Persimmon protection, Saijo persimmon hardiness, and deer

My thoughts all over the place due to lack of sleep, so forgive me! We had a hard frost on Monday really nailed my kaki persimmon trees, hopefully they’ll be fine. They were lush and green, now all the leaves are dead and falling off. No fall color this year.

Now my thoughts go to winter protection, this is the first winter I’ve had persimmons. I’m in Zone 6b, last 2 winters have bottomed out at -1F. I’m definitely going to protect my Tam Kam to be safe. Emulating Tony I’ll use a tomato cage wrapped in burlap, stuffed with leaves and a tarp/pot on the top; no lightbulb though. Not sure if I will protect the Saijo since I grafted it at 4’ tall, it will be tricky to do. Anecdotally I have seen Saijo listed as zone 5 hardy, can anyone vouch for this? If so, I see no reason to protect it. I also will try to figure something out for the IKKJ/Izu multigraft, but it’s an awkward shape.

Any advice for overwintering American Persimmon seedling/young trees? I was just going to put them in my garage. Shed would be easier, but it’s metal and on a sunny day it gets HOT even in winter. Other option is to put them under the eaves behind my garage (north facing) and heel in with some mulch.

I have never seen this mentioned anywhere but it turns out deer will strip all the leaves off kaki and hybrid persimmons. Nikita’s Gift and my kaki multigraft were defoliated weeks ago by those #$@%&! With a couple thousand acres of woods all around, they sure love my yard…poor plum, persimmon, apple, and serviceberry.


Just for completeness, they’ll eat the leaves off of American persimmon as well. They even walked onto my covered wooden deck attached to my house to do so.

I’m in the same general area, and also had a light frost 2 days back, and am also on my first year of fruit trees. So, I’d also appreciate someone explaining overwintering to me like I’m 5.

Is now the time to start wrapping? The frost does seem to have convinced my persimmons to drop their leaves (oddly, the pomegranates are holding on to theirs). I assume you want the tree to go dormant first.

My plan in future winters is not to wrap, but I’m willing to give a helping hand while they’re still getting established.

Hi all,

I usually wait until the trees go into a dormant state sometime in the middle November then wrap them up. Kelby, since you are in Zone 6b and planning to wrap the Tam Kam without the light bulb then that will be fine. In regard to the Ichi and Saijo grafts, you can leave them alone for now. If the temp is going to drop below zero this coming Winter then take a small rope and tide the branches closure to the trunk like a Christmas tree the and place a light bulb in the center and wrap it up with a home depot tarp. Turn on the light during a few nights in minus F temp. This will insure the survival of the grafts. In addition, I don’t do Winter protection on American persimmon seedlings. They can handle the cold just fine in the ground. I do fence them up so the rabbit and deer don’t eat them during Winter months due to lack of food. If you decided to wrap your trees then unwrap them in late February when the weather is still cool because you don’t want the tree to leafed too early and get hit with a late frost.



Thanks Tony!

Like this.

Lush green last Fri. By Sunday, it was done. We had 29 F last Sat night and 27F on Sun night. By Mon, this Nikita’s Gift and Musa Basjoo banana ( to the left) were done.

Yup, just like that. Hit 29 here Monday morning. Of course today is almost 80 and beautiful, go figure.

The foliage of persimmon aren’t hardy to any significant freeze. That doesn’t mean the tree was damaged. In the 20s the tree is fine.

Apple leaves are hardy to the teens or below. But mulberry, grapes, figs, and the like lose their leaves to any kind of freeze spring or fall.

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First of, Tony is the guru of winter protection. Wish He lived near me. I could cook him some spicy Thai food in exchange of him winter protect the NG.

That said, last winter wasits first winter. Unprepared and lazy, I cut the bottom off a 30 gal leave bag, put it over the tree, stuffed it with leaves tightly, wrapped the bag and tree with burlap and tied the burlap in place.

Last winter was seriously cold. The top short branch was dead. The rest was perfectly fine once unwrapped. I unwrapped it in Early April. Last March we still had 2-3 ft of snow on the ground.

Heard that this winter will not be as harsh, I will wrap it again. The tree has grown well but slowly. That’s a good thing when it comes to winter protect.

I will not be protecting any of my hybrid or kaki persimmons this year: Nikita’s gift, kassandra, JT-02, smith’s best, sheng, Patapasco, ichi, tam kam, saijo. Most are first year in the ground. We’ll see what happens. Last winter, with a low of -11.8, NG died back to the snow line. My American persimmons were all completely fine.

Is Smith’s Best a yearling? I’ve been sort of interested in it due to it’s history being collected by J. Russel Smith, neat guy.


I hope you will have a mild Winter so all those trees can size up for a few years so they can handle the cold better


That is good information. I just planted a bunch of Nikita’s Gift on the farm. Deer don’t bother my American persimmons but I didn’t know how they would react to a hybrid. I tubed about have of them and left half untubed. The ones I didn’t tube had formed lateral branching and would not fit in the tubes. I planned on waiting until early March and taking those branches as scions. I think that I’m close enough to dormancy here that losing leaves won’t hurt. However, I’m now concerned about browsing on the wood.

Did the deer browse any of the woody part of your trees? I want to make sure the central leader doesn’t get pruned by deer.

They only touched the leaves so far, but with winter coming all bets are off. They regularly sample my red twig dogwood and have even tried bayberry a few times.

Can anyone please tell me how shade tolerant can a persimmon tree be able to handle?

The area where my seedling american persimmon will be planted get about 5-6 hours of sun from after 11 am to 5 pm.

Would that be sufficient for the tree to flower and fruit well?

I have no direct experience, but I’d think you will get some fruit production there. Not full cropping, but some.

I have seen some wild native American persimmon tree bored fruits in shaded area. They were tall and lengthy trees but not as productive as a tree with 8 hours or more sun.


Thanks Kelby and Tony,
The full sun spots went to jujubes.

Yes, I admit I do not treat all my “kids” the same way :blush:

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Gotta do what you gotta do!

On a second thought, I am very inclined to remove two trees to make way for this persimmon.

I will create another thread about removing trees. Want to hear from those who have done it.

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