Pruning Pomegranate

Some soils are so rich with nutrients that pomegranates can grow to wild proportions. And yet, they bear no fruit. A good gardener will know when and where to prune. At the height of the growing season, pruning can kill the plant. So much of its energy is invested in stem elongation, leaf production, root penetration. Cutting at this stage is traumatic, causes the plant’s system to rethink, regroup and stunt further bursts of creativity.

When the pomegranate reaches its maximum growth for the year, it rests, rejuvenates and absorbs. It is no longer thrusting out, forward and down. Its fluids are stable and thickened, withdrawn to the center in reserve for survival. A cut in the right place, at the junction of the leaf bud encourages the pomegranate to divert its energy from bigger to better. Cutting back dead material prevents the plant from exerting effort along futile tangents, preserving the strength of the pomegranate’s core.

The more I consider my pomegranate, the more I see it is spindly, weakened by its own exuberance and unlikely to produce the results I have envisioned – those globes of red-orange seedpods that are now sought for their life-assuring properties.

Even my lip balm contains this fruit’s anti-oxidant promises. How could I have known as a child, suffering from pomegranate-induced hives, that my future was forever linked to tiny, tart seeds?

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