Hybrid Persimmons with Darren Bender-Beauregard

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Welcome to the Urban Forestry Radio Show here on Reality Radio 1 0 1. In this radio show and podcast, we learn about fruit trees, permaculture, aboriculture, and so much more. So if you love trees, and especially fruit trees, or if you're interested in living a more sustainable life, then this is the place for you.
I'm your host, Susan Poizner of the fruit tree care training website, OrchardPeople. com. Thanks for tuning in. And enjoy the show.
Welcome to the Urban Forestry Radio Show with your host, Susan Poizner. To contact Susan live right now, send her an email. instudio101@gmail.Com
And now, ladies and gentlemen, right to your host of the Urban Forestry Radio Show, Susan Poizner. Persimmons are a funny fruit. Native North American persimmons grow really well in cold climates. They ripen early to late fall. But here's the funny part. How do you know that they're ready? You wait for the fruit to fall to the ground and then you know it's ripe.
Now that fruit may not necessarily look appealing, but It can taste really sweet and delicious if you harvest it just at the right time. North American persimmons can also be a little bit small, so they're like a tasty mini snack. Then, there are the Asian persimmons. These trees grow in warmer climates and they produce fruit that can ripen maybe earlier.
that tastes a bit sweeter, and that fruit can stay on the tree long after the leaves fall to the ground in the fall. Now while native persimmons are often dried or cooked, Asian persimmons are terrific fresh right off the tree. Now, wouldn't it be lovely to have Asian persimmons that grow in cooler climates too?
That's a thought that many plant breeders have had, and they've been quietly working away to develop natural hybrid persimmons that can grow in various different climates. And that is what we're going to talk about on the show today. with my guest Darren Bender Beauregard of Brambleberry Farm in Indiana.
He and his wife Espri operate a regionally focused plant nursery where they propagate and sell hundreds of different species and cultivars of edible and useful plants. So, I'm gonna talk to Darren in just a minute about hybrid persimmons, but first I would love to hear from you. Send in your questions, your comments, or just an email to say hello, and we'll enter you into today's contest.
And this month's prize is a beautiful book. It's called Forage Harvest Feast, A Wild Inspired Cuisine. It's by Marie Villejoen, and it's valued at 38. 99. This book has a chapter on persimmons and it includes a number of persimmon recipes. So, to enter today's contest, just send your email to instudio101@gmail.com
that's instudio101@gmail.com and do remember to include your first name and where you're writing from. I look forward to hearing from you soon. So Darren, welcome to the show today. Thank you. Good to be here.
So tell me, let's start off with the American persimmon. All I know is it's this strange puckered looking fruit that tastes great if you harvest it at the right time, but can taste a little nasty if you harvest it at the wrong time.
Tell me a little bit about it. Like you said, people that have that live in persimmon country where the wild American persimmon grows probably have a story in their lifetime of eating an unripe persimmon and an unr persimmon is full of tannins that will make your mouth almost feel like it's shedding lining of its skin.
It's, and it lasts for, a good. five to ten minutes. And you don't usually forget it very quickly. Around here they talk about it being a cotton mouth, cotton mouthy feeling. So that's the biggest thing and most people are very clear about how you need to wait till the persimmons fall to the ground and are soft.
before you eat them. We have an email already from Francis. Francis writes, Good afternoon, Susan. Are persimmons a sweet fruit or bitter? They look like a tomato. Thank you. They are a very sweet fruit. In fact, the persimmon is, I think, second only to the avocado in terms of the amount of calories.
per gram of fruit from a tree fruit in the whole world. So they have an incredibly high carbohydrate value. They're full of sugars. They do look like little tomatoes and they are soft, like a very ripe tomato. The skin's very fragile on the American persimmons at least. And they're just almost like a little bag of.
orange candy. It's almost too sweet. When I first moved to Southern Indiana, I had never grown up with persimmons and I wasn't real crazy about eating them fresh. When I first moved here, it's a little bit of an acquired taste because they are so sweet that it's almost just too much to eat fresh because there's not a lot of other It's so real fruity flavors in them.
But as you, many other things the same way. When you're around them, the longer you're around them, the more I appreciate eating them fresh in the fall and trying the different flavors and different colors and textures and all the different types of American persimmons. Just to clarify, with American persimmons, do you actually harvest them from the ground or do you wait for them to fall, a few of them to fall, and then you go harvest the rest from the tree?
That's a good question. You definitely want to wait for them to fall. When they are still on the tree, there are some varieties that you can safely pick from the tree if you know what you're doing and know how soft the fruit is. But as a general rule, you want to wait till they fall. And one issue with that is because they're so sweet, deer and raccoons and possums and all kinds of wildlife are going to be eating them as well.
