Tunisia

In Tunisia, the cultivation of Pomegranate is one of the most important in the country. And although Tunisia is one of the larger Pomegranate producers in the world, the majority of its products is consumed by the Tunisians themselves, and only a small percentage of total production is exported.

In relation to the crop, Pomegranate orchards are traditionally small in size, and many times the trees are combined with other species, such as olives, citrus, etc.

As for the planting distances of the Pomegranates, they range from 4 to 6 m in the row and 5 to 6 m between the rows, and new comercial plantations usually number 50 trees per stremma (1/10 hectare).

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in Israel

With the Bible referring to Pomegranate as one of the seven species that thrive on the land that God gave to the people of Israel, the cultivation of Pomegranate in the country is, more or less, a divine imperative.

Indeed, Israel responds to the divine imperative, not only by planting Pomegranates, but also by developing significant knowledge and technology in tree crop.

Generally in Israel, dense Pomegranate planting is avoided. It is preferred that the Pomegranate trees grow without touching each other, so that the fruits are produced all around the trees.

The recommended planting distances are 4 to 5 m in the row and 6 m between the rows. For semi dwarf cultivars, planting distances are shorter, as they are planted every 3 m in the row, with the rows 5 m apart.

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

Pomegranate Planting Distances in Greece

Although not at all a divine imperative, Pomegranate has been cultivated in Greece since ancient times. However, only in recent years, the cultivation has expanded to become purely commercial, reaching from about 200 hectares in 2007 to about 1,500 hectares in 2012.

The recommended Pomegranate planting distances, for plants that will be formed on either a bush or a tree, are 3.5 to 4 m in the row and 5 m between the rows, while for those that will form a fence are 2 m in the row with 5 m between the rows.

Of course, other anecdotal recommendations are not also missing, such as the one for planting Pomegranates of bush form 3 m in the row with 4 m between the rows, that is, 83 trees per stremma (1/10 hectare), while for the Pomegranates fence, is suggested 2.5 m in the row with 5 m between the rows, i.e. 80 trees per stremma.

… And why not 79?

Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning

References

The References of the cosmopolitan article entitled Pomegranate Planting Distances & Orchard Planning are presented by Socrates Malamas (Sokratis Malamas – Σωκράτης Μάλαμας) with his song A Walk in the Deep (Mia Volta sta Vathia – Μια Βόλτα στα Βαθιά), from its album which is coincidentally called Fairy Tales (Paramythia – Παραμύθια).

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Socrates Malamas - A Walk in the Deep
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  1. Ashton, R. W. (2006). The Incredible Pomegranate: Plant and Fruit. Tempe, AZ: Third Millennium Publishing.
  2. Cuevas, A. (2018). Pomegranate Production and Marketing. Scitus Academics LLC.
  3. Hiwale, S. S. (2009). The Pomegranate. New India Publishing.
  4. Kahramanoglu, I., & Usanmaz, S. (2016). Pomegranate Production and Marketing. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  5. Levin, G. M. (2006). Pomegranate Roads: A Soviet Botanist’s Exile from Eden (1st ed.). Floreant Pr.
  6. Singh, S., & Choudhary, M. (2012). Production Technology of Fruit Crops in Wasteland. Scientific Publishers.
  7. Stone, D. (2017). Pomegranate: A Global History. London, England: Reaktion Books.

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