[NAFEX] Exploring the limits of kaki persimmon cold-hardiness (long)

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Sat Nov 26 21:58:01 EST 2005

*Jerry signed off: "Where kaki can't be grown. :-("*
*Jerry, I'm still hopeful for you, as below.*
*We've heard on this list of folks fruiting Hana Fuyu in PA.  I'm
interested  in knowing who, beyond Jerry, has tried fruiting kakis in Zone
4-5, which cultivars have died, and importantly, which are survivors. *
*This from Lee Reich, Uncommon Fruits, 1st Ed:*
*"Most available kaki cultivars are cold hardy to about zero degrees
F....(suitable for growing in USDA Hardiness Zones 7-10).  Cold-hardiness
for any given cultivar is enhanced if growth is not overly lush and the soil
is well drained.  The species may even be as cold-hardy as is the American
persimmon.  In China, kaki have been grown on the edge of the Gobi desert,
where temperatures drop below -15 F, and trees tolerate similar cold in
Korea.  The dryness of these regions may contribute to the plants'
cold-hardiness.  Cultivars planted outside the Orient have originated mostly
in Japan where tolerance to extreme cold is not needed." (italics mine)*
*My personal observation of old kaki trees at a Buddhist temple in the
mountains of Korea give me hope that Lee is right here.*

*Several additional reasons for hope for Jerry (and me):*
*Clifford England has killed many kakis cultivars at their nursery in the
mountains of eastern Kentucky, including most all of what are commonly
sold .  They are selling two that work: Shin Na Da and Hokkaido, that are
multiyear survivors and bearers under their conditions.  See www.nut
trees.net  I put in a tree of each last year.*
*Robert Hamilton referred to Adam and Sue Turtle's kaki trial, in true NAFEX
fashion.  As I remember it from Adam, while at a SFF meeting in Florida,
Adam collected the seeds other kaki tasters were discarding, brought them
all home and planted 100s out in a bed.  Most have been killed in their TN
location, but a few have survived and thrived.  These are on their own
roots, so even if they freeze to the ground, could come back.  Adam highly
recommends planting all grafted kakis above the graft unions.*
*From Mike McConkey, Edible Landscaping, www.eat-it.com, for the kaki Hira
Tanenashi: "When fully dormant has stood -40 Siberian cold in northern
Japan, but because of the East Coast's fluctuating springtime temps and late
frosts, I do not recommmend Hira where there are -10 winters."*
*Another NAFEX member has a kaki that buds out very late, perhaps the most
important trait for my eastern US conditions.  Am trying this one as well as
the ones McConkey recommends for eastern US. *
*Lucky Pittman is trialing a number of kakis as well, in South Central KY.
Feel free to weigh in on this topic, Lucky.*
*In summary, Lee makes a compelling case for kaki germplasm that should
survive for Jerry in IN, the trick is finding those cultivars adapted
to eastern and midwest conditions.*
*(Greg Reighard and Jerry Payne, in a paper on Sudden Death in kaki
persimmons, discourage large scale commercial plantings, until more is known
about this malady.)*
*Feel free to counter, confirm or add to what's above, especially if you
have a kaki that survives below zero temps.*
*Richard Moyer*
*East Tenn, 1800', Zone 6*
*Saijos tonight, imported from Georgia.    *
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