So you will either not get very many or the ones you do get, you need to be careful because there is a lot of scat from those animals right next to the persimmons that you're harvesting. So generally with food safety guidelines, you want to somehow sterilize the fruit before eating it raw or make sure whatever you do, you cook.
If you make pulp from the fruit, you want to use that and bake. Goods and if it's cooked, it's OK and safe. Now there are some people I'm I don't know the details, but there are some people who have devised net systems that catch the fruit when it falls and it funnels them into a bucket or a trough.
In that case, you can get by without worrying about contamination from animal scat. Wow. That is interesting. Very different from growing apple trees and other fruits where you really are discouraged from picking fruit up off the ground. That's not, that's for the animals. That's not for the humans.
We've got a question here from Mark. Mark is from Quebec. Mark writes, American persimmon seedlings are supposed to be hardy to Zone 4 in Canada. But will mainly ripen in Zone 5 and fruits are supposed to, supposed not to be very good tasting. What are all the alternatives for those who wish to try growing persimmons in Zone 4?
And so Mark says Meader, Mohler. Those are a couple of names of varieties. He, Mark says, I also heard and read about deer luscious and full draws as well. What is your opinion about those four mentioned for Northern climates like ours in Canada? Yes, I think your best bet is to find cultivars that you can graft onto your trees or by grafted because if you plant seedlings as is the same with most fruits, you're going to get a variety of different individuals with different types of fruit, different.
ripening times, different cold hardiness and different flavors. And with persimmons, you're very correct that they, the plant itself can be hardy to zone four, but if it's a late ripening type of persimmon, there'll never be enough warmth. And growing days for that fruit to ripen in zone four. So what you need to find is early ripening varieties that have cold hardiness.
And Meader has been a real common one that people grow up north. And Mohler is a much harder to find variety anymore, but that is supposed to be a good one. There's a number, the person you should talk to if you want. A lot of details and go down the rabbit hole is Buzz Ferver with Perfect Circle Farm.
It's perfectcircle. farm. He is in Vermont in Zone 4. Him and I are good friends and we trade scionwood back and forth and he is trialing a whole bunch of Cultivars that are grafted as well as seedlings from different cultivars in zone four to see what will survive and what will fruit in unprotected conditions.
That's great advice. Okay, super. We've got an email here from Catherine. Hi, Susan. What are the best tasting and cold hardy American persimmons or hybrids that I could grow in zone 5B in Canada, which is zone 4 US? How should I graft a five year old male American persimmon with females? My, my four spring grafts didn't take and I'm usually good at grafting.
Thank you. Okay, so Catherine is talking about male and female trees, grafting them together. So what's your answer for her? Great question. So yes, persimmon trees come in general as either male or female. Trees, they're separate and the female trees are the only ones that will produce fruit. There are many exceptions as usual in nature, persimmons, maybe more so, but we won't get into that right now.
The thing that you need to know though, is that it is totally fine to graft female persimmons onto male rootstock and vice versa, they inter graft just fine. The. Trick though with grafting persimmons, and I've had the mistake that you've had and many of us had, that grafted other fruit trees like apples and pears and cherries and peaches, we generally graft those in February, March, April, the very cold months, and we usually graft them before the rootstocks leaf out.
Persimmons, and I also say pawpaws in my experience, are much better to wait until it's warm.
So Darren, talk to me a little bit now about Asian persimmons. How are they different from the American persimmons? So the Asian persimmons grow in much warmer climates and cannot handle colder climates.
Generally the rule of thumb is you can't grow Asian persimmons below zone 7, USDA zone 7. Many of us are growing them in zone 6b. We are in zone 6b U. S. zone 6b and having pretty much fine luck except for the very, very coldest winters when they get a little bit of damage on them. But Asian persimmons in general do not get to be as large.
trees as American persimmons. Generally, 15 feet or less. They have much wider and glossier leaves and beautiful fall color. They have, so there are one, Asian persimmons, if you can grow them, are wonderful edible landscaping trees because they're just beautiful in all seasons. Their leaves have some of the most beautiful fiery.
Oranges and reds and yellows that I've seen and then the fruits hanging on or just look like ornaments, orange or red or yellow hanging on this tree without leaves sometimes. So, so that's one difference. The other major difference is that Asian persimmons do not fall when they're ripe.
