Suddenly broke dormancy - southern US - what do I do?

Hi folks,

I came home from the dog park this morning to discover my pomegranate had unexpectedly and comprehensively broken dormancy. I live in the southern US (edge of 8a/8b).

Monday and Tuesday are going to bottom out in the high 20s; after that, Wednesday is high 30s, Thursday is high 40s, everything after is 50s and 60s, and I think I’m into spring.


  • I was planning to shape and prune in early spring. It is now, apparently, early spring. Have I missed my window?
  • How should I navigate the sudden rise/drop/rise? Bring the pom inside on Monday and Tuesday (when it’s cold)? I have an 8-bulb T5 setup for overwintering where it could live.

Thanks for your quick responses! It seems like “gosh I gotta prune this thing in the next 3 hours” might be on the table.

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I would say you’re too late to do the pruning you want to right now. I’d hold off and wait until the new growth has hardened off, then come in and prune. I notice the same thing with one of my pomegranates today. Got to repot it much earlier than I was planning on.


I would look over the tree figure out what you want too keep and what you want to get rid of. Cuts will obviously heal quicker once tree is in active growth however easier to prune once dormant as no leaves.

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If I were you I would definitely bring it in overnight when it will dip so low. You don’t need much in the way of grow lights for overnight, just take it back outside when you wake up for the day.

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I’m going to second the answer that Fletch gave. Wait on the pruning. And like Nate said, bring it in when the temps dip below the 40’s. After that, leave it outside and prune after the growth hardens.

Not ideal, but unless the tree is super vigorous, I would just wait, and not risk the tree’s health. You’re not losing fine ramification, so waiting makes sense more than trying to rush it.

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Thanks for y’all’s responses!

I ended up pruning before the first comment came in – oh, well; lesson learned! – but the tree seems to be recovering fine. I’ve brought it in overnight with the low temps and am otherwise keeping it in its normal wintering place (on the ground, sheltered from wind).

Follow up question: feelings about slip potting it at this time of year?

I’d like to get it into a rootmaker pot for a year or two before transitioning it to a bonsai container.

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Personally, I would wait. The tree is budding out. It’s been pruned, and it’s lost some energy from those buds that it invested in and are now gone. Adding one more thing for it to deal with might not be the best thing to do. Sure, a slip pot, if I understand it correctly, doesn’t mess with the root ball, but you could always do it later, once the temps have normalized and the tree has recouped some of its energy. Unless you’re in a rush, just hold off on the slip pot until growth hardens off.

I should add the disclaimer that I’ve killed a bunch of trees by doing too much, too quickly, so I’m a little more cautious than I probably should be.

Keep us updated though, and best of luck with the cold!

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Always good advice! I’ve got a weird moving-and-developing-trees five-year timeline ticking in my head, is the only reason I’m considering doing both at once.

My thinking behind the slip pot: if it goes into a similarly-sized container, and if the rootball isn’t disturbed, it shouldn’t impede growth at all – and I want to give it maximum growth time before summer here starts stressing the tree much worse than winter does.

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Well, only you know how strong the tree is. If you’ve had success with it in the past with the slip potting, and summer is more of a concern, I would wait the extra couple of days until you’re definitely in the 40’s, and do it.

Trust your instincts!

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