GREEN PERSIMMONS

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.