They are more like an apple or a peach, probably more like the peach because they have to be, most of them have to be soft When to eat them or they'll have that astringency, that cotton mouthy quality to their fruit. Now there are some Asian persimmons that are called non astringent, and those are types that you can actually pick when they are hard, like an apple, and they do not have the tannins.
that most persimmons have. So those you can eat and you slice them like an apple. They're great in fruit salads. They're just, but they're very different. Most persimmons are very gooey and messy and liquidy and very sweet, but the non astringent types have a very delicate light, very light flavor, lightly sweet.
They're just a really nice, pleasant fruit in my opinion. So we have an email here from Shirley and Shirley writes, I absolutely adore persimmons and will buy them whenever I see them at the store. So excited for this episode. That's Shirley from Kitchener, Ontario. Now, but the ones we see at the store.
Are going to be Asian persimmons. Am I right? And they're the ones that you talk about that. They're a little bit firmer. You'll see them in if you've got a local Chinese or Asian fruit store, that's where you get those beautiful, delicious persimmons.
So. Here we've talked about, you've got the American persimmons, they grow well in a cold climates, you've got the Asian persimmons, if you're lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, seven and above, or six if you're really trying so tell me about when people started to think in terms of can we hybridize these so we get delicious fruits that grow in colder climates or a little bit more flexibility.
Yeah. So I am not the best person for like history and dates, but I know it was, I think in the eighties that
some breeders in Russia and Ukraine, I believe they were the first ones to be really attempting this. And I'm sorry that I don't have names again. I'm not the best with, geeking out on all the.
But they were successful in breeding a number of varieties,
but the two that came out of that, that at least made it to the U. S., are two varieties that are the longest known hybrid persimmons in the U. S. United States. And I should probably before I get too far back up. Yes, the goal is to find a more cold hardy Asian persimmon, so to speak.
Something that's a little more suited for fresh eating. It's not just a turns to goo as soon as you pick it up. And it's maybe a little bit larger, maybe has very few seeds, and it's got very complex fruity flavors, but that will maybe withstand a little bit colder winters. So the two varieties that have been around the longest are called Nikita's Gift, which is also known as Nikitskaya Bordovaya, the same thing, just.
U. S. and, or English and Ukrainian name. And then Rosayanka, which is also known as Russian beauty. The interesting thing is they're very different quality of fruit to them and very different looking trees. And they have different hardiness. So Rosayanka, I believe has been successfully grown in like zone 5a.
I could be wrong on that. It takes a very long time for it to ripen, so it might be that it's hardy there, but not able to ripen the fruit fully. Nikita's gift, however, is very rarely successful. Beyond like zone 6a even it, it gets a lot of winter dieback, so it is not much hardier than the pure Asian persimmons.
And the way it also coincides with the growth form, so Nikita's gift looks a lot more like an Asian persimmon. It's a very short tree, beautiful glossy leaves the fruits are very large and round and red. And My wife's peeking in the window here. She's working on a mini split outside. So, but the rosa yanca is tall.
The leaves look just like American persimmon. You wouldn't know it from another American persimmon, except that the fruit does not drop when it's ripe. It has a flat pumpkin shape like American persimmon. It gets that sort of similar orange color, just a little bit more vibrant. And the flavor is a little more fruity, very few seeds.
And it's a little bit bigger fruit. So Nikita's gift is me, my, and a lot of my friends favorite persimmon. That we can grow around here. Cause it is just. It's like it's almost the size of a tomato. It's ruby red when it's ripe, very few seeds, and the flavor is just outstanding. It's just an amazing treat.
I'm coming to your place to try some of that. That sounds pretty good.
We've got an interesting question from Jessica. Jessica is writing from Colorado. So Jessica writes, Hi Susan, I have a small yard in zone 5 that is very quickly getting filled up with fruit trees. Can hybrid persimmons survive in zone 5 and be espaliered, espalied to take up less space?
Yes and yes, but it needs to be certain hybrids and know that you might see some death on some of the branch tips in the coldest winters. The best ones I would recommend the two hybrid persimmons that have known to be the most cold hardy so far that are more readily available right now in the U.
S. are Rosa Yanka. And one called JT02 or Mikusu, M I K U S U. Those are supposedly, there is someone who grew Mikusu in Illinois that it made it through negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I don't know if that would happen every single time that happens, but that is promising. So it may be even more cold hardy than Rosa Yanka.
But they are both very late ripening. types. So I would say Rosianca is a little bit longer season to ripen. So, but yes, you can grow them. Growing them on espalier is possible, but persimmons have this interesting habit of they almost self prune, which is really nice when you're growing a tall persimmon tree and you don't want to have to worry about pruning it.
