how many different varieties and why?

cousinfloydApril 23, 2012

I've just started grafting (and buying) kaki persimmons, and I'm wondering if there are any reasons to keep expanding or if one astringent variety and one non-astringent variety is really enough. I can see planting lots of different varieties in order to see which does best for me, but once I figure that out am I going to want anything else? Is there really any difference in eating quality between different kaki persimmons? What about with fruit trees in general? Why do those of you that have 20 different apples or 10 different peaches, etc. have so many different cultivars? I can see wanting early and late varieties, good keeping varieties, etc. I can see maybe wanting to have a more reliable variety alongside a less reliable but outstanding tasting variety. I can see that some varieties might be better for fresh eating versus various forms of processing. Obviously cross-pollination is a reason for diversity. How many of you go for lots of diversity and how many of you just plant lots of your favorites? I'm curious about general thoughts and about persimmons and pawpaws, in particular.

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Sorry Cousinfloyd, I don't grow persimmons or pawpaws, but I do love growing plums. I hate to admit is but having only an acre of land I do have four different plums (all self pollinating) so I went for different varieties. My four apples are for cross-pollination but I did need that extra pink fleshed apple just for 'pink' applesauce. Just had to have a yellow and white peach. And what is an orchard without a sour cherry, apricot and combo pear? 17 trees later I am very happy. Having a private, small backyard orchard is a luxury. It takes time, a lot of work, expensive sprays etal. Add over 100 berry plants to the tree mixture and you have a passion for growing fruit. Ain't it great! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 12:09AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Sounds like a wonderful deal MrsG.I'd like to have an acre to plant on.I indeed need to start being very selective with the space left. Brady

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 12:48AM
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1 acre would be pretty awesome. My backyard is 62x30 feet.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:05AM
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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

Here are some good reasons:

1) as you say, to extend your harvest with early and late varieties
2) because you never know which ones are really good and worthwhile until you grow them yourself
3) collecting
4) amateur breeding
5) because variety is the spice of life :)

Of course it can get out of hand, I ended up with 850 varieties of apples. I know it's not for everyone but I am doing some apple breeding for fun. And I need lots of apples for our cider production.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:53AM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

My apple orchard is based on the harvest date and taste. I have over ten different apple varieties that have harvest dates from June till late October. My intent is to have tree ripe apples every month.

The down side to this plan is it is very difficult to keep up with the spray and care program.

Add to that peaches, pecans, plums, bananas, pineapple, oranges, lemons, and satsuma you can see, it pushes this old mind to keep up with the "How to" on all of this but it is still fun.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 7:09AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Floyd, I don't find a lot of taste or harvest time difference in pawpaws and persimmons so there is less of a reason to grow lots of different kinds of them. Still, I do some of Axel's #2 with them, I don't know which ones are the best for me so I grow several.

In general I grow lots of varieties for reason #2, I'm not interested in collecting but want to find out what works for me; there is not a lot of experience in growing unusual fruit varieties in my area so its a fun adventure. For apples there are many radically different varieties out there so there is more of a reason to grow more of them; thats why I have the most apples. So far my favorite "apple discovery" is a variety called Abbondanza, its very obscure but the thing lives up to its name of "abundant" (In Italian I think), cranking out a huge crop year after year. It has few pest problems and has a very unique rose-like flavor that I love. Every year when I bit into a ripe Abbondanza I remember why I am growing all these strange varieties.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:34AM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

I once heard about a disease (addiction) called "just one more variety". I have about 200 persimmon and pawpaw trees, mostly small, some in pots, a few producing, only about 40 or 50 grafted so far. Have a small amount of hand pollinated seeds of both to grow this year.
Cousinfloyd, I mainly want varieties to extend the season, some persimmons for drying, finding out which taste good to me, some breeding of hybrid persimmon, will graft different varieties of 90 chromosome persimmon to determine which can produce without a pollinator, and with more trees I will get plenty to eat sooner than waiting for one tree to mature.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:36AM
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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

Yes, just one more does it every time. It's the 'I gotta have this one' syndrome. Unfortunately there is no known cure and apples like abondanza, sinta, transparante de croncels, doctor Matthews and coconut crunch doesn't help either. :) Since I love apples I ended up as the NAFEX apple chair.

My persimmon tree is still small but you can be sure I will be grafting to it in the coming years. I got sold on persimmons when I tasted some dried ones.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:55AM
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One symptom that seems to only affect my garden is that a variety that performs well for me one year doesn't necessarily perform well the next. I figure that if I grow a few varieties together, each year somebodies going to be the winner. It just isn't the same one each year.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:16AM
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My problem is the price cut off. If you order 8 it costs the same as ordering 26. I have 70 ac so space is not a factor. My son has a 4 ac field to mow so he will take all the extra trees. Gramp started this by selling on the Boston market, first biggest and best made money. Last sunday his great great grand daughter planted her first tree.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

Raven, just learn how to graft. Rootstock is only $1/tree.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Axel and anyone else that dries persimmons, what kinds do you dry and how (native/non-astringent/astringent kaki)? I had some dried kaki persimmons given to me last fall that were very good, but I'd like to know what type of persimmon and at what stage they were dried.

And another general question, what are your favorite kaki persimmon varieties and why?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 2:31PM
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Well I thought I was going to be able to report better on different Kaki more this year beyond the ones that have already fruited for me, but that cold spell a couple weeks ago may alter it to those surviving late spring cold when in active growth as opposed fruit based. I had about 6 cultivars that were blooming and hopefully fruiting for me this year for the first time beyond the ones that had fruited past years. I have about 40 Kaki trees in the ground comprised of about 18 cultivars and about 5 additional cultivar grafted onto the trees just this spring. Several of the cultivars were new trees just planted this spring as well. Right now most all of them are total froze back brown and playing the wait and see game. It did not even get that cold probably not below 29 F. My oldest trees are 4th/5th? Year and had never shown much damage prior and have seen single digit when fully dormant. It was not just my Kaki hit Hardy Kiwi, Bunch Grapes, Muscadines, Jujube, Chestnuts, Carpathian walnuts, Pecan, Butternuts, Mulberry, Heartnuts etc... all had serious damage and that's not even touching on the fruits lost on blueberry, sour cherry peach etc... I can deal with a year loss of fruit as luckily this is hobby and not income for me, but losing plants really hurts. I think everything beyond the Kaki will shake it off and many of those plants are hardy 3 zones lower than me. But it really makes a point about areas that are prone to inconsistent spring weather when you lose plants that others are growing multiple zones colder.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 5:00PM
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