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Why do the fruits on my pomegranate tree split open?

Author: Kelly Young
Issue: September, 2017, Page 161
ASK THE EXPERTS

Q - Every one of the fruits on our pomegranate tree split open. We didn’t fertilize the tree this year. Could that be the cause?

A - Fruits with thick skin, such as pomegranates and citrus, are prone to splitting due to irregular irrigation. When the trees are drought-stressed, the fruit rinds become leathery and less pliable. Subsequent irrigation or rainfall causes the fruits to swell, but the rinds are unable to stretch so they split. Remove all of the affected fruits so that they don’t attract pests, such as the leaf-footed plant bug, and note on your calendar for next year to increase the frequency of irrigation the following spring. Managing drought stress throughout the summer will decrease the likelihood that the fruits will split after a heavy rainfall next year. Fertilize as the new leaves emerge next year with compost or a nitrogen fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate.
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