Caco apple

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Domnda: Why doesn't my khaki bear fruit?

Good morning, I have a problem with a caco-apple plant. It is regularly fertilized and irrigated, it flowers regularly and bears fruit regularly, but when the fruits reach the size of an apricot, they fall. I must point out that a neighboring plant of the same species bears fruit regularly. The plant in question is about 10 years old. What can I do? Thanks and best regards.

Answer: the fruits of diospyros kaki

Dear Renato,
although khaki are easy to grow plants, which do not require special care, it is also true that the many varieties available show great differences between them. The drop of the fruit of khaki is often due to cultural stress, such as macroelement deficiencies, excess microelements in the soil (Boron, and Sodium in particular), lack of watering or excess at the time of setting, or even excessively cold wind. In addition to this we note particular differences between the plants we say "normal" and i persimmon apple or persimmon vanilla; in fact there are varieties of the latter which produce only fruits deriving from pollination, and therefore certainly sweet even when immature; it happens in some varieties that the fruits produced not by pollination, fall before maturing, when they are still small. So remember to fertilize your tree with manure in the fall, planting it at the foot of the plant; check that the plant is not placed in a very humid area of ​​the garden, and favor pollination, the best method is to plant a tree of a pollinating variety like the Mercatelli variety near your tree.

Caco apple

Family, genus and species
Ebenaceae, gen. Diospiro, a khaki species
Type of plant Tree with deciduous leaves, up to 15 meters high
Exposure Full sun
Rusticitа Average, up to -15 ° C
Ground Not demanding, well drained, not saline
colors Orange fruits, decorative autumn leaves
Irrigation Only the first few years
Collected In autumn and winter
Tree life About 40 years
Composting Annual in winter

Diospyros, the botanical name of the persimmon, comes from the ancient Greek and means "food of the gods". The Italian name instead dates back to Japanese, one of the areas of origin of the plant.
The tree is part of the Ebenaceae family comprising approximately 500 species. The genus diospyro is very broad and includes trees and shrubs, from evergreen to deciduous, mostly tropical. One of the most important features is being doici, that is, to carry male flowers and female flowers on separate plants. We will see, however, that the khaki in this case represents a strange exception.

Kako apple features

Chinese khaki (which also includes apple persimmon varieties) is a tree that can reach 15 meters in height. The foliage naturally assumes an expanded form and carries alternate deciduous leaves. These are from ovate to obovate, up to 15 cm long and 7.5 cm wide, pointed at the apex and smooth or almost smooth on the upper side. The lower page, on the other hand, is paler and hairier. In autumn the color turns to orange red.
The bark is dull and scaly gray, with age it flakes and furrows. The flowers are small and bell-shaped, about 1.5 cm long. The males are united in clusters, while the feminine are solitary, usually on the younger branches.
The fruits are berry, large, juicy, yellow-orange or even red, up to brown. The diameter is about 7.5 cm.

Fertilization of flowers

In the past it was customary to always plant a large number of plants, one next to the other. In fact, only the presence of several subjects ensured good fruiting every year. The various cultivars, in fact, can carry female flowers due to the sterility of the stamens, male flowers for ovary abortion or hermaphrodite flowers. Each tree can also develop flowers of one or more types for reasons that are still unknown.
This situation has several consequences.
First of all it can happen that in a certain vintage the plant only develops male flowers: consequently there will be no harvest.
Otherwise you can only have female flowers. These usually produce a fruit, even without being fertilized. It is what is called parthenocarpic fructification. The berries will be seedless in this case.
Ultimately we can have normal pollination.
Generally the fruits deriving from pollination are equipped with seeds and immediately become very sweet.
The others, on the other hand, if eaten immediately turn out to be off-putting for the great presence of tannins. In order to become palatable they must be left to mature for several days (usually they are kept together with apples which, releasing ethylene, stimulate further maturation).
In recent years, however, some named cultivars have become increasingly common kaki apple (or even "non-astringent"). They are already ready for consumption at the time of collection. They have very variable colors, from green to yellow to dark red and are, in addition to this, very easy to peel. Some cultivars also have innovative aftertaste.


This tree is generally considered suitable for hot areas. In Italy, however, it is grown almost everywhere thanks to the selection of some varieties particularly resistant to cold and the habit of grafting plants, making them more rustic. Generally the most delicate phase to obtain a beautiful specimen is represented by the first five years in which it is always advisable to protect the trunk during the winter (with sheets or blankets tied around it), above all in anticipation of late frosts to which this species is particularly sensitive.
However it is able to easily withstand -10 ° C and in positions sheltered from the wind even -15 ° C.
On the other hand, the heat is absolutely not a problem.