As the branches grow, the lower branches get sectioned off and they'll just be dead one year and you just tap them and they fall off. Sorry, I thought I had my sound down my phone. Anyway so with espalier you'll just have to make sure to maintain and prune off. branches that want to go up and above the trellis.
If you let them go too tall, I'm guessing they will want to shed off lower branches. But I'm pretty confident that if you manage the espalier, it'll be just fine. And I think it'd be a very beautiful a very beautiful plant for espalier, especially with the fruit in the fall with no leaves. You'll have this interesting form with a bunch of little Christmas ornaments hanging on it.
If any of the listeners do that please send us a picture. I would love to see it. Info at orchardpeople. com. I would love to see how that works out.
We've got an interesting question from Ben from Massachusetts. Hello, Darren. Great conversations. I planted a Rosianca hybrid in my garden zone 5BUS a few years ago, and unfortunately it did not survive the winter.
I purchased another Rossianca last year and was hesitant to plant it in the ground this spring. So I put it in a large 15 gallon container and amazingly, it flowered for me and set 12 fruits. Do you have any tips on growing persimmons in containers? I'm thinking to keep it as a bonsai with regular root pruning.
My fear is the American rootstock will be too vigorous and choke out the plant in a container. Thanks. And so that's from Ben. Great question and great observations. I know a number of people who have been growing the Asian persimmons. Most of them are grafted onto American persimmon root food stocks in containers and a 15 gallon pot.
I should hold that for a long time. I know that Japanese do a lot of persimmon bonsai, so they were definitely doable as a bonsai. I think that your plants will be fine. The very worst thing that could happen, I think, is roots. spiraling long term in the pots, but that can be corrected by, every two or three years, set it on its side, get it out of the pot, and maybe snip a few of those roots that are spiraling, but they are very adaptable and I think if you keep the top and root ball balanced, you'll be just fine.
Now, I'll say one more thing. Does that mean that he would bring them in the winter? They'd be indoors? Yes, they would have to be indoors, especially in that cold of a zone. Now, maybe he's had a good, if you Had a good luck with it being out. That is fine. And maybe keep trying that. But generally, the roots of plants freezing hard and freezing and thawing over the winter is what will kill them.
So you would probably have to bring it in. And I'm guessing he is, and that's why he'd have it in the container. Now I wanted to say one more thing though, because there is something that happens with persimmon grafts, and it seems to happen more frequently with hybrid persimmon grafts onto American rootstock.
And I have had a Rosa Yanka, and I've known two other people that had this happen with Rosa Yanka. So I think it might be a little bit of a quirk of that variety. The graft will grow fine for a year or two or three, and then randomly. Sometimes in the spring when it's coming out into leaf, and sometimes mine happened in the middle of the summer or late spring, it'll just completely die to the graft union.
And we, a number of us that have had this happen think that it must be some sort of a slight graft incompatibility that happens on some Rosa Yanka trees. I also know Rosa Yanka trees that are huge and they're 20 years old and they're doing fine. So I just wanted to mention that you might try Rosa Yanka in the ground.
And then five be again, maybe keep one back in a pot and maybe try your hand at grafting. Another one. So, yeah, just to clarify if you bring them in, you can actually bring them into your home or do you have to keep them in a bright sunny garage, or, but cold a colder space. So the answer to that is.
Yes and no. So once they drop their leaves, they do not need any more sun or light to ripen because the leaves are no longer gathering sunlight to make sugars. However, they do need a certain amount of warmth to continue ripening that fruit. So the best thing and then also the tree, if it is not, if it does not go through enough cold nights, it will not wake up in the spring.
So they need. The American persimmons and the hybrids need so many chilling days. Those of you in very southern climates know about chilling requirements for apples and things that are hard to grow down there. So persimmons need so many days under 40 degrees before they'll wake back up with a warm spell.
So the best thing would be in a, like an unheated garage, somewhere where the root ball won't freeze. and thaw, freeze and thaw a lot but that it'll stay somewhat cool. And I would think that even in a garage without light that those fruits would slowly ripen over time. So. Fantastic. That's very exciting.
It gives us a little more flexibility if we're in a cooler climate. So Darren, I want to get into more detail about the top hybrid persimmon cultivars, a little bit more about the people who have changed the world in terms of persimmons and bringing in hybrids. But we're gonna have a few words from our sponsors right now.
Are you okay holding the line for a minute? Oh, yeah. Good stuff. All right. We'll be back in just a minute. In the meantime, you are listening to the urban forestry radio show and podcast and it's brought to you By the fruit tree care training website, orchard, people. com. This is reality radio one Oh one.
And I'm Susan Poizner, author of the fruit tree care books, growing urban orchards and grow fruit trees fast. And we'll be back right after this little break.
