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Plant Diseases/pomegranate trees dying

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pom tree
pom tree  
Hello, I have about sixty acres of pomegranate trees and in some areas of my field the leaves are quickly turning yellow to orange and the tree seems to be dying. I noticed down by the trunk the bark is splitting and swelling and a there is a green fungus underneath it. I'm watering with a drip irrigation system. The soil is heavy and may have poor drainage is these areas.  Is there a solution to this problem? thanks.

Answer
Lafe,

It sounds like the pomegranate is showing symptoms of root and trunk rot.  Often, this probelm does lead to death of the tree.  Pomegranates are relatively tough and are not troubled by many problems, but root and trunk rot does occasionally cause a problem.

Poor drainage is probably the major factor and it is not uncommon for trees in poorly drained soils to develop root or trunk rot. If you want to save the tree, I would start by improving drainage in this area. You could make a small depression or ditch that ensures that water runs away from the trunk. Do not water the tree unless needed.  You can check by digging down into the soil a few inches to see if the soil is dry.  If it still feels moist, there is no need to water.

If you would like to try a fungicide, you can check your local garden center.  I am not sure of the age of the tree and if it will produce edible fruits.  If it will produce fruit, be sure to select a fungicide for fruits.  An organic product such as neem oil, copper or sulfur fungicide may be a good choice.  I do not know if the fungicide will help, but it would not hurt.

Continue to monitor the tree for a few weeks.  If you do not see improvement, it is likely that the damage was too great and it cannot be saved.  You should remove it, but I would not immediately replant.  I would allow the soil to dry out which will help reduce pathogen spores.  Before replanting, it would be helpful to amend the soil with compost or potting mix to help improve drainage.  

Good luck!

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Jennifer Olson

Expertise

Plant diseases affecting vegetables, fruits, nuts, lawns, trees, shrubs and ornamental plants. I have just volunteered as an expert on this site as of 01/2011.

Experience

Identification and management of plant diseases. Have been employed as a Plant Disease Diagnostician since 2002 and currently work in the Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at the Oklahoma State University.

Organizations
National Plant Diagnostic Network, Great Plains Diagnostic Network

Education/Credentials
B.S. Biology - Lebanon Valley College; M.S. Plant and Soil Sciences,concentration Plant Pathology - University of Delaware; Ph.D. in progress - Oklahoma State University.

Past/Present Clients
Home gardeners, Hobbiests, Plant Breeders, Extension Educators, Nurseries, Greenhouses, Golf Courses, Departments of Agriculture, Industry professionals

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