This study was designed to investigate impact of tannins on in vitro ruminal fermentation parameters as well as relationships between concentration and in vitro biological activity of tannins present in tree fruits. Dry and mature fruits of known phenolic content harvested from Acacia nilotica, A. erubescens, A. erioloba, A. sieberiana, Piliostigima thonningii and Dichrostachys cinerea tree species were fermented with rumen fluid in vitro with or without polyethylene glycol (PEG). Correlation between in vitro biological activity and phenolic concentration was determined. Polyethylene glycol inclusion increased cumulative gas production from all fruit substrates. The largest increase (225%) after 48 h incubation was observed in D. cinerea fruits while the least (12.7%) increase was observed in A. erubescens fruits. Organic matter degradability (48 h) was increased by PEG inclusion for all tree species except A. erubescens and P. thonningii. For D. cinerea fruits, colorimetric assays were poorly correlated to increases in gas production due to PEG treatment. Ytterbium precipitable phenolics (YbPh) were also poorly correlated with response to PEG for A. erioloba and P. thonningii fruits. However, YbPh were strongly and positively correlated to the increase in cumulative gas production due to PEG for A. erubescens and A. nilotica. Folin-Ciocalteau assayed phenolics (SPh) were not correlated to response to PEG in P. thonningii and A. sieberiana. It was concluded that the PEG effect on in vitro fermentation was closely related to some measures of phenolic concentration but the relationships varied with tree species.