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Welcome back to the urban forestry radio show with your host, Susan Poizner, right here. On reality radio 101 to contact Susan live right now. Send her an email. Our email address is
instudio101atgmail. com.
And now right back to your host of the urban forestry radio show, Susan Boisner. Hi there, you're listening to the Urban Forestry Radio Show and Podcast brought to you by the Fruit Tree Care Training website, OrchardPeople. com. This is Reality Radio 101 and I'm your host, Susan Poizner. In the show today, we've been talking to Darren Bender Beauregard of Bramble Berry Farm in Indiana.
Darren and his wife, Esperie, operate a plant nursery where they propagate and sell hundreds of different species and cultivars of edible plants and other useful plants. In the first part of the show, we talked about the difference between North American and Asian persimmons. We've also talked a little bit about how breeders have.
So we're going to chat more about that in just a minute, but first I would love to hear from you. If you're listening to this show live today, you can enter today's contest. And to enter the contest, all you have to do is send us an email right now to in Studio 1 0 1 gmail.com. Just send in a question, a comment, or just say hello and be sure to include your first name and where you are writing from.
Now. Today's Contest Prize is a really beautiful book, and it's called Forage Harvest Feast, A Wild Inspired Cuisine by Marie Vijo. That's valued at 38. 99. And this book has a really interesting chapter on persimmons, and it also includes a number of persimmon recipes. So to enter the contest, email us right now to instudio101.
com. at gmail. com.
And now back to Darren. So Darren, I had, there was a another comment that came in before the break we were talking about could you grow your persimmon tree in a big pot and then bring it in over the winter. So Ben wrote an email here and Ben is from Massachusetts and he says I keep my tree dormant in the winter in the garage with my fig and pomegranate trees.
So what do you think about that? That sounds perfect. I'm glad to hear that's working well. And it's perfect to pair with some of those other subtropical fruits. So we can't quite grow outside here, but that will do well in pots and you can get fresh subtropical fruits in cold climates. So that's awesome.
So tell me a little bit. Now I know that there is a number of people here in North America that have been working really hard at helping to bring hybrid persimmons to North America. One of them that comes to mind is Cliff England. Can you tell us a little bit about him? To Cliff England, for anyone that has ever met Cliff or been to his place, knows that he's one of those generous amazing people you'll meet.
And I am convinced he has the largest collection of persimmon cultivars. And also pawpaw cultivars in the entire U. S., possibly the world. So Cliff is just an amazing person with an amazing place, and he has connections all around the world. So he has been collecting a lot of the hybrid persimmons over the years.
But in addition to that, he has been working, or did work with, a man from Louisiana State. University named David Laverne, who unfortunately passed a number of years ago. David, being down in Louisiana, was in a very warm climate where mostly Asian persimmons would grow. American persimmons will grow there, but since you can grow the Asian ones, most people are not spending much time on the American persimmons.
So David was a plant breeder, and he was Interested in making hybrid crosses between American persimmon and Asian persimmon. So he made these crosses, controlled crosses, by hand with pollen from one going to the flowers of the other. And he then found himself in a bind where he wanted to find... It would be cold hardy because why else would we cross the two, but he was in a very warm climate.
So he connected with Cliff England and Cliff and him had an agreement together where David would breed some of these crosses and send the seeds to Cliff. Cliff then grew them out. Hundreds and hundreds of them, probably thousands. I'm not certain numbers. I've seen his flats when I was down there of the seedlings.
And every year he'd have new ones. And then Cliff has a beautiful large farm and he set about just planting these seedlings out on an orchard rose. These seedlings I think are now probably the oldest ones are probably like 10 or 12 years old, maybe even older than that. And they're emotive. Many of them are bearing fruit.
Now, as you can imagine, many of them were male. And so. Those aren't going to make any fruit, but they could be useful for, further breeding. So, I think he's kept a number of males that might be useful, and I think he's grafted onto many of them just to make more productive space. But he has been seeing...
I'll go ahead. Yeah, so the result I'm guessing is going to be an incredibly
because you're growing these seedlings, the result it'll be incredibly diverse, different colors of fruit, for instance, different flavors. I'm sure are some of them not very tasty. What kind of diversity would you get?
Yes, I've been there when they write ripening, not for the whole season. I'd love to be fun to stay down there for a month and just watch them but He posts, if you want to go to his Facebook page, it's England's Orchard and Nursery. The website is nuttrees. net. He posts a lot of pictures as they're ripening.
You can get a lot of information there, but they are all over the place in terms of size and color and shape and flavor. Some are pretty bland, not. that exciting and some are just delicious. There's one down there that is very similar to the hachia type persimmons that you buy in the grocery store that are Asian.
