GREEN PERSIMMONS

Post last updated: October 21st, 2019

Always, I have suspected that the squirrels were responsible for my persimmons disappearing from the tree before the fruit ripened.

persimmons green-6229
green persimmons

However, it didn’t make sense because an unripe persimmon is bitter and astringent. That means it causes soft organic tissues to contract. In other words, Momma washing your mouth out with soap can’t compare to a green persimmon turning your mouth inside out. That being the case, you can understand why I questioned the possibility of squirrels raiding my persimmon tree. As I’ve seen them around the yard feasting on other edibles, none of them appear to have a stainless steel mouth.

I had a bumper crop of persimmons this year and I asked my brother, known here as Bubba, to fashion a prop that would help support the tree. The weight of all those persimmons had caused the branches to drop down to the ground. I reasoned that a prop would raise the branches off the ground making a persimmon raid a greater challenge for the squirrels or whatever critter was stealing me blind.

Bubba quickly built a prop from boards he found in Poppie’s garage.

persimmon tree prop
persimmon tree prop

A few days later, I happened to be staring out my bedroom window, for no particular reason, and caught a squirrel jumping up onto one of the lower limbs, extracting a persimmon from my tree, and scampering off with it. Now it was fact rather than suspicion.

Zorro has been no help with the squirrels.

Zorro
Zorro in the liriope

This photo of Zorro was taken July 30th. I chose not to show the other half of him because his seal point color is coming in here-and-there. Poor thing has two dark patches on each hip. You should see his feet! If they get any bigger, he’ll be able to wear my shoes. It’s tempting to take a ruler to his clodhoppers but I don’t want to give him a complex.

Young and energetic, Zorro hides in that liriope and chases anything that moves. Anything. Most of the lizards around here have stubby tails and the odd snake or two fares no better. Just last week, he pestered a Black Racer snake so bad that the snake looked like a cartoon character with an overly wide open mouth aimed at striking Zorro. But chase a squirrel? I have seen Zorro chase one squirrel. Useless cat.

I suppose the best I can hope for is a bunch of squirrels with their mouth turned inside out!

OTHER REASONS FOR FRUIT LOSS

In addition to critters making off with your green persimmons, fruit drop also occurs in persimmons. Fruit drop happens when:

  • the tree is getting too much or too little water (mulch!)
  • the tree is getting too much or too little fertilizer (DO NOT fertilize while the tree is bearing fruit — too much nitrogen)
  • it may be a young tree
  • it might shed a large crop it does not have the ability to ripen, or parthenocarpy may be the issue. Parthenocarpy is when fruit is produced without fertilization (pollination) and no seed is produced. Bananas, figs, navel oranges and persimmons can produce fruit without fertilized seeds.
  • it may bear in alternate years because of all the energy required to bear fruit
Persimmon tree heavy with fruit
Photo taken October 3, 2019 — this is the heaviest crop I’ve seen on this tree; it dropped a third of its green fruit. Next year will probably be the alternate year when it takes a rest.

You can read an overview on some of these here:

To get fruit that hangs on until it ripens, choose a pollinator variety such as the ‘Fuyu’ persimmon and plant it nearby so that you have two persimmon trees.

24 thoughts on “GREEN PERSIMMONS”

  1. Didn’t know you had persimmons. What do you do with them if the critters let any get ripe? Persimmons and ice cream? Persimmon jelly? Persimmon cobbler? Persimmon face cream? Persimmon oil bath? Or do you set up a persimmonade stand?

      1. That’s how many we had last year — two. I put them in the refrigerator and promptly forgot all about this. They shriveled up and died. Poor things.

        1. Shame on you, Lambskinny! The squirrels leave you TWO persimmons and you let ’em shrivel. Next time, put them right in front by the milk or something. I love the taste of persimmons. We had heavy rains recently and a bunch of little one-inchers are now on the ground.

  2. Since they can not eat them, I wonder what the squirrels are doing with them.
    Are they building a secret compost pile for you?
    Cute picture of Zorro even if he is useless about squirrel hunting.

    1. Meta – I don’t know that they CAN’T eat them. It just seems unlikely. I’m in favor of a compost pile if it turns their mouth inside out but, again, it’s unlikely they’d put all of them in one spot. Found a dead mole on the driveway today. Now you KNOW that was Zorro or the other two cats. I wish they’d take up squirrel hunting.

  3. I am not sure squirrels have taste buds. Or at least they lack the sour-tasting buds. I grow Asian persimmons. One is astringent, the other non-astringent. So far the squirrels leave them alone. Maybe they don’t recognize them for what they are, or maybe they just prefer to support American products.

  4. I loved this update and I love that cat. He likes to harass reptiles not squirrels, you nut. He is so pretty. I’m glad he’s giving those snakes the devil. I think Zorro Z-kitty is a keeper but don’t bequeath him to me.

  5. Maybe the squirrels think the persimmons are nuts and they are “squirreling” them away for later? Frustrating!
    Zorro is a beaut! That black racer snake story sounds a bit scary, though.

  6. Oh no! Too bad they are eating the persimmons, and green ones, too! I have something eating my ground cherries, and I can’t figure out what. I wouldn’t put it past my squirrels, those rascals. I’m very impressed with your lion-hearted young cat! We have a Black Racer around that’s easily over 6 feet long, and I can’t imagine a cat taking him on!

  7. As is often the case, I am behind the times in catching up on many of your posts – did you get any persimmons this year?

    1. Priss – one of the persimmon trees is near death, I fear, but the other one is thriving. It was absolutely LOADED with persimmons this spring and the fruit was enjoyed by the squirrels before it ever ripened. I just hope it turned their stomachs inside out.

      1. Thanks for the very best information. I am currently having the same problem with my 3 five year old persimmon trees that just 1 day I found out that all their green fruits were disappearing. They were full of fruits and I had not had this problem years before until now. I also thought who would have eaten the green fruits as they are not tasty at all?? My husband says that the squirrels eat them and even takes the branches from the fruit, too, but I didn’t believe it much. I searched the Internet for clues then I found your post. Yes, I hope the fruits are turning their stomach inside out too. 😂

        1. Kim — If you lived out in the woods, you could open the bathroom window, ease your pellet gun out the window and eliminate those persimmon-stealing monsters. In subdivisions, though, you can’t pull hi-jinks like that because you never know how far the pellet ammo is going to go if you miss. Plus, its kinda illegal in many states to have a year-round elimination program. That’s why your program has to have a stealth feature like the bathroom window. 🙂 Oh yeah, those monsters will eat your entire pecan crop, too.

  8. Thank you all for enlightening me. I thought it was a human stealing my green persimmons because the sneaky critters don’t leave a trace. I’m going with the nut theory and hope the green persimmons tear their stomachs open.
    Love the picture of Zorro; maybe he can still learn to hunt squirrels

    1. Xiomara — Yes, those miserable squirrels are sneaky critters. I had another bumper crop this year but fruit drop got 3/4th of it. Happened all at once. As for Zorro, he came in the house when the temps hit the 90’s and has refused to go back outside. Like I said, he’s useless.

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