Last week I went to my local nursery and bought a 3-ft tall
pomegranate tree in a 5-gallon pot. I also bought potting soil and
consulted with the nursery manager about planting. Later that day, I
planted the pomegranate tree in the potting soil in a large terra
cotta pot. The root ball on the plant looked fine, and certainly
wasn't root-bound. I watered the freshly transplanted tree and put it
in the sun. Less than two days later, the plant looked like it was
withering, and by three days after purchase, the leaves were crispy
and clearly dead.
The soil never had a chance to dry out in the three days the plant
survived, so I doubt that could be the problem. The pot had great
drainage, so over-watering is also unlikely. The sun was rather hot
one day, but the plant was growing in full sun at a nearby nursery
when I bought it, so I can't imagine that could be the problem either.
A few branches still have some live leaves on them, but most of the
plant looks dead. Do pomegranate trees sometimes lose most of their
leaves due to transplant shock, and then come back? I doubt it, but I
just thought I'd check. Any other thoughts on what could have
For the record, I live in southern California, USA.
Your post doesn't say whether you watered it any time after you potted it,
or whether you were depending upon the water you added when it was
transplanted. Southern California covers a lot of different climates,
including some deserts that would have dried the plant out very quickly --
Barring something untoward, like accidentally spraying it with an herbicide,
from your description my guess is that you didn't water it enough -- if so,
the terra cotta allowed water to evaporate quickly and the tree is in great
stress from the heat and lack of water. Again if that's correct you may be
able to save it by a better watering schedule that keeps the plant deeply
watered but without getting soggy. When you dig down into the pot is the
soil soggy? damp? bone dry?
I found this info at http://www.olive-trees.net/pomegranate/treecare.html :
"When you recieve a pomegranate tree bare root, do not allow the roots to
dry out. Put roots in water for an hour or two then plant or pot immediately
and water in. If you recieve your tree in a container then transplant the
entire root ball taking care to disturb the roots as little as possible.
Water regularly during the growing season when the plant is young and less
often as it becomes established." This is in reference to normal planting,
not in a pot.
Since pomegranate is deciduous, if you've been maintaining a good watering
schedule it is also possible (but IMHO not probable) that it lost the leaves
due to transplant shock and is going to make a comeback. In this case you
ought to see new leaf buds on the tree very soon.
If this were my tree, I would take it out of the pot and plant it in the
ground in a favorable location to try and reestablish it, keeping it well
watered but without being in standing water. Putting the tree into the
ground will give it a more stable environment, and it may take a year or
more for it to fully recover, if it recovers at all. Good Luck --
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