Vegetables and Fruit forum: Looking for Japanese (Asian) Persimmon Trees

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(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Jan 30, 2012 2:16 PM CST
When I was a child in a coastal area, we had a Japanese Persimmon tree that provided large yellow/orange fruits in the fall -- and those persimmons made the best bread (similar to banana bread). I'm now located in the 7b/8a zone where the soil is less sandy (with more clay) and it is a bit colder here so am looking for a grafted tree that will be hardy and pest-free (since we garden with bees and butterflies in mind). I have no idea from where to order good trees. Can anybody share experiences and give some direction? Many thanks!!!
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Jan 30, 2012 2:20 PM CST

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We have lots of persimmons around here, but none of the crafted cultivars. Your question made me go looking and my initial searches found nothing. I'll be watching this thread and hoping that someone else knows more about this.
(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Jan 30, 2012 7:28 PM CST
Thanks for replying, Dave. It's good to hear from you and I very much hope this site will become as successful as DG!!

My research last week brought me to the conclusion that these would be the best trees: Fuyu (6-7', most popular), Jiro (12', mid-season, self-fertile, non-astringent), and Giombo (20', early, Astringent, self-fertile, very sweet).

Other recommended trees are: Maru, Gailey (mid, astringent), and Hachiya (mid, astringent), Saijo (early, astringent, very sweet).

I think the grafting is done so they will be more hardy in colder climates. I live in a very windy area where the summer temps are over 100 and winter temps can dip to the low teens. So, I thought it might be well to look for a more hardy tree and have the best chance it would thrive. Actually, I'd be glad to get two or three different cultivars.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
[Last edited by Gardenbees - Jan 31, 2012 2:40 PM (+)]
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Name: Veronica Dykes
central Texas
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BettyDee
Jan 30, 2012 8:09 PM CST
Japanese persimmons fall into one of two categories: non-astringent and astringent. Both are hardy to zone 7. The non-astringent varieties do not make your mouth pucker and can be eaten much like an apple while they are still firm. The astringent varieties must be jelly soft ripe before they are edible. The astringent varieties are usually the ones used in baking although you can also use the non-astringent varieties if you let the fruit get jelly soft. The astringent ones are generally sweeter and more flavorful., but that's a matter of taste.

Japanese persimmons, unlike most other fruit, bloom after the leaves have emerged. So fruit loss due to a late freeze is usually not a problem unless your freezes extend into May. However, the leaves can be damaged by temperatures lower than 26ºF.

They are grafted onto one of three rootstock: D. lotus, D. Kaki and D. virginiana. The D. kaki rootstock, the preferred rootstock, is a Japanese persimmon seedling which develops long taproots and fiberous lateral roots, but trees grafted onto this rootstock is impossible to find. At least, I haven't been able to find the true Fuyu grafted onto this rootstock.

The grafted persimmons sold here in the US are grafted to either D. lotus or onto the American persimmon, D. virginiana. D. lotus is the most common of the two rootstock, but it is not compatible with the Fuyu persimmon. If you get a "Fuyu" grafted onto D. lotus, it is usually the Jiro variety and not the true Fuyu. The D. virginiana rootstock suckers badly and fruit production is inconsistent, but it is more cold hardy. If you order from an eastern nursery, you are more likely to get trees grafted on to D. virginana. If you want trees grafted onto D. lotus, buy from a west coast nursery. Be mindful that most bareroot tree nurseries ship only during winter and early spring.

I've ordered my persimmon trees from either Raintree nursery in Washington or from Bay Laurel Nursery in California. Of the two, I gravitate toward Bay Laurel Nursery because they ship in January, the second best planting month in central Texas. Raintree won't ship until March. Both nurseries provide good sturdy and healthy trees.

You may find these links very useful:
http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/persimmon.html
http://www.plantanswers.com/garden_column/jan04/3.htm

I prefer to eat my persimmons while they are still firm so most of the trees I have bought are the non-astringent variety, but I did buy two astringent varieties, Hachiya and Saijo, last year.



VLD
(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Jan 31, 2012 9:01 AM CST
Thanks, BettyDee. You are a wealth of helpful information!

I certainly hope to avoid the suckering, but I also want to be sure the trees are really hardy in my area where temps can dip low a couple of nights a year (10-15 degrees briefly). Plus, I want a disease resistant variety as I don't do much spraying.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Name: Veronica Dykes
central Texas
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BettyDee
Jan 31, 2012 12:03 PM CST
Persimmons are fairly healthy trees. The only things that have attacked mine are grasshoppers and our cows when my DH forgets to close the gate. You will have competition with birds and wasps for the ripe fruit, but the trees are relatively short so it is possible to cover them or remove the fruit when they are hard ripe and let them continue to soften indoors.

Using the D. virginiana as a root stock will mean that the grafted Japanese persimmon will be susceptible to Cephalosporium wilt which will kill the tree. You may want to contact your local cooperative extension service agent to find out if Cephalosporium wilt is found in your area and what the likelyhood that it will move into your area is before you purchase your persimmons. You may have to compromise and sacrifice a few branches to freezing weather now and then rather than a whole tree to Cephalosporium wilt.

