Persimmon Leaves Sunburned & Keeping Ants and Bees From Hummingbird Feeder

Question:

 The leaves at the top at the top of my Fuyu Persimmon tree looks sunburned, and the fruit is dropping off. This has been occurring for several years. I'm watering it two to three times a week with a slow drip of recycled washing machine water. What is the cause of these problems, and how do I correct it?

Answer:

  • Your water and watering frequency are the causes of the problems with your persimmon tree.
  • Water pumps from the roots to the foliage, and then it's released into the air. This is called transpiration.
  • Leaves act as a filtering system catching the elements in the water. The harmful components or elements burn the foliage, especially with commercial laundry detergents, aka Tide. You avoid this by using biodegradable laundry products. You can also have this problem with well water and water softeners.
  • The second issue is that you're watering too often. Persimmons are a drought-tolerant tree that doesn't require constant moisture. Once the rainy season concludes, they are watered every four to six weeks, depending on the weather. You'll need to construct a six-inch-high watering basin around the tree extending from the trunk to beyond the canopy's dip line. You fill this basin two to three-time with each watering.
  • Summer fruit drop with Persimmons is excess nitrogen and your watering pattern. Persimmons don't require much fertilizer. One application per year in the late fall or winter is sufficient.
    • I'd use an organic fruit and shade tree fertilizer and apply one pound of fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter. It's scattered around the drip line and not piled at the trunk.
  •  So, correct the problems you need to improve your water quality and water less frequently.

Question:

How can I keep the ants and bees away from my hummingbird feeder? 

Answer:

  • Bees and ants are attracted to the sugary-based liquid nectar found in Hummingbird Feeders. It's a primary component of their diet, so it is a constant ignorance as the ants and bees search for food.
  • You control the ants by trapping them in a two-inch wide band of a clear, sticky resin, called Pest Barrier or Tanglefoot. It's placed in the main travel path of the ants. Every couple of months, it may be necessary to clean off the old Pest Barrier and reapply, as the trapped ants could form a bridge over the resin.
    • Another option that's been somewhat successful is coating the openings where the nectar flows with Olive Oil, as ants do not like the oily taste.
  • Honey Bees are a primary problem in the spring and early summer, while Yellow Jackets are a nuisance during the late summer and fall. Also, yellow jackets are attracted to the color yellow while red attracts hummingbirds.
    • The simplest solution for Bees is to add a Bee Guard to your feeder. This prevents the bees from getting to the nectar. Bee Guards are available at many garden centers along with pet supply retailers. For Yellow Jackets, I'd set up a Yellow Jacket trap far enough to draw the wasps away from the feeder(s).