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Friday, May 17, 2013

More on Pomegranates

Since winter the state of my pomegranate tree (Punica granatum 'Nana') has improved.  The majority of its leaves are healthy and uncurled by the pomegranate leafroll mites (aceria granati) that I assume have been the cause of deformed leaves and greatly reduced plant vigor for the past several years.  The tree is also full of flowers and buds, many more than last spring.  So clearly the tree is doing better and has energy to pump into flower production.

What happened?  Since I haven't treated the tree with insect- or miticides, I think the chief player in mite control has been the cold snaps we had over the past winter.  The tree lost most of its leaves and maybe the cold helped kill off remaining mites.  So as spring warmed up the tree got a fresh start with lots of healthy photosynthesizing leaves.

On the other hand, there are areas of curling leaves starting up on the tree now . . . so I am planning a strategy to help the plant and reduce the mite population.  Maybe I'll prune off infested leaves, might try chemical control; probably will fertilize the plant and wash off the leaves periodically.

There still isn't much information about an outbreak of these mites in Southern California that I have been able to find, but I see troubled pomegranate trees in my local travels.  Anyone else have any info on this pest?

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