They're just delicious. I have my favorites and there was one there that had that acorn shape and had that flavor and so I'm I have a graft of that I'm looking forward to start fruiting here. The other thing about his planting that is very interesting is that we had the polar vortex winter a handful years ago and his Orchard got down, I think, to negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the coldest they've gotten there in maybe history, I forget, but it was very singular event.
And while it was terribly sad for Cliff because he lost so many of his grafted trees, it also gave him the opportunity to see which ones were survivors of that sort of cold. So now he has, a known number of hybrid and I'm not sure a few Asian varieties made it through that as well, but mostly hybrid varieties that we know can take that sort of cold.
So it's an amazing thing happening there and we're just going to see more and more of those pop out of the woodwork as this orchard gets more mature.
So we've got an email from Paul. Paul is from Northern Michigan, zone 5A4B. So here's what Paul writes, been listening to the podcast. First time listening live.
Welcome, Paul. Thank you for tuning in. So Paul writes, heirloom apples have been my focus, but I've been growing a large variety of fruits. I've seen unspecified American persimmon cultivars sold at some local stores for wildlife purposes. If I decide to try persimmon, would it be better to graft a known cultivar?
Can you touch base on your method for grafting a little bit more? So, for instance, bench graft versus field graft, bud graft versus whip and tongue, sources of rootstock and scion wood. So that is from Paul in northern Michigan. All right. Yeah, I would be a little bit wary of buying the wildlife trees at the local nurseries.
They could be a variety that's very cold hardy, they could also be one that is less. Especially if they don't state the cultivar. So you're much better off finding ones that have done really well in colder zones, especially that are earlier ripening. And grafting them on... to American rootstock. So, the sources of these sources of rootstock are, there's many nurseries that sell seedling American persimmon rootstocks.
Your state nursery may in fact even have some. That's one place where a lot of hobbyists and backyard people get their rootstocks in our area. Indiana and Kentucky grow Thousands and thousands of persimmon seedlings and sell them through a DNR nursery program that subsidizes the purchase of trees, native trees for homeowners, landowners to plant.
So you can get them for like here as low as 30 cents a tree, but you buy them in bundles of 100. So they may be available in Michigan. I don't know for sure, but if not, there are many nurseries in Michigan that grow bare root trees that I believe have them. I would check with Alpha Nursery I've bought from in the past and had good luck with them.
Blanking on some of the other ones, but Michigan has a lot of nurseries going. So that's one thing. Another thing would be to order seeds or get seeds from somewhere. So there are some places that sell seeds and you could grow your own rootstocks, like in place where you want them, just plant the seeds in the fall.
Let them come up. And then one nice thing about that is you'll see if there's any of them that are very. sensitive to cold, they will die out over your winters and you'll know not to mess with those individuals. The remaining ones, will have gone through a winter or two before you graft them.
And so also you did, I don't know if you mentioned the types of grafting that would be most effective. So they were persimmons are actually very easy to graft. But like I said earlier, the most important thing is to wait till they have, wait till the rootstock has leafed out almost fully, in my opinion.
I think it has something to do with just being warm and having the rootstock be well woken up before it will fuse the graft. I tried grafting persimmons and even pawpaws when they were very dormant and had low success. And then I, my, one of my orchard mentors Donald Compton here, he talked about, you really want to wait till they've leafed out.
And I've done, I've had very little problem with that. I've done, I do mostly whip and tongue grafting for most of my grafts. I've done side veneer grafting works very well for them. Bud grafting works. I haven't done much of it because I don't mess with bud grafting as often. But they seem to really take.
So I would just try whatever technique you're comfortable with and the main thing is just wait until you have good growth on your rootstock and you have dormant sign wood in your refrigerator. So we've got another, oh sorry, we've got another email from Mark and this is on exactly that topic.
Mark again is from Quebec, Zone 4B in Canada. Okay he, so he says, I'm experimenting with persimmons and have mixed results. All grafted Meader and Meuller trees died, but their rootstocks are alive and kicking even after two minus 31 degrees Celsius winters in ground. Since the rootstocks are sending multiple suckers up, and those suckers are leafing out well, should I consider grafting the suckers?
with the female Meader and molar again? Or should he instead try some other cultivars? So basically he's saying, should I try again with the exact same cultivar just using the rootstock or is it a good idea to try a different cultivar if it didn't work the first time? I would say yes, and also try new ones.
