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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - August 10, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Best of Smarty, Pests, Shrubs
Title: How to keep persimmons from staining patio
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have approximately 4 female persimmons bearing fruit around our back patio. Birds are carrying the berries to our patio and eating them which leaves a dark stain on our patio. I'm having to go out daily to clean it off because i fear that if I leave it sitting too long the stain will become permanent. Is there any way to either keep the trees from bearing fruit or somehow keep the birds from coming on to our patio with these berries.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants assumes your persimmons are Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) and not Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon). If so, we have a few suggestions to solve your problem.

1. There may be a way to keep them from producing fruit—short of chopping them all down! Since the male flowers and female flowers are on separate trees, in the spring before they bloom drape your female plants with a fine mesh netting that will exclude pollinators such as bees. It will require a piece of netting that is large enough to cover the entire tree and you will probably have to tie it around the bottom to ensure that insects don't find their way into the flowers. This should work if the trees aren't too tall.

2. Alternatively you could let the insects do their pollinating and then cover the trees and the ripening fruit with bird netting so that the birds can't remove the fruit.

3. Or, you could leave the persimmon trees as they are and concentrate on keeping the birds away from your patio. There are various devices that discourage birds. You could try some of the visual Bird Scare Devices. There are also repellent devices that use sound, but you would probably want to avoid those unless you have very tolerant neighbors.

4. You could enclose your patio with Bird Net. It is touted as being "long lasting, humane, nearly invisible...100% bird exclusion".

5. You could consider treating your patio surface with an epoxy or a polymer coating to help it resist staining so that you wouldn't have to rush out and clean up the mess as soon as it happened.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

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