Thursday, October 22, 2015

So what happened to the persimmons this year?

I inherited 2 persimmon trees with the house.  They were planted by the guy we bought the house from, which means they're relatively young trees as he owned the house just over a year.  They didn't produce much in the way of fruit during our first years here but they did have pretty fall foliage.

2013 fall foliage


This year, the foliage looks terrible but the trees produced a lot of fruit.  While many of the immature fruits dropped early on, quite a bit was left to ripen on the trees.

Ripening fruit earlier this month


It disappeared rather rapidly.  The fruits nearest the fence top in the vegetable garden went first but these were quickly followed by the fruits on the tree in the dry garden.  I initially held the raccoons responsible for knocking the fruit to the ground, even when I found a squirrel polishing off a decaying persimmon.

I've heard that persimmons are best when they're over-ripe; however, this guy took that message to the extreme


But the squirrels don't need help from the raccoons.  After all, they have the run of the place during the day.

Squirrel eating a persimmon right from the tree


There are no persimmons left on either tree.  Meanwhile, the squirrels are also running off with the guavas, hiding some and eating others.

Guava crumbs


Really, our backyard offers squirrels a full range of amenities.

A comfortable seat at the birdseed bar

Flowers for the picking when fruit and seeds gets same-old, same-old

Fresh water at the fountain

Scenic locations to hang out


Squirrels, they own the place.




All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

33 comments:

  1. That last picture is really funny! Darn furry-tailed rats. The are really over-running us here, too. Sorry about the loss of your fruit (although, I personally would not mourn the persimmons).

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    1. I don't mourn the loss of persimmons either but the fruits are prettier hanging on the tree than they are half-eaten on the ground.

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    2. So true...persimmon trees are lovely in Fall. :-(

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    1. They're probably wondering why I keep interfering with their enjoyment of "their" garden.

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  3. What Emily said: rats with tails!

    When once had a small nectarine tree in the backyard. One year all the fruit disappeared overnight. We didn't know for the longest time what happened. Then my wife found a rat's nest behind the tool shed. It was filled with nectarine pits. The rats had gotten every single nectarine. Fortunately, the rats have moved on, but the squirrels are still here.

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    1. I'm not really upset by the loss of persimmons or guavas but the loss of nectarines would have me incensed!

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  4. I don't know what our latest tally is, but I've seen four working the bird table between them in the past.
    The real fun started when we took the huge spruce tree down. The squirrels had used it as a means of escape when Mike chased them with the water pistol. I watched one day as Nutkins took off on his usual route down the garden path until he came level with the (ex) tree.. I could almost see the double take and the panic before he pulled himself together and charged off somewhere else with Mike in hot pursuit.

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    1. Mine seldom seem to cooperate. They chase one another but that appears to be for fun. They do panic when they realize I've caught sight of them in the bird feeder my husband "reinforced" to prevent their entry (it doesn't) - the panic is soon forgotten, however, and they're back.

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  5. We are enjoying a bumper crop from our avocado tree this year, more than enough to share with the neighborhood squirrels. I just wish they would eat the entire avocado, and not just their picky-eater habit of a bite here and there, and then moving on down the branch to the next ripe fruit.
    The really shocking sight in the backyard this season was a tree full of naked Meyer lemons - rats love the skin and pith, but not the juicy interior. We've never experienced this before, although I have read accounts of it happening in other urban backyard gardens. Quite the spectacle.

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    1. I've never seen the squirrels eat our lemons but I have seen them tackle oranges. It seems to be a selection of last resort, though - I don't know if it's the acidity of the fruit that puts them off or its sheer size. As far as I'm concerned, they can have all the guava - or Arbutus berries - they want if they'd just leave the citrus and grapes alone.

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  6. You are just too accommodating. I know their antics are amusing but I do not want to see them in my garden. The most annoying thing they do here is planting trees in the wrong location. Of course, everything that comes into the garden is on the hunt for something; snakes, roadrunners etc. Not sure I care for them either.

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    1. I wish I could blame the squirrels for all the Albizia julibrissin seedlings but, alas, those sprout entirely on their own. They haven't "planted" anything else here that I've been able to determine. They seem to have no predators but maybe that's because the don't prowl at night when the raccoons and coyotes are afoot.

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  7. Hah! This post made me smile. But too bad you didn't get to enjoy your own fruit.

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    1. I'm not really upset much about the persimmons, although I did think the fruit looked better intact and hanging from the tree instead of half-eaten and rotting on the ground. They're also welcome to all the guavas they can eat. However, I do wish they'd keep their claws off the oranges and grapes - and stop scaring off the birds from the feeders.

