forgotten Pomegranate

akhater

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I found today in the garden of my parent's house a Pomegranate I had put in a pot (with very bad soil) some 15 years ago maybe. (I think it is a dwarf one not sure)

I had totally forgotten about it, at the time I was interested in planting and not in Bonsai...

It grew pretty much since and buds are swelling some leaves already showing.

The trunk at the base is about as thick as a mineral water cover.

Here are 2 pics I took today

so now the regular question

1. any potential here ?
2. I did some pruning today to push buds lower on the trunk since there are no branches for at least 50 cm or so, can I repot this year or better not ? and if yes when ?
3. what is the correct mix\soil for this plant ? is it acid lover ?
 

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akhater

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any advise before it is too late to repot ?

would it be better to do a layering this year (since I aleady pruned) and repot next year ?
 

Attila Soos

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Pomegranate is actually one of those species (along with olive), that you can re-pot in hot weather as well, they seem to love hot weather and the roots recover faster. I repotted them as late as July, which here in Southern California is pretty hot. Never lost one, although I have a few dozen of them in various stages, for the last 15 years. So, no need to worry about being too late.

Unfortunately you won't get too many replies on this, because your tree has no bonsai potential whatsoever. And people prefer to be quiet than being negative.

Of course, given an infinite amount of time, every tree can be made into bonsai, but we rather work on those that offer a little more than that. The most important part of the learning process is to develop an eye for plants with potential. If you have it in your head, then your hands will follow.
 

akhater

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Thank you so much,

There is nothing negative in saying there is no potential in a tree that's how I learn :D

Just let me understand one thing, it has no potential because it has a straight trunk or because it has no nebari ?

what I mean is that, assuming it was a seedling, how can it be better ?

Hope you don't mind the questions
 

milehigh_7

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I am certainly no expert but I will take a stab at it and let Attila and some of the others correct me if I am wrong. (This will help me learn! :D ) I am sure there are more things but this will get you started hopefully.

In the lower portion of the trunk, illustrated by the red lines, there is a nasty reverse taper resulting from that swelling where the trunk splits. The idea is that we taper with the largest measurement being at ground level. It is this taper that gives the illusion of a larger tree.

The green circle around where the trunk forks is another major issue. The two trunks are really out of scale. This is also a "slingshot" trunk and given the angles I don't see that removing one of the trunks would help much. We generally don't want such straight lengths of trunk, you should look for movement.

Branches are not really an issue as Poms backbud really well. They root like mad so you could easily ground layer from the fork down and start a twin trunk.

The thing is, every tree can be improved but our time here on the earth is short. I have a yard full of trees that followed me home like stray puppies. What is amazing with some of the bonsai folk you will meet is how they "see" the tree inside the mess that you start with. Conversely they can see when it is better off in someone's landscape or staying in the woods. That is what us newer people have to develop.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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The disparity between the trunk and the fork is likely a graft union, where the scion swelled(s) at a faster rate than the understock. If so...that doesn't improve with time. Probably best to move on and invest time in something that doesn't have so many obstacles to overcome.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Just let me understand one thing, it has no potential because it has a straight trunk or because it has no nebari ?

Sorry, meant to address this question...the lack of potential is because:

1. The reverse-taper, if correctable, would require more time and effort than it's worth...you could plant seeds and within a few years be ahead of the current trunk diameter on this tree.

2. It has no visible nebari, although something may be present under the soil...but the reverse taper is still present.

3. Removing everything that can't be used doesn't leave much to work with...maybe the area below the graft union...then you're back to point #1; you could plant seeds...
 
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Si Nguyen

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I have to agree with everybody here. The stump is no good. You would have to chop it down to about 3-4 inches and start over. But there is another option. Pomegranates are very easy to propagate by cuttings, even big branches. Just take big cuttings, 10-20 inches long, with branches or curves, and stick them in some sand. Let them root in a greenhouse or cover them with plastic for a few months. That would be the fastest way of getting some nice small bonsai in a few years out of this tree.
Good luck!
Si
 

akhater

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We are surely getting somewhere !

It seems I had it all wrong :( I thought the idea was to plant a tree in a garden and forget it for a few years

this one I didn't forget on purpose however I have, in my garden, a Pomegranate and a cedrus libani that have been there for 3 years untouch waiting for.... obviously I don't know what :D

OK since I am here to learn what do i do with these ? should I work them in the ground ? maybe better to open another thread for each
 

Attila Soos

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All above are good suggestions, whith this tree the only thing you can do is to cut it down to below the swelling (leaving a stub of a few inches), and also take the tree out of pot, flush away all the soil, and cut the roots back to 4-5 inches from the nebari. Hopefully you have an acceptable root base, but who knows.