And yes, it's totally fine and great to graft onto root suckers. Our whole three acre field is almost a giant network of persimmon roots, and so they come up whenever we don't mow and we have a forest. persimmons and they'll grow six feet tall in a single season. So I can let those go and I go out and I do field grafting onto them and have really good success.
So, but I would say Meader and Meuller are often talked about as being these cold hardy varieties, but I believe that there are many other varieties that are probably even more cold hardy than those. So I would say Meader Maybe try those again, but also try some others. And again, check with Buzz Ferver. He would have some of the best opinions I know on which ones have been working the best for him up there.
Now, another thing you might try, and it's just a risk and it takes a long time, but you might try leaving one sucker from each of your individual rootstocks to grow out on its own. They've shown you that they are code hardy. in your area. The question is whether they're all male or some of them will be female.
And then if they are female, will that fruit have time to ripen? It will be any good. But the interesting thing is a lot of persimmon rootstock that is grown is actually from improved cultivars. Because as you can imagine, people aren't going out and just gathering wild persimmons for seed, they're getting them from places that make persimmon pulp or grow commercial quantities of American persimmons, and they're going to be growing grafted grafted improved types.
So you're probably already growing something that genetically is much higher chance of being a quality fruit than just a random wild seedling. And if it's showing that it's cold hardy, I would say Yeah, we leave one of each of them and see what it does. Can't hurt. Such a great idea. Just give it a try.
We've got an email here from Oscar from New York. Oscar says, Hey, Susan, just writing to say hi. Thank you for putting out such great content. Enjoying another wonderful show. Oh, Oscar. That makes my heart sing. Thank you so much. I wanted to ask in terms of you said to leave, one sucker, let's see what happens.
Who does, will it produce fruit?
How long does it actually take to produce fruit on these persimmon plants? I had a whole bunch of comments on Facebook. One was from Becky in Southern Iowa. Becky writes, I have three persimmon trees that are probably 10 to 13 years old, and this is the first year I see fruit, so I'm excited.
So 10 to 13 years, really? Is that how long we have to wait? That's I'd say that's a pretty like on the end of the general window, they can produce as early as five to six years from sprouting from seed, but that's it's generally the rule of thumb for most fruits, including persimmon is seven years is when you can count on if they're growing well, and they feel like they want to make flowers and fruit.
So, that's probably when you'd be looking and you'd be wanting to look for not just for fruit, but look for the flower. All right. Because the male and female flowers are very different. And that's how you'll tell the sex of the tree. I see many people say, I've had this thing in the ground for, 15 years and it never makes fruit.
And I go out there and I see all
these little male flower stems that stay on the trees actually. So you can identify them.
I can identify them any season and tell you if it's male or female, if it's old enough to fruit. But you'll be able to tell and then you can say, oh, the male it's a male. Just go and graft onto that.
And then you'll get fruit now. So you said you're waiting a long time if it's a seedling. If you are to graft a branch onto that seedling tree, do we still have such a long wait until it produces fruit? How many years would we have to wait? No, just as in almost all fruits, grafting reduces the time to fruiting.
There's some kind of a genetic memory, time memory in that tissue that you're grafting that says, Oh, I'm a mature plant. So we've actually seen plants fruit from the graft the very first year. Sometimes there are flower buds on the shoots that are coming out. So sometimes the answer is one year. But most likely it's two to three years.
And it also depends on the cultivars. Some cultivars are very precocious.
There's one called 100 46, which is one Jerry Lehman bred, and that one seems to just make loads of big fruit on very young grafts, which actually can be a problem with breaking off branches and over working the, tree with how much fruit it's trying to make.
Oh wow, so you have to thin those I guess.
I must say grafting for me is a relatively new skill. I've created a course with Steph Roth of Silver Creek Nursery, and in the process I've learned to graft, our students have learned to graft, and it is so empowering to know how to propagate trees in that way, and it is so fun and addictive.
So there you go, if anybody wants to learn to graft, if I can do it, you can do it. And check out my course at Learn.OrchardPeople.Com you'll have fun. Be careful. Be careful. You might make it into a profession like I did. Oh my gosh. It is just too exciting when you see your grafts take, when you realize you just, you need to understand the science.
You just have to have some basic skills. And then once your confidence grows, it's I can do this. I can do anything. It's really fun. I'm gonna throw, we've got to have our contest in just a minute, but I want to throw in a few other comments that were from Facebook.
Kevin from Florida commented, Kevin grows all sorts of stuff, and he says, Persimmon season is the best.
Non astringents are amazing dried or on the grill too. My haves are, or my favorites, are Fuyu and Guillombo. And he says I marinate chunks with other veggies and put them on skewers. So good. Oh, my gosh, that sounds great. I would never have thought of that. Have you tried that? Because they're very subtle sweetness.