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  8. I know there a lot of people here who hate the squirrels, then there are also those who feed them, and not by accident. We have a very robust population and to be honest I think they're kind of fun to watch, then again they aren't making too big of a mess in my garden.

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    1. I've decided that fighting them is a waste of effort. They were here before I was after all. The key is distracting them from what you want to protect, although that may be a fool's errand too.

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  9. And they have family over here. The cheekiest squirrels in England live in my garden. They don't even eat all the fruit. Mostly, they take one bite and then toss it nonchalantly over their shoulder.

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    1. Their American cousins display much the same behavior, Chloris.

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  10. Am I supposed to have a smile on my face Kris. Apologies for doing so :) Squirrels are one pest I am glad not to have in my garden. I read of so many gardeners that have issues.
    One of our friends who has a rather beautiful house in the centre of Edinburgh is over run with them too. Only last week she offered to catch some and bring them to me because I laughed at her constant complaining about them. I do know I should really but at times I just can't help it.

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    1. By comparison to the raccoons and skunks, Angie, squirrels are the least of my troubles. Yes, they eat things I'd rather they didn't but at least they don't tear up my entire garden (often one day after another after another, as the raccoons have been known to do). Still, if you have a choice, you do NOT want to invite them into your garden.

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  11. Kris, I'm not sure squirrels ever need an invitation into a garden - I think they are always watching and as you point out - most populations were entrenched well before humans took "ownership" of any particular piece of property. Their antics are as entertaining as their habits are annoying. I really can't imagine a garden without them. It is annoying when they strip a plant or tree of something intended for human consumption but I wonder if they don't see us as equally annoying when we got out into the garden and harvest "their" food!?

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    1. Oh, I expect they're very annoyed when we interfere with their activity. As I type, I can see that a squirrel is back in the feeder, which has the ousted birds squawking. Tempted as I am to interrupt his activities, I think I'll let the birds fight their own battle today.

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  12. I saw a squirrel chew a thin branch off a shrub earlier and carry it up a tree. I'm so glad I could accommodate him! But if I were a CA squirrel, I'd live in your garden, too. :o)

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    1. I wonder why he (or she) wanted the branch. Building a nest maybe? It seems out of season but then maybe squirrels procreate like rabbits. There does seem to be a never-ending supply of them here. I just noticed that a second squirrel is trying to join another one in the feeder (mentioned in my response to Deb above).

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  13. That photo with the squirrel and the view made me giggle out loud!
    You have the same problem as I have in my garden, NOTHING is safe and I am now blaming the squirrels for so many of my plant labels going missing – I can’t think of any other reason why they keep disappearing??
    I am with you when it comes to tackling them, I am just going to leave them to it and try to protect what’s most valuable to me – it’s too much effort trying to prevent them from entering my garden.

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    1. In my garden, it seems to be the raccoons that steal things - they're like magpies in that regard. My squirrels seem to focus most of their energy on food but perhaps that's a response to the drought - all the local critters seem to be more desperate these days.

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  14. It's so kind of you to create such a varied buffet for your squirrel friends. I've been watching a very few (6) nice-sized persimmons forming on my tree. A couple were just starting to flush with red. After reading your post, I went out to check mine out. Since our previous neighbor who trapped and relocated squirrels moved, they've been repopulating with a vengeance but surely my genteel PNW squirrels wouldn't be as unruly as your Southern California rascals...
    One was entirely eaten and they'd started on a second. I do love how beautiful a persimmon tree looks once the leaves fall and the fruit remains, not to mention I enjoy eating them. Let's see, where is that Strychnine?

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    1. Mine like to take individual bites out of each fruit before deciding which one they're going to pull off the tree, Peter. I thought that refilling the bird feeders would distract them from the fruit but this doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, I think some squirrels specialize in fruit, while others focus on seed.

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  15. What a cheeky little thief!
    Mariana

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    1. They believe they own the garden, Mariana. As far as they're concerned, I'm the intruder.

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  16. Haha! This was such a great post, I loved it. Squirrel heaven. I can almost hear that last one saying "kiss my behind, I'll do whatever I like". Does Pipig ever scare them off, or can't she be bothered?

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    1. They pretty much do whatever they like. Pipig is an indoor cat, although I give her 5-10 minutes outside each morning. She has taken off after the squirrel but, as I don't know where he's been, I'd rather she doesn't get into a direct confrontation. Her lizard catches are bad enough.

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