Then plant the stub back into some fast-draining soil, and put it out into the sun. Hopefully the tree survives the drastic procedure and sends out some new buds close to the ground. Then you can let those shoots grow for a new months and next year you can pick one as the new trunk-line. The new trunk line will add some movement and taper to the tree.
Now you can forget about the tree for a couple of years, until the new leader start catching up with the old trunk, in thickness. Then you do another trunk chop, and more movement to the trunk. When you do this, you are just buildng a trunk, and all the branches are just sacrifice branches, later to be disposed of.
But this is a very long story, hard to tell it in one post...For a beginner, it is much better to just buy a pre-bonsai that has been already trained, and work on it for a few years, while you begin to develop your eye for bonsai. Working with this current tree is like walking in total darkness, you don't really know what you are doing. You can get a lot of help on the Internet, but this is like you want to become a car-mechanic just from surfing the Net. It's not likely to happen. Every answer you get, prompts two new questions, and you end up with more questions than you can imagine.
 
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akhater

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assuming I want to do all this just for the sake of learning, will all this be done in a single shot ? will it not kill the tree?

what about layering above the swelling the trunk is still about 1 cm does it do any good ?
 

akhater

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More pictures of the ugly :) maybe worth layering high ?
 

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Si Nguyen

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Hi Akhater, I would airlayer it this summer. Then take cuttings from the top branches next year. But your tree is not so healthy. Pomegranates need full sun, and alot of water and fertilisers. That spot is too shady. Now is the best time to dig it up and move it.
Good luck!
 

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akhater

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thanks a lot Si

If I am going to layer is it needed to repot it ?
 

Attila Soos

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thanks a lot Si

If I am going to layer is it needed to repot it ?

It depends on how rootbound the tree is. If it is severely rootbound, then that will weaken the tree, so it's better to re-pot it and reinvigorate it, so when you airlay it in the summer, you will have a healthy plant. You can tell how rootbound it is by shaking the trunk, to see how tight the tree sits in the nursery pot. If you feel that it is very tight, then it is rootbound. But since you said that the tree was growing in that pot for a few years, I suspect that it is rootbound, because pomegranates are vigorous growers.
 

Si Nguyen

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I agree with Attila. You have to look at the root ball in order to decide whether to repot it or not. Most likely yes, since it had been in that pot for several years already. Just slip pot it into something slightly bigger. Like I said before, this tree is not healthy. Looking at the sparse branches on top, one can guess that there will be very few good roots in that root ball. So don't cut away any roots when you repot, because you might cut away the one and only good root left if you are not careful. Then fertilize it. You probably never feed this poor tree.
Good luck again.
Si
 

akhater

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thanks folks!

when you say split repot it it means i don't take off the current soil ? it is very compact
 

Attila Soos

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thanks folks!

when you say split repot it it means i don't take off the current soil ? it is very compact

Right, slip pot means to leave everything untouched, and put it into a larger pot.
But I don't see why not change the soil, especially if if is compact. Compact, hard soil is never a good thing.
 

akhater

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in fact it is very very compact, will try to remove it without touching the roots

will see how it goes
 

Si Nguyen

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To me, slip potting is just removing a little of the old soil and cutting off a few obviously dead roots and putting it into a larger pot. Basically minimal root work. Bare-rooting usually means you remove all of the old soil AND cutting back the roots drastically. But if you have the patience, and if the root ball is not healthy, then bare-rooting could also mean removing all the old soil and NOT cutting off too much roots; just work it carefully with a chop stick. In your case, I would do what Attila said, which is go ahead and cut back the root ball at least a little, maybe an inch or two all around, removing the old compacted soil as much as possible, then put it into a slightly larger pot with new well-draining soil mix. Now, here's something a bit more controversial. I have always learned that one should not fertilize too soon after major root work. I believe this. I have killed enough trees to know this. So, I would only recommend that you fertilize it about 2-3 months after you did root work, when you start to see new strong growths. So, move it to a sunny spot now, water it alot, then feed it heavily in the summer, then air-layer it. Again, if this tree was very strong to begin with, you could have just whacked off the top now and use it as a cutting and it would survive. Sorry for the long post.
Good luck!
 

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