Persimmon Scion & Rooststock Selection
Persimmon in California > Rootstock & Scion Selection
Seeds from mature trees or cuttings are used for rootstocks. Three common rootstocks grown in California are: Diospyros lotus, D. kaki, and D. virginiana. D. lotus is the most common rootstock and is compatible with most commercial cultivars. It tolerates a wide range of soils, produces uniform seedlings, grows vigorously, resists drought, and produces a fibrous root system that transplants easily (LaRue et al., 1982).
D. lotus is tolerant to Armillaria, but susceptible to crown gall and Verticillium and does not tolerate poorly drained soils (Hartman et al., 2010). D. kaki produces long taproots with few fibrous laterals. Seeds from this variety produce uniform and vigorous seedlings, which is desirable for rootstock propagation (LaRue et al., 1982).
D. kaki is resistant to Agrobacterium and Armillaria but susceptible to Verticilium (Hartman et al., 2010). D. virginiana has a fibrous root system tolerant of both drought and excess moisture, however trees propagated on this rootstock are not uniform and are prone to suckering (LaRue et al., 1982). For more information about common rootstocks, standard cultivars and harvest periods by location please refer to “Growing temperate tree fruit and nut crops in the home garden and landscape: varieties for planting in the home garden” (pdf)
Persimmon fruits are classified into two groups based on their astringency at harvest: astringent or non-astringent. Astringent cultivars develop water soluble tannins throughout the flesh of the fruit until the fruit is harvested. Non-astringent cultivars stop accumulating tannins at an early stage of fruit development. In cultivars and regions where pollination is required, persimmon fruits are further classified by flesh color in response to pollination (Yamada et al., 2012). The flesh color of pollination-constant cultivars is not influenced by pollination, whereas pollination-variant cultivars have dark flesh around the seeds when pollinated. Persimmon fruits are commonly classified, based on astringency and flesh color in response to pollination, using the following four groups:
- pollination constant non-astringent (PCNA)
- pollination variant non-astringent (PVNA)
- pollination constant astringent (PCA)
- pollination variant astringent (PVA)
‘Hachiya’ and ‘Fuyu’ are the most desirable and popular cultivars grown in California.
Pollination variant astringent cultivar ‘Hachiya’
Fruit is oblong and conical in shape with a deep orange to red color when ripe. The flesh of unripe fruit is soft and astringent due to high concentrations of tannins. When it is fully ripe, ‘Hachiya’ fruit loses this astringency and becomes sweet and edible (Morton, 1987). ‘Hachiya’ trees grow better in cooler areas, are typically heavy bearing and should be planted in solid blocks without pollinators to produce seedless fruit (LaRue, 1982).
Pollination constant non-astringent cultivar ‘Fuyu’
Fruit is flat and squarish-round with an orange to red color. The flesh is firm and non-astringent when the fruit is ripe. ‘Fuyu’ fruit keeps well and is excellent for packing and shipping (Morton, 1987). ‘Fuyu’ trees produce only female flowers and fruits without pollination. However, if another persimmon variety with male flowers is present, cross pollination may occur, producing fruit with seeds. ‘Fuyu’ trees grow better in warmer areas, and have an upright and vigorous growth habit which is easy to train and maintain (LaRue, 1982). For a list of different persimmon varieties grown in California please refer to Persimmons for California (pdf).