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Garden Q&A: When to harvest Asian persimmons

When do I harvest my Asian persimmons? They are so big and beautiful!

It’s always dicey. The longer you leave persimmons on the tree, the sweeter they get. But if they get hit with a hard freeze, they turn to mush. Yummy mush, suitable for fruit pudding, but folks usually want to eat Asian persimmons when they are firmer. Start harvesting in the fall, when fruit is fully colored. The fruit bruises easily, so handle carefully. Asian persimmons may be refrigerated for several weeks. Fruit can also be frozen as puree or whole. If you planted a non-astringent variety, you needn’t worry about the famous mouth-puckering astringency of our native persimmons. Before eating astringent Asian varieties, wait until the fruit is completely soft.

This fall I found 3-4 praying mantis ootheca while pruning my butterfly bushes, and I would like to keep them healthy and happy so the eggs can hatch in spring. I can’t leave only the branches with the ootheca on them, as my community grounds crew is certain to cut them down when I am not home. Should I leave the oothecas outside?

Yes, leave the branches with the oothecas outside, perhaps upright in a container so the grounds crew will not disturb them. Do not lay branches on the ground. You can move them if you think of a better location in spring. They need warm days to hatch. Vegetation nearby will quickly provide prey.

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