Persimmons are a light to dark orange colored fruit that grow late in the season. They make a perfect fall and winter breakfast food or when used in any number of sweet recipes.
When Planting Edibles, Always Start with a Plan:
Step 1: Comprise a wish list of plants.
Step 2: Experiment – Try something new!
Step 3: Know your land and location – Sunlight, space, and soil conditions.
Step 4: Growing methods – Raised beds, traditional rows, or containers?
Step 5: Choose your fruit – Start with trees, then berries and vegetables.
There is nothing more scrumptious than eating berries harvested from your own crop, and your success begins with the planting site and method you use.
When you purchase your plants from Herbein’s Garden Center, they should already be acclimated to our temperatures. If, however, you mail-order a plant, be sure to place them in a sheltered, shady area and gradually increase its time