Arizona is the perfect place to grow pomegranate trees. They prefer hot, dry climates like ours and are easy to maintain. They need to be lightly pruned once per year, which we do when they are dormant in winter. Ours get deep irrigation water every 2 weeks in the summer and require no additional watering. Trees can be purchased from local nurseries and planted in the fall or spring. We planted four bare root trees 3 years ago, and they have grown fast and been very productive.
Pomegranates ripen in late fall to early winter in Arizona. They are ripe when the fruit feels heavy and the outside skin is deep red and firm. The best way to tell is to cut one open and see how red the arils are. When fully ripe, the arils will be a dark red color. Once they are harvested, you can use several techniques to remove the arils easily.
Ways to Enjoy
In addition to eating the pomegranates fresh off the tree, you can also cook and bake with them. We juice them by processing the arils in a food processor and straining. They can also be turned into decorations!
If you have a large harvest, there are ways to enjoy pomegranates all year long. Arils and juice can be frozen up to 6 months in airtight containers. You can also make delicious jelly from the juice!
The only pests we’ve had problems with are leaffooted bugs. They are known to feed on a variety of plants, but we have only found them on pomegranates. If you notice them on your fruit, they need to be removed immediately since they will almost certainly cause damage. These insects are fairly resistant to pesticides, but luckily they can easily be taken care of with a Shop-Vac vacuum. During the summer and fall, we vacuum them once or twice per month and it keeps their population under control.