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persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Posted by creekweb 6,7 (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 21:35

Tallying up the damage to my persimmon trees over the past winter. Have waited to this point since some of the trees have been very slow to bud out, but I think that the call can be made on all of them at this time. The past winter here as in many other places was unusually cold but the real damaging event was the night in January when temps fell to -11 or -12F. There was no significant snow cover here.

The trees that I protected that night with tarps and heat sources sustained enough damage that they will not fruit this year, but the size of and the prospects for the trees remain unchanged.

Trees on lotus rootstock, which suffered severe dieback, all were lost.

Unprotected trees on virginiana rootstock either sustained severe dieback or died back to the rootstock. Varieties surviving with severe dieback were 20th century, Fuyu, Honan Red, Giombo, Smith's Best, Tecumseh, Nikita's Gift, Eureka. Unprotected varieties on virginiana not surviving were Hana Fuyu, Ichi ki kei jiro, Korean, Saijo, Tam Kam and Maekawa Jiro .

Most trees with severe dieback have had robust recovery, some with 6 feet of growth, 3 foot laterals and 1 foot sublaterals, but some have first budded as late as July 1 and so have had only modest regrowth to this point.

The hybrid Rosseyanka showed no dieback and is cropping normally. I lost one mature grafted virginiana, NC10. I have never heard that this one was less cold hardy than the others, and while I doubt that it is, I will replace it with a different early variety.

My biggest and really only major loss was severe dieback to a mature 20th Century that will take about 5 years to recover.

A few things that I draw from this is that in zone 6 (I also have a persimmon orchard in zone 7 which had mild dieback and poor cropping but no significant damage to any of the trees) I will keep my kakis to 8 or 9 feet height and have a tarp, wire and heat source ready if needed for each tree at risk, to be used if temps are forecasted to drop below -7F. I will graft low, not only to keep down the total height of the tree, but I found that in the event that there is severe dieback, those trees grafted lower are more likely to survive. Immediate regrowth can save up to 2 years in waiting to restore the tree compared to regrafting the rootstock.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 23:08

creekweb:

Great report!! I have nothing to add other than 23F after growth begins is about like below zero in dormant period. I lost all small wood on Eureka this spring. It is regrowing strongly. Don't know if it will crop next yr.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Creek

My Nikita's Gift and Ichi recovered nicely after -17F. I protected the Ichi with wrapping and still got half died back. The NG without any protection and all the small blanches died back to the trunks. Ichi growing back fast.

Tony


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Alex,

How is your Tam Kam doing? How low was the temp in your area this past winter?

Tony


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 10:59

I didn't protect (beyond their natural planting positions) any of my persimmons last winter and hit -3 degrees.

Ichi Ki Kei Jiro #1- a 2nd year tree in a somewhat protected, about 10' from a tall stone retaining wall, it died back to the rootstock. The rootstock is back to about 4' tall.

Ichi Ki Kei Jiro #2- a potted 2nd year tree, in an open air location next to the house (North side). It came through fine, which seems a bit strange, as I've heard that potted plants can take 1-2 zones off hardiness. I suppose it only reduces the hardiness of the roots, and since the rootstock is pretty hardy, it wasn't a problem. It's good that I complained last year about the size of the IKKJ Starks sent me- otherwise I wouldn't have this backup to graft from next spring.

Tam Kam- 3rd year tree, in a not too protected spot (sheltered from wind by being ~12' from house and 15-20' from the tall retaining wall). It came out completely fine and may fruit for the first time this year (some haven't dropped yet).

Izu- 2nd year tree, about 4' from a South facing retaining wall. It came through fine.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

  • Posted by lkz5ia z5 west iowa (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 12:18

All mine are small trees, my great wall and rosseyanka look like they died below graft, yates some damage, prok went through winter fine. -16F was the lowest temp, but ground was like permafrost, toasted all my pawpaws.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Pretty severe dieback on my TamKam. Not sure what the lowest temperature was, I think between -5 and -10, but the big difference was that we got several nights that cold. In past winters it has made it through -5 with no damage at all I thought it was dead, but it sent out new shoots from wood about 5/8" in diameter, so maybe 3 or 4 year old wood. It made one flower this year, and that one dropped. The big challenge for me will be pruning this mess into a reasonable structure...the new shoots are growing out in clusters, a lot of them going straight up like water sprouts.