I've got to go take care of a few things, but will return with a few more comments.
VLD
(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Jan 31, 2012 2:24 PM CST
Yikes!!! Thanks for the warning!
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Name: Veronica Dykes
central Texas
Brug lover
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Region: Texas Tropicals
BettyDee
Jan 31, 2012 5:45 PM CST
Gardenbees,

A few more things to consider:

First frost date vs when persimmons would ripen in your area. A hard freeze would damage the fruit and would limit what you can do with the fruit. You may want to look for varieties that ripen before your average first freeze.

Japanese persimmons will cross pollinate with each other resulting in fruit with seeds. This is usually not a problem and in some varieties it improves the flavor. In others, it imparts a brownish color to the flesh near the seeds. If like me, you enjoy the intense flavor of dehydrated persimmon slices, seeds in the fruit make it harder to process the fruit for dehydration. You can get around this by getting varieties that produce only female flowers. If you don't mind having seeds in the fruit, then varietal compatibility is not as important.

Some persimmons do require a pollinator so if you choose one of those varieties, be sure to purchase a variety that produces pollen.
VLD
(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Feb 1, 2012 8:11 AM CST
Have continued researching. I can't find the Kaki rootstock either. The ext. agent here said D. lotus rootstock is causing some terrible problems in the humid South. I guess that leaves only D. virginiana -- and suckering.

I'll go by the local nursery today and see what I can learn about the products they might offer.

A word of caution to ebay users -- be sure to ask about the rootstock before purchasing!
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Feb 1, 2012 8:45 PM CST
Finally located Fuyu, Tane nashi, and Eureka at a local nursery! Salesman could not tell on which root stock they are grafted (or even if they are grafted) -- I'll try to contact the nursery owner to get more info. Salesman said the trees were 6' tall. Of these three, which would you purchase?
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Feb 4, 2012 6:06 PM CST
Sorry to have just now found this thread. I'm a persimmon freak! I have plenty of wild persimmons in my area but seldom harvest any. I much prefer the Oriental/Japanese persimmons.

I'd recommend checking out this source, Gardenbees.
[url=www.eat-it.com]www.eat-it.com[/url] The company, Edible Landscaping, only sells plants that give us something to eat from. I've bought quite a few plants from them over the years.

Sheng persimmon is my favorite. If they have it available I'd go for it. I noticed you mentioned you were in zone 7-something but knowing your State would also help, especially when talking about potential wilts and such. I'm in NC and have not witnessed any wilt attacks with Sheng. I bet it it out there somewhere though! :>_)

Sheng is grafted but I'll ask Michael (Edible Landscaping owner) which rootstock it is grafted on.

This tree, in 2004, was only 3 yrs old and gave us a nice "beginner's harvest" in that short time. The following year I'm sure I picked more than 100 fruit. The next year I stopped counting at 300.

Shoe

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(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Feb 6, 2012 7:21 AM CST
Thanks, Horseshoe!

I'm in central Mississippi -- Zone maps place us in 7b or 8a. My property is a little colder since we are away from town and up on a hill where there is more wind. Our lot drops quite a bit from side to side (and front to back), The lower area gets much cooler faster in the evenings and we often have fog. My guess is I'd need to consider planting the trees in the high area (where they would be suscitible to the wind) but not the lower ground (which is wet longer and where the fog settles). However, the area is wide open and even the low ground receives the morning and all day sun. If they need any break from the very hot sun, I do have the option of planting at the back of the lot (north) which is bordered by woods (or even on the east side of the house which eventually gets afternoon shade and where we already have some Magnolias and an Oak that are big enough to give some shade -- but there is also plenty of room to plant on that side and stay away from the other trees, too).
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Name: Jujube
San Marcos, TX
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texoticfruits
Feb 14, 2012 10:25 AM CST
If you have a sandy well drained soil, the Lotus rootstock with be better for you. If you have a heavy soil, the American Persimmon rootstock is best. In Central and Southeast Texas, some orchards had to rip out all the Persimmons on Lotus because we have a heavy soil and they had problems with growth and root rot. Most trees that come out of CA will be on Lotus and the ones that come out of Texas will be on American.

I like the Fuyu but Jiro is pretty much the same fruit. At least, I dont notice a huge difference in taste.
(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Feb 16, 2012 11:16 PM CST
Thanks, Texotic,

Our soil is very heavy clay. I've been out planting Plum tress and mixing in about 50% composted leaves and straw to enhance the soil. We do have a nice slope so the soil will always drain well.

How far apart would you recommend planting the Persimmons?
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Name: Jujube
San Marcos, TX
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texoticfruits
Feb 20, 2012 2:56 PM CST
The ones at the local church are extremely large and need to be at least 30 feet away but Fuyu tends to be on the smaller side So I would say 20 feet.

(Zone 8a)
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Gardenbees
Feb 20, 2012 8:45 PM CST
Bought a FUYU and a HACHIYA today! Our Lowe's store waited a year to get some (and could only get these two types) and they look like really nice trees. Thanks for all the helpful comments, everybody!
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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