It is not particularly demanding. It adapts to any type of soil, except for those that are too saturated with water. So let's make sure there is good drainage.
To give the best it is good to prefer rather clayey substrates, but in any case without salinity (in particular of large concentrations of sodium and boron). Therefore it is not a good choice for coastal areas.


The first two years after planting it is necessary to bathe every 20-25 days, except for natural precipitations. Later it irrigates only when the leaves bend down due to persistent drought.

Caco fertilizers

Every year, in autumn and winter, 200 grams of bone meal or cornunghia are spread at the foot of the plant, incorporating it into the soil with a light process. Slow release granular fertilizers for fruit plants are also valid. For the first few years, in the northern regions, it is advisable to cover the foot with a thick layer of pine bark in order to protect the root system from the winter cold.

Exposure caco

Because the plant can give good productions the recommended position is always the full sun. If we live in cold areas it is good to place the tree in an area sheltered from the wind.

Caco planting

Generally, saplings of about 2 years of age are found for sale, in pots. It is advisable to avoid specimens sold only with ground bread or bare root because this vegetable does not like to be transplanted and it is absolutely necessary to avoid damaging the roots during this maneuver.
The root system of the persimmons is formed by three or four long taproots with scarce root structure, fundamental for the absorption of the nutritive elements. Losing one could lead to the failure of the transplant.
We proceed in the spring, when we are sure that there can no longer be frost. Previously a deep and at least 50 cm wide hole will be opened. To the well-fragmented excavation soil, a slow-release organic fertilizer rich in both nitrogen and other micro and macro elements will be added. Bone flour or cornunghia are ideal. The plant must be positioned so that the collar is 3-4 cm from the ground level. Parallel to the trunk (but being careful not to damage the root apparatus) we will insert a long pole and often it will have to act as a support. We finish by putting the soil back in the hole without over-compressing it. In this way we will help the plant begin to develop the hypogean part.
We irrigate abundantly and spread a good quantity of slow release granular fertilizer for fruit plants.


Propagation usually takes place via grafting. Various cultivars have been selected as rootstocks and each is suited to a specific climate.
Sowing is used only for the production of rootstocks.
Unfortunately, the best radical apparatus for our climate (those deriving from D. lotus) are not very close to the non-astringent varieties (most sought after by the market). It is for this reason that the most widely used method currently used is the micropropagation and apical cuttings.


Adult plants rarely need intervention. It is rather important to work on young specimens with good training pruning. The most common forms are the upside-down vase, the palmette and the pyramid. However, it is necessary to select three or four branches of equal vigor that go in different directions. Secondary branching should then be encouraged.


For these plants the massive presence of pollinators is of crucial importance for obtaining fertilized fruits and therefore already ripe at harvest. Also for the kaki-apple (not astringent) it is however important. Indeed, pollination has a considerable influence on the quantity and size of the fruit.
So let's try to include other crops in the vicinity of this tree that attract bees and bumblebees in particular.

Pests and diseases

They are quite healthy and resistant trees. They only fear root rot (to be prevented with a good drainage)
The most common parasites are cochineals, to be fought with white oil activated by a systemic insecticide.


In Italy, around 50 varieties of Diospyros kaki are grown.
The most common astringents are:
Fuyo with large fruits of about 250 grams of weight, red when ripe
Katawabata smaller and less rustic, with slightly conical fruits, orange-red when ripe, very sugary.
Brilliant Rojo of Spanish origin, a very vigorous plant that produces very large and red fruits when ripe.
Among the varieties of khaki-apple, not astringent, the most interesting and particular are:
vainiglia which produces medium-sized fruits, about 150 grams, yellow orange. The skin is thin while the pulp is dense and of a bronze color, with a vague vanilla flavor.
Chocolate It produces slightly flattened and medium-sized berries with an orange-yellow peel and brown flesh with a slight hint of cocoa
Kaki perhaps the most common non-astringent variety in our area. It produces an abundant flowering and large fruit. At the time of harvesting they turn yellow and then quickly turn to orange. The flesh is orange with dark spots if the fruits have not been fertilized. Otherwise it will take on bronze colors.
O-Gosho among the best cultivars, famous for its exceptional goodness and the softness of its pulp.
Shogatsu very particular for the color of the apples when harvested, a nice moss green which then turns orange over time.
Brazzale Italian cultivar, medium-sized fruits, first orange, then red with a flattened shape.
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