Alex


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Alex,

My Ichi from the above photo had lots of small branches also. I will let it grows wild this year and re-shape it next april.

Tony


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

I only started grafting persimmons 3 years ago so I don't have any named varieties old enough to fruit. I'm in 7A and we too had an unusually cold winter, but it also followed a major cicada hatch. I had a lot of branches die due to cicada damage.

I have two mature native females. Both are producing fruit but the crop seems lighter than normal.

I was expecting the first fruits on my grafted trees in their third leaf. They were just grafted with native scions from the mature trees. I got none and I attribute that to the added stress of the cicadas and perhaps the cold winter.

I have a Prok and 100-45 that are in their second leaf this year. They had not leafed out when the cicadas were active and as a result were not damaged. They show no signs of damage from the winter.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

  • Posted by skyjs z8 OR, USA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 17:45

I didn't have any persimmon damage but i had some on other trees. I'm in a very mild climate 8b-9a but it was relatively cold for us too.
John S
PDX OR


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Tony, I agree with your approach to regrowth, leaving the pruning until next spring. I can't cite any science to back me up on this, but I think that with essentially the entire loss of the tree that maximizing the number of new leaves will best refortify the tree with energy to maintain vigorous growth next season. It would be nice if the kakis could be grown as bushes with multiple trunks, but I believe they'll self prune and ultimately retain only one trunk, so In early spring I'll preempt the inevitable and prune to one trunk. The other reason for currently keeping the multiple trunks is that often on some the tops get pruned off (by birds?) arresting growth. Keeping multiple trunks increases the odds that at least one will not meet that fate.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Jack

The 12ft tall Nikita's Gift growing strong again. Remember to email me in August.

Today


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 0:56

Creekweb,

When you say "kakis...retain only one trunk", does this also apply to the virginiana rootstock itself? I've been letting my IKKJ's rootstock grow out from several shoots shoots and was thinking about making it an open centered (where the old trunk was) multi-graft, grafting different types to each shoot.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

Like many other trees but even more aggressively, persimmons, if left on their own after a severe pruning, will eventually pare down the many shoots that grow to one main trunk. Once one trunk becomes dominant it can shade out the others, and the tree will respond by cutting them off. But even so, persimmons can be multi-grafted so long as the management includes preventing dominance of one of the grafts and providing adequate light and space for each grafted section - higher maintenance than I'd really like to deal with. If, say, for space considerations you'd like a multi-grafted persimmon tree, it would be safer to use kaki as an interstem, as it is less likely to self prune, than to make use of the multiple virginiana shoots growing up from your rootstock.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 0:32

The risk with the kaki interstem is that it could die if I get a tough winter and take the whole tree with it. Maybe I should pick the best virginiana shoot, then nip the top to get it started on side branches, which I could then graft to. How hard is persimmon to graft, compared to apple or peach? I've mostly grafted apple and pear, but I've had at least a little success with peach and mulberry as well.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

The risk that would most concern me with constructing a multigrafted persimmon with a virginiana rootstock and a kaki interstem is kaki sudden death syndrome and the inevitable loss of all the time and effort that went into the project. If KSD takes out a single grafted tree, that's one thing, but when it takes out a whole group of grafts, it's so much worse. I think you can lessen that risk by using proven rootstock and proven scionwood but that may be hard to come by.

If you used a hardy kaki variety like Great Wall as the interstem, I don't think you'd increase the risk much of cold related injury for the kaki scions.

If you did decide to multigraft the virginiana directly, you'd be better off grafting to the shoots coming off the main trunk than grafting to laterals, as these would be more prone to self-pruning.

Persimmon is fairly easy to graft so long as you have good quality scionwood and a vigorous rootstock.


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RE: persimmon winter damage '13 - '14

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 2:38

Thanks Creekweb. I'll think it to the best trunk (or 2 trunks for safety) now and graft next spring.


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