December Orchard Keepers


Persimmons are ready to harvest when all of the leaves have fallen off the the tree and have reached a deep orange hue. Astringent varieties can be picked when hard and ripened at room temperature. Fruit can be picked when firm in order to avoid dropped fruit and competition from wildlife but is best eaten when very softened (fully ripe).


Pick up any fallen leaves and leftover fruit from under your tree to compost. Leaves from healthy trees can be used as mulch. Leaves from trees with obvious or suspected pest damage should be added to the city compost to prevent re-infestation next year.


Dormant pruning season begins when leaves have completely fallen off the tree. Begin by removing any branches dead and damaged by the weight of the harvest. Dead branches will be light in color, brittle and easily broken with no green growth tissue in the center (meristem). Learn more about pruning in this video.


Fruit trees in containers should receive a 4-6″ layer of wood or straw mulch to protect the root zone from cold weather. If temperatures consistently drop to freezing temperatures, move potted fruit trees into a shed or unheated garage to overwinter and don’t forget to water them regularly. Follow the guidelines based on your fruit variety. Any subtropical fruit trees should be moved inside and cared for based on their native season care needs.

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