This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In the June number of the Gardener's Monthly I noticed that E. Manning says: "The Japan Persimmon tree is like many other expensive, curiosities extravagantly puffed by propagators, and which to the purchaser is only to end in chagrin and disappointment." He does not question the excellence of the fruit, because that is asserted by many undoubted authorities, but condems it because it has not proved hardy with him. It must be borne in mind that the American Persimmon is a South-ern tree. It is rarely found indigenous with us but abounds in all the old fields of the South from Virginia to Florida. While old trees have proved perfectly hardy here, Red Cedars, Altheas, Arbor vitae, and other supposed hardy trees have been killed. Young frees of four to six feet high cannot be left unprotected with impunity. The orange cultivators know this principle well, for they lose thousands of young trees annually from a. cold which does not touch trees ten years of age. The growth of young trees is succulent and late in maturing.
That of old trees is short, hard and early in maturity.
A young Bartlett Pear is often killed by a cold which does not affect the older free. I think Mr. Manning would not discard the Bartlett for that, reason.
He forgets too, that the Japanese Persimmons which have thus far been sent, out have not been propagated in this country and have therefore not been " extravagantly puffed by propagators" who were Japanese. The truth is that Dr. Loomis, a very intelligent gentleman who had resided in Japan and who had often eaten this fruit was so impressed with its excellence that he incurred the risk of bringing out a quantity of trees to this country, hoping that his countrymen would appreciate his efforts and sustain him. He issued a circular in which he gave unquestioned authorities for the excellence of the fruit, but did not attempt to fix the latitudes best adapted, as each variety had its own best latitude in Japan. These circulars with a large quantity of trees he placed in our hands to disseminate, knowing that we had a large experience with Japanese plants. These plants came to us dry from the voyage, having had no care nor special culture, and under instructions from Dr. Loomis we replaced all which did not grow of those; which we sold.
Hut coming from the opposite side of the globe where seasons are different, those which we planted out ourselves were very late in Starting and made so succulent a growth that we did not think it sale to expose them the following Winter after our experience with young American Persimmons. Of eight Which we left unprotected, four were killed and four are growing luxuriantly. Other parties have planted them on Long Island and lost none.
We hope to hear from others who have planted it. Those who have reported have been generally favorable. Hardiness is the only point on which we need Information. There is little doubt that it will he hardy anywhere south of the latitude of Baltimore. That it will be hardy north of that line can be proved only by experience. Of its behaviour in this country we know too little yet to condemn it in any respect.
One of the largest importers of it assures us that he has known it to continue entirely dormant the first year after importation and grow Well on the second. Willi us it has been as late as the 1st of August in showing life the first season after importation. Throwing it away at midsummer because it does not show life would therefore be a mistake. There is so much evidence of the excellence of its fruit that if it can escape the borer which is equally fatal to if and to the American Persimmon, and can be successfully grafted in the open air on our native stock, we may fairly hope that the old fields of the South in which there are millions of frees will be made lull of profit to their owners.
J hope that Mr. Manning will be willing to wait and see the condition of a Japanese Persimmon tree which has escaped the tenderness of youth and settled into the maturity of age.