Persimmons & MedlarJoanie Cooper
Is a Persimmon or Medlar in your future? Or have you thought them too exotic for your yard or possibly too difficult to grow? Well, neither situation is true and the HOS spring event holds the opportunity for this wonderful fruit adventure
Some of you may have seen persimmons in the grocery store in the fall. Usually they have the oriental persimmon that is shaped like a pumpkin and has a beautiful orange color, ‘Fuyu. Only occasionally will you .nd the oriental persimmon ‘Hachiya, which is shaped like an acorn and when ripe has the same orange color. The best way to experience persimmons is to grow them yourself. They are a beautiful tree in your yard. Even when they lose their leaves in the fall the fruit hangs on so it looks like you have decorated your deciduous tree with little orange pumpkins.
We will have a few persimmon rootstocks available at our spring event. They will be ready to plant in the ground. Persimmons do not like to be moved so select your site and plant them out. (No interim time-outs in a pot.) Next comes the grafting of your selected variety onto that rootstock. We will have some scions available at the event. You will need to properly store the scions in your refrigerator until the weather turns warm – probably June. At that time you can graft your persimmon. (Because you have learned how to graft at our spring event, this will not be a problem.)
The medlar is easier to deal with, because you can graft it in the spring and you don’t have to plant it in your yard until the new graft has healed. The medlar is grafted onto a pear or quince rootstock. The rootstock and scions will be available at the spring show. This tree is a beautiful addition to any yard. When it blooms in the spring it is like having a magnolia tree blooming.
Medlar differs from other fruit trees in the way it is planted. For most fruit trees, it is recommended that you make sure the graft union stays well above the soil line. Medlar is the opposite. The union between the medlar and the rootstock is weak. Once the new graft has healed, plant your tree with the graft union below the soil line. Both the rootstock and the medlar will root and provide good support for the tree.