interesting fruit trees for Vancouver garden

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Douglas Justice, May 23, 2003.

  1. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    The following was received via email:

    I'm still looking for advice on interesting fruit trees for the Strathcona Community Gardens. I was unable to find those you suggested anywhere locally. No luck on that Japanese raisin tree (Hovenia dulcis), nor the blue bean tree (Decaisnea fargesii) you suggested. I might still go looking for Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas).

    I did manage to get an expensive persimmon, the japanese variety, Fuyu. It looks like something from the hepatitis ward. Could it be chlorotic, and if so, why? Can I do anything about it?
     
  2. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    In our experience, Fuyu persimmon needs heat to perform well. In Britain, one is advised to plant persimmons against a south-facing wall to ensure good fruit ripening, but there are ocassional reports of trees (Fuyu, in particular) being grown and fruiting successfully in sunny backyard situations in Vancouver.

    According to one source (Western Fruit, Berries and Nuts, by R. Stebbins and L. Walheim, HP Books, 1981), nutrient needs are limited to nitrogen; persimmons do not respond to or need fertilizers other than those containing nitrogen. A word of caution: excess nitrogen applications can lead to fruit-drop. Other information suggests that persimmons are generally adaptable to a wide soil pH range, but that they are best suited to well-drained sites with deep soil.

    Persimmons have a low chilling requirement, so they often come into growth early in Vancouver; i.e., while the weather is still cool. I suspect that nitrogen is deficient in the plant; however, it may not be lacking in the soil. Once the temperature starts to climb, nitrogen is transformed by microorganisms to a more available form (presuming that it isn't deficient in the soil). Give the plant some time to settle in, it will probably improve by mid-June.
     
  3. gobo

    gobo Active Member

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    Thanks, professor, for the lucid reply.

    Those yellowy leaves could well reflect a nitrogen deficiency in the container, as you say, although I suspect something as well to do with the species. I've not seen many persimmon trees in this area, but some of those I have also appeared wan. And I recall reading something somewhere about persimmon trees (or was it just the Asian types?) tending to be chlorotic here. If I can find the reference I'll post it.

    One question about the "low chilling" requirement you mentioned. Does this mean its requirements for cold are low in the sense of not being crucial, so that our mild winters shouldn't present a problem? Or low in the sense of low temperatures, thus the opposite meaning.
     
  4. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Persimmon trees have dark green leaves (even in Vancouver).

    Chilling requirement is basically the amount of time at low (near freezing) temperature that a plant needs to break dormancy in the spring. The greater the chilling requirement, the later it will leaf out. Plants with low chilling requirements are the rule in warm winter climates (southern Europe, California, etc.).
     
  5. gobo

    gobo Active Member

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    just to keep my word, here is the reference i was referring to. It's from Sunset Books' How to Grow Fruits, Nuts & Berries (Thompson, 1984. Lane Publishing):

    "'Fuyu' is short-lived in hot climates and tends to be chlorotic."
     

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