Tuesday, 15 January 2013 02:00

Kaki vs Lotus Rootstock for Fuyu Persimmon

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What is the right rootstock for Fuyu Persimmon? If you do an internet search, often the #1 report found is one from a research project done in the 1930's and found in the California Avocado association 1940 Yearbook 25: 43-44. You can read it yourself or let me summarize it: According to the report, Fuyu should not be grown on Diospyros lotus and should be grown on Diospyros kaki.

This summary is repeated all across the Internet by academics and advisers alike - usually referring to that report.  We often bump against that conclusion since we grow 90+% on D. lotus and prospective buyers question that.

So why does L.E. Cooke Co, Orange County Nursery and Dave Wilson Nursery among many others mostly grow persimmons on Diospyros lotus and not D. kaki? Are we all wrong?

Answer: Because the #1 Fuyu persimmon grown commercially in the United States is Fuyu-Jiro and the #2 is Fuyu-Imoto.  These are both not the "true" Fuyu as used in the report.  I, personally, do not have any experience with the "true" Fuyu and want to get some to trial in the nursery.  And yes, if we got some, we would trial it on both rootstocks.  But we, and the others nurseries growing the Fuyu-Jiro, have vast experience with Fuyu-Jiro grown on Lotus rootstock.  Lotus is a far superior rootstock than D. kaki.

We (L.E. Cooke Co) have many trees growing in our budwood orchards right here in Visalia that were planted in 1966 and grown on D. Lotus.  As of this writing, that is 46 years!  We can walk from the office to the orchard and show them to anyone who wants proof (and photos below). They are thriving and still providing both great fruit and the cutting wood we need for thousands of trees to be reproduced for the farmers and homeowners across the U.S. and world.  We also have some that were grown on D. kaki, and although they are doing well, it is obvious that the rootstock is restrictive as seen by the reduced size of the root compared to the top. In one row, we have some varieties planted on both rootstocks - alternating from one to the next, side by side.  Here are some examples from that row:


Fuyu-Jiro on D. lotus rootstock planted 2-1-1966



Fuyu-Jiro Planted on D. kaki in February 1989 - notice more restriction in the rootstock.



Fuyu-Jiro planted on D. lotus February 1989 - more vigorous root.


In the production nursery, we can grow persimmon trees on D. lotus in both a 2 year and 3 year field and get good sized trees for sales.  We cannot grow on D. kaki in a 2 year field as they will never get to a sellable size.  We must grow in a 3 year field only.

Remember, in this rebuttal, we are talking about Fuyu-Jiro and Fuyu-Imoto (and Chocolate, Giant Fuyu(Gosho), Hachiya and others) growing successfully on D. lotus.  We are not talking about "true" Fuyu which we have no experience with.  There are varieties we grow which will do better on D. kaki and so we grow those on D. kaki (Izu, Matsumoto Wase Fuyu and a couple of other not currently in our catalog).

We are also just beginning to use D. virginiana (American Persimmon) as a rootstock for American Persimmon selections and may experiment with some Asian persimmons on that to see how they do.

Ron Ludekens 1-15-2013