Friday, June 16, 2017

Persimmon seedlings

Scat!  Scat, I say!  If you care to look closely, you will see many Juneberry seeds and a few Sweet Cherry pits.
This story starts in the middle.  It starts with raccoons.

This has been a very dry year.  My 10 acres has had 2" of rain since the end of April.  Everything is dry, dry, dry.

My yard is blessed with multiple Juneberry trees (Amelanchier spp.), Sweet Cherries and Mulberries.  Consequently, I am blessed with a surplus of raccoons.

The pot I was germinating persimmon seedlings in.  The @#$%^ raccoons dug it up.
Raccoons are attracted to disturbed or damp earth.  They are no more capable of not digging in damp earth than a compulsive gambler can resist bending over to pick up a virgin instant lottery ticket.

I should have known that.

The beginning of the story

James Claypool, an oilman from rural Illinois decided to pick up a hobby in the 1970s.  He decided to breed American Persimmons.  He figured it would only take a few years to master and then he could move on to another hobby.

He grossly underestimated the task.

Persimmon breeding is complicated by the fact that male persimmons do not have fruit.  One half of the genetics are a blind draw.

He made a huge leap when he started using bi-sexual persimmons as the male (pollen) parent.  Early Golden, Killen, Garretson, Meader and Szukis are bi-sexual persimmons with great fruit quality.  An additional bonus of using bi-sexual persimmons is that all of the seedlings are fruit producers.  Using a cis-male persimmon results in only half of the seedlings being fruit producers.

Another huge leap occurred as he gathered data and figured out that Juhl (aka, Yates) is a consistently awesome female parent.

One-third of Juhl X bi-sexual seedlings are average for the species.  One half of the seedlings are very good.   Ten percent are incredibly good.  Ten percent are spitters.

It should come as no surprise that I have an isolated persimmon tree that is 1/2 Szukis, 1/3 Juhl and the remainder is Meader.

Back to the present

The raccoons tearing the snot out of my germination pot forced my hand.  I had to transplant them.

I am not sure what I am going to do with 400 elite persimmon seedlings.  But I don't think that I will have any trouble finding folks who want to attract Whitetail deer who will be willing to take them off my hands.

1 comment:

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