They'd be perfect with zucchini and other things. Yeah. Okay. So, so also Catherine has read my mind. I was going to ask. you, Darren. So I'm going to be putting up a video of this conversation with all the pictures you shared with me. And I was going to say, do you have an image of a male blossom?
Catherine read my mind and sent me an image, which is, I think a male blossom. I'll send it to you to confirm. So in hopefully in the video version, which folks will find on YouTube, I will have images of the blossoms. Do you have female blossom pictures too, Darren? that I can share. I might. They should be fairly readily available on the internet.
The main thing to know is the female blossoms will have a little tiny green persimmon in the middle of it, which is the ovary that hasn't been fertilized yet. And they are singular. So the female flowers are only one per stem. Male flowers look like little bells, almost like blueberry flowers, downward hanging bells, and they are in clusters of two to Four or five per stem.
Oh, okay. I'm going to send this picture. Catherine's pictures to you and we'll make sure that it is identified as the correct thing. Okay. Let's see if I can throw in one more comment that I really liked. Let's see. There were so many great comments here.
Isaac from Central New York writes, a good American persimmon has unparalleled flavor.
And Justin wrote to say, they're like a taste of autumn that you had no idea you were missing your entire life. Oh my gosh. I have to eat some. Yeah, they are. And they're right. The American persimmon, even though they're not as commonly used for fresh eating, they have an extremely distinct flavor. And it's got to me, it's got a little bit of hints of pump cooked pumpkin in it.
My first one I ate, I felt like I had these candies as a kid that were like little wax soda bottles that had orange. Very fake orange flavored syrup in them, and I don't know why, but they reminded me of that. They have a little bit of a citrus tone to them. They're pretty neat, but very messy.
So exciting. Okay something to discover for me in the future,
but it's time for our contest, and we do have a beautiful book as this month's prize. It's called Forage Harvest Feast, a wild inspired cuisine by Marie, and I'm probably mispronouncing her name. Phil Joanne valued at 38. 99. So Gary, will you help us with the contest today?
Will now Darren, all those wonderful listeners that wrote in, I put their names in a bucket and I'm going to shake the bucket. You'll be able to hear that. And you let me know when to stop and I'll pull out a name. Are y'all set? I'm ready. All right, let's do this.
All right, stop. All right. So let me grab one of these out. And by the way, the studio audience here very excited today. They're up on their feet right now. And I'm going to open. Yeah, I'm going to open this up and we will see who the winter is. Winter is and it looks like. Let's see who this is. It looks like Paul Holcroft from Michigan.
So Paul H, you are the winner and the audience is going crazy here, Susan. I can see Darren is also applauding. We're all... Super excited. So that's great. I think Paul, you, this is our new listener today. So that is so exciting to get the prize. Thank you, Gary, so much. So for our contest winner, we are going to email you, we'll get your address and you're going to get a copy of this book.
And I'm really interested to see it myself. It sounds like a really interesting. Reed Forage, harvest Feast, a Wild Inspired Cuisine, is what it's called.
So we're going to wrap up the show in just a minute, but before we do, I wanna say hello to the listeners that wrote me this month. Hello to you, Craig, Ken, Rita, Gail, and James.
Lovely to hear from you during the month. And I really want to thank you, Darren, for coming to join me on the show today. You are just a wonderful resource. You've got so much knowledge and passion about persimmons. And maybe you'll come back again and we can talk about them. I feel like there's more that we could explore in terms of the science and propagation.
What do you think? Would you come back again someday? I think I can do that. That sounds, there's so much more to know, Alfred Simmons, that's for sure. I think so. Thank you so much. And to all my listeners, I really appreciate you tuning in today and every time I do a show. So if you love this show, there are three things that you can do right now.
You can go to the Orchard People YouTube page. And subscribe, and that way every time I put out a new video, so all of these audio podcasts are going to be turned into videos with lots of images, every time I put out a new video you will be notified if you subscribe to my YouTube page, Orchard People YouTube page.
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So that's all for the show today. If you want to listen to it again or download other episodes, go to orchardpeople. com slash podcasts. That's all for now. I hope you'll join me again next month when we're going to dig into another great topic. I'll see you then. Bye for now. Thank
you for listening to the Urban Forestry Radio Show with your host Susan Poizner, right here on Reality Radio 101.

Creators and Guests

Susan Poizner
Susan Poizner
Author, fruit tree educator, and Creator of the award-winning fruit tree care education website OrchardPeople.com.
Hybrid Persimmons with Darren Bender-Beauregard
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