persimmon early harvesting to prevent squirrel damage

creekweb(6,7)November 7, 2011

With very heavy squirrel pressure this year I decided to pick a number of Asian persimmons much earlier than I usually do, at a stage while still green or just starting to change color and very astingent and so not yet appealing to the squirrels. I placed the unripe fruit in paper bags at room temperature and checked every few days for ripe fruit which I would then remove from the bags and refrigerate. This process is still underway, but I can conclude at this point that for the variety Saijo, this strategy has been an overwhelming success with 100% of the fruit ripening to a quality indistinguishable from tree ripened fruit. This early harvesting can cut overall losses from squirrel damage from significant to minimal. Would be interesting to see if the unripe fruit could be refrigerated for some time before ripening to extend the season. Some other varieties have shown varying abilities to ripen in the bags, but none like Saijo. So for those considering choice of Asian persimmon variety trees for the garden and who anticipate squirrel damage, Saijo may be the ticket.

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fabaceae_native

Wow, that's good to know. Also could be useful in marginal climates with a growing season that is not quite long enough.

By the way, what are the lowest temps Saijo has made it through? Have you experienced winterkill, and if so, at what temps?

Thanks a lot for the report...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 12:20PM
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strudeldog_gw

I have not tried picking the fruit in the full green state. So you had squirrel damage on green astringent fruit, or were you just testing to see if they would ripen from green? What other cultivars did you try this on, I have Saijo, as well as several cultivars. I have been so pleased with my Persimmon I purchased about 8 more cultivars last week. They are potted so I will probably wait until spring to plant them, but It would be good to know what cultivars ripen well before showing color. I avoided a couple cultivar becuase of their late ripening

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 2:41PM
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persimmonbob(6b)

Creekweb what kind of sq's do you have? I live deep in the woods full of these guys but i don't have a problem with sq's eating my asian persimmon or paw paw's or figs.Here is were i live.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 8:47PM
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Bradybb(wa8)

Yes,that is good to know.Saijo is the only Persimmon that Raintree Nursery can get to ripen.It's the one I will have.
Nice pictures persimmonbob.Brady

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:28PM
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persimmonbob(6b)

I grow Kiungsun ban si which i find just as good as Saijo, ripened just about the same as saijo. giombo i find to be another keeper This one might be a tad later..I ordered several tree's from England nursery for march shipment, including Royo Brillianti and a halve dozen others.I have about 30 asian growing on my hillside and some more scattered every where,same with paw paw's and figs. Winter is not a fun time for me because a lot of these tree's are better of in a warmer zone but sofar so good.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:59PM
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creekweb(6,7)

Saijo is known to withstand cold weather relatively well - I have had no winter dieback on my trees after January lows of -7.

My early harvesting was not intended to be an experiment; I was just trying to save some persimmons from the grey squirrels which were quickly stripping trees as their fruit began to ripen. If I had known that the outcome would have been notable, I would have approached this trial more rigorously to see how each variety under the same conditions ripened from green. As it is with such a hodgepodge of different ripening stages and varieties, I can only with certainty attest to Saijo's strong ripening tendency off tree. I will give you my impression though of the relative ability of some common varieties to ripen off tree:

Sheng will ripen from green, but they tend to dry out some and shrivel with some degradation of texture, and they are not as sweet as tree ripened fruit. This variety, similar to the nonastingents, is susceptible to squirrel damage while still green.

The Korean persimmons, Kyung sun bansi and Miss Kim, will ripen from yellow to a high quality ripened fruit. I don't know if they will ripen from green.

The nonastringent varieties and Hachiya, Smith's Best, and Okame ripen reasonably well once they've reached yellow.

I would not recommend Great Wall, Sung Hui, Maru or Rosseyanka for ripening off tree - these are better off dehydrated.

I still have Tamopan, Tanenashi and Tecumseh in ripening bags so the jury still out there.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 12:45AM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

Thanks for the info on Saijo, although the squirrels are running all around with the Hickory nuts and acorns, they have not bothered my fruit. Even so, I picked 150 Saijo in the yellow stage, left about 60 on the tree to find out how they do with the cold on Thursday and Friday, forecast down to 27 both nights. Will probably dry some of them.
Also have some Nikata's Gift, picked some to ripen indoors or to dry, and left some on the tree to see how the cold effects them.
Have you ever left any on the tree so see what low temperatures do to them?

Benny

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 10:34AM
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strudeldog_gw

Creekweb,

I see you post frequently on persimmon threads and appreciate your input. I have not had problems with squirrels yet, but then most of my trees are young and not producing yet, so maybe they just have not discovered they have a taste for them. My tree's are planted in a rural area, that has seemingly far fewer squirrels than suburban areas, but I am sure as my fruit plantings come into higher production, the population will increase. I notice all cultivars you listed are astringents. Do you grow nonastringents as well. I imagine your squirrels would select those first at least in the unripe state. I know cold-hardiness has been discussed on several threads prior and -7 F sounds very good. For me my low valley exposed microclimate on a late spring spell worries me more than the winter low. If you have a preference for astringents is that based on taste or growing issues. I happen to like both, but a nonastringent after it has developed good flavor and just prior to softening is hard to beat. My family just doesn't seem to like the texture of a astringent, so I will probably end up drying a bigger percentage of them.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 3:15PM
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olga_6b

Here squirrels didn't touch persimmons for many years only to discover them this year. After they discovered them, there is no way to keep them off. The same with racoons.
My sister who has many persimmon trees tried netting, tangle feet, repellent sprays, etc. Nothing really worked. She trapped a number of squirrels and racoons, but there are always new ones to come.
They didn't discover my persimmons yet. I am planning to put some caging around my trees next year.
Olga

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 5:03PM
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creekweb(6,7)

The freezing temperature of persimmons is somewhere around 27F and I have seen some mild changes in the fruit after exposure to temps in the high 20's but it usually takes temperature exposure in the low 20's to cause major changes. When the fuit is frozen and thawed the cellular structure is damaged and the pulp loses its texture. On the plus side, it does reduce the astingency.

Yes I do grow nonastringent persimmons, and you guessed right - they are highly prone to squirrel damage where squirrel pressure is high. The astingent persimmons offer a very neat inherent deterent, but the squirrels know when it fades and will quickly strip a tree if the fruit is not harvested preemptively.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 12:47AM
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mk-in-ohio

Creekweb, how did the Tamopan, Tanenashi and Tecumseh end up ripening in the bags?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 9:32AM
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creekweb(6,7)

Those persimmons did not ripen well in the bag, but those ripening on the tree were not really so tasty either. Tamopan is an impressive looking persimmon, large with this unusual band on the top, but just doesn't taste so good. Tanenashi is also very mediocre. The Tecumseh tree is vigorous and it sets fruit well, but they ripen late and really weren't so good either. With the early start to the season this year maybe the Tecumsehs will be better.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 12:10AM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

I have never tasted Tamopan, but as I said before on this forum, Tanenashi is the worst tasting Kaki I have ever eaten, not worth growing in my opinion.

Benny

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:47AM
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indicente

Tanenashi is not good producer in my area, as I talked to several growers. But I have seen different looking Tanenashi from different sources.Maybe not the same plant material. But seems to be pretty cold hardy in zone 6.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 1:14PM
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mk-in-ohio

Will Nikita's Gift ripen off the tree?

Thanks,
MK

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:53PM
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indicente

MK,

yes, Nikita can be ripen off the tree. Last year I took several unriped fruits from tree and let them ripe in plastic bag with apples. It took fruits about one week to ripe and soften. But I am not sure that I understood your question.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 9:12AM
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mk-in-ohio

Indicente -

Thanks for the response. I was just wondering if, like Saijo, I could pick Nikita's Gift early to avoid squirrel damage. Were you happy with how the Nikita's Gift ripened in the bag?

Looks like Benny may have tried this last fall.

MK

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 10:42AM
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indicente

MK,

yes, I was satisfied with the ripening and fruits also tasted good, very sweet, soft and almost gelatinous. Only disadvantage was- more riped fruit were more cracks on fruit skin happened. Probably too fast ripening. So they were not durable and could not be stored after "artificial ripening" for a long time. For specification, I took hard fruits off tree.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:01PM
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indicente

But I took off tree, when they were orange coloured,hard, but not green.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 1:09PM
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bennylafleur(6 E. Tn.)

Last year I picked Nakita's Gift and let some ripen and dried some. Most of the fruit that I allowed to ripen turned a black color on one side, the skin gets rough, and the pulp inside next to the black area was not good. The rest of the fruit tasted good. Must be some kind of disease.
The dried fruit were excellent, seems like the astringency goes away after only a 3-4 hours of drying, even though they are not completely dried. They ended up tasting like candy, much better than the Saijo that I dried, but to be fair, the entire crop of Saijo did not seem to taste as well as what I remember a Saijo should taste like.
that was my first attempt at drying persimmon, and I don't think that I dried them as much as they were supposed to be, about 12 hours, but I kept them in the freezer and they were very good eating through the winter.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 2:06PM
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mk-in-ohio

Thanks Indicente & Benny, that is really helpful. I appreciate you both taking the time to give good details.

Benny - in an earlier post you said you left some on the tree to see how the cold would affect them. How did that turn out?

MK

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 6:02PM
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creekweb(6,7)

Benny, as I recall, you repeated the trial of ripening Saijo off tree but got somewhat different results than I did. Am I right? I wonder whether yours were at a less advanced stage of ripeness when picked.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 4:50AM
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