POMEGRANATE

Kingdom:Plantae Division:Magnoliophyta Class:Magnoliopsida Subclass:Rosidae Order:Myrtales Family:Lythraceae Genus:Punica Species:P. granatum

INTRODUOTION

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is an ancient favorite table fruit of tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. The fruit is symbolic of plenty and very much liked for its cool, refreshing juice and valued for its medicinal properties. It retains its flavor and as such can keep well for over a year if it is properly filtered, bottled and preserved by using 0.1 per cent sodium benzoate. The juice of pomegranate is believed to be good for leprosy patients. The grains of the fruit are also eaten fresh in most of the hot countries and are used as condiment. The bark and rind of the fruits are commonly used in dysentery and diarrhea. The rind is also used as dying material for cloth. Dried seeds of pomegranate seeds with pulp are available as ‘Anardana’.


Production Areas:
As a commercial crop pomegranate is grown to a limited extent in selected locations in many states. The estimated area under pomegranate in India is about 25000 ha. with Maharashtra accounting for more than two third area, while other states like AP, UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nade share the rest

Climate

Pomegranate prefers dry climate. During fruit development, prolonged hot and dry climate is required. Optimum temperature congenial for fruit development is 38 degree C. In humid climate the fruits are severely damaged by pomegranate butterfly and do not develop sweetness. It is winter hardy and very drought tolerant. It can grow up to an elevation of 1850 meters

Soil

It grows under wide variety of soils and can tolerate even alkalinity and salinity to certain extent. However, best results are obtained in deep heavy loam and well drained soils. It is sensitive to soil moisture fluctuations causing fruit cracking which is a serious problem of this crop.

Varieties and Propagation : In
recent years several new varieties have been developed and new orchards have come with wellknown improved varieties.

Ganesh : This is a selection from ‘Alandi’
developed by Dr. Cheema at Pune which has revolutionized cultivation of pomegranate in Maharashtra state. This has soft seeds and pinkish flesh with juice of agreeable taste and bears heavily.

Dholka : Popular variety of Gujarat with fruits of
large size, rind greenish yellow, flesh aril pinkish white seeds soft, juice acidic. It is a medium cropper.

Jodhpur Local : Medium sized fruit with hard
rind, fleshy aril light pink, sweet, juicy, seed moderately hard.

Seedless (Bedana) : Fruit medium to large in size, rind
brownish green, fleshy aril light pink or whitish, very sweet, very juicy, soft seeded. ‘Bassein seedless & KVK – 1’ are from Karnataka and ‘Jalore Selection’ are popular names in north India. In South India, ‘Paper Shell’, ‘Spanish Ruby’, ‘Muscat Red’ & ‘Velladu’ have shown promise.


Vegetative propagation is recommended in establishing pomegranate. Propagation by cuttings is common. Cuttings should be taken from suckers which spring from the base of the main stem and should be mature about 20 to 30 cm long and 6-12 mm thick. Rainy season is the best period to achieve maximum success.


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Cultural Practice

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Planting distance would depend on soil type and climate. Old orchards were planted at 3 to 6 m space. Nowadays with new dwarf varieties a spacing of 4 x 4 m is recommended which accommodates 625 plants/ha

Training & Pruning : Multi
stem training is more prevalent and useful also because due to some reason even if the plant losses one stem it contains others to survive.

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Pomegranate fruits are borne terminally on short spurs arising from mature shoots. These bear fruits for 3 to 4 years. Only limited pruning of trees are required. The gradual growth of new shoots should be encouraged by restricted cutting back of bearing shoots. Suckers are removed regularly.

Orchard Management : During
gestation period which is normally 3 to 4 years for improved varieties, growing pulses & green manure crops are recommended only during rainy season.

Irrigation may be
given depending on soil, climate and availability of water.

Flower regulation : In
subtropics, pomegranate flowers in spring while in tropics (Central and South India), it flowers in three distinct phases with maximum intensity in rainy season. Spring flowers (Ambe-bahar) give fruits in summer when the demand is maximum but of poor quality. Therefore, efforts should be directed to avail of rainy flowers (Mrig-bahar) so that fruiting period coincides with the time of maximum water availability in the soil and the crop is taken without irrigation. For Mrig bahar treatment results in sufficient suppression of growth. Trees usually shed leaves by March and remain dormant upto May. Then the field is ploughed, manure and fertilizers are applied and first light irrigation is given in the middle of May and thereafter one or two light irrigation are given until rains set in.


Pests and Diseases
The pomegranate butterfly, Virachola isocrates, lays eggs on flower-buds and the calyx of developing fruits; in a few days the caterpillars enter the fruit by way of the calyx. These fruit borers may cause loss of an entire crop unless the flowers are sprayed 2 times 30 days apart. A stem borer sometimes makes holes right through the branches. Twig dieback may be caused by either Pleuroplaconema or Ceuthospora Phyllosticta. Discoloration of fruits and seeds results from infestation by Aspergillus castaneus. The fruits may be sometimes disfigured by Sphaceloma punicae. Dry rot from Phomopsis sp. or Zythia versoniana may destroy as much as 80% of the crop unless these organisms are controlled by appropriate spraying measures. Excessive rain during the ripening season may induce soft rot. A post-harvest rot caused by Alternaria solani was observed in India in 1974. It is particularly prevalent in cracked fruits

Keeping Quality and Storage
The pomegranate is equal to the apple in having a long storage life. It is best maintained at a temperature of 32º to 41º F (0º-5º C). The fruits improve in storage, become juicier and more flavorful; may be kept for a period of 7 months within this temperature range and at 80 to 85% relative humidity, without shrinking or spoiling. At 95% relative humidity, the fruit can be kept only 2 months at 41º F (5º C); for longer periods at 50º F (10º C). After prolonged storage, internal breakdown is evidenced by faded, streaky pulp of flat flavor.

Nutrition : The recommended
doses of manures of fertilizers for Ganesh variety in Maharashtra is 25 kg of FYM, 500 g N, 125 g P2O & 125 g. K2) per plant per year for 4 to 6 year old plants. Time of application will vary with the crop. For Ambe bahar December/January, for Mrig bahar May/June and for Haste Bahar October/November are appropriate periods

Physiological disorder : Fruit
cracking is a most serious physiological disorder in pomegranate which limits its cultivation. In young fruits it could be due to boron deficiency but fully grown fruits crack due to moisture imbalances as there are very sensitive to variations in soil moisture and humidity. Prolonged drought causes hardening of peel and if this is followed by heavy irrigation or down pour then the pulp grows and the peel cracks. This problem can be overcome by a) Maintaining soil moisture and not allowing wide variations in soil moisture depletion, b) Cultivation of tolerant varieties, c) Early harvesting not allowing the fruits to crack and
d) Spray of calcium hydroxide on leaves and on fruit set.

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Harvesting, Yield and Marketing :
Normally, pomegranate flowers take 5 to 6 months to be ready as mature fruits. They should be harvested mature which can be judged by change in skin colour to slightly yellow and metallic sound when tapped. A grown up well kept tree should give about 100 to 150 fruits per year. A high density system with ‘Ganesh’ 1000 plant/ha (5x2m) has been found very profitable giving a crop of 50 fruits/tree of good quality.

After harvesting, fruits can be cured in shade for about a week so that the skin becomes hard and fruits can stand transportation better. Thereafter, the fruits can be graded according to weight
‘A’ grade ‘B’ grade ‘C’ grade 350 g & above 200 to 350 g & above Less than 200 g.

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Food Uses For enjoying out-of-hand or at the table, the fruit is deeply scored several times vertically and then broken apart; then the clusters of juice sacs can be lifted out of the rind and eaten.

Other Uses
All parts of the tree have been utilized as sources of tannin for curing leather. The trunk bark contains 10 to 25% tannin and was formerly important in the production of Morocco leather. The root bark has a 28% tannin content, the leaves, 11%, and the fruit rind as much as 26%. The latter is a byproduct of the "anardana" industry. Both the rind and the flowers yield dyes for textiles. Ink can be made by steeping the leaves in vinegar. In Japan, an insecticide is derived from the bark.

Medicinal Uses: The juice of wild pomegranates yields citric acid and sodium citrate for pharmaceutical purposes. Pomegranate juice enters into preparations for treating dyspepsia and is considered beneficial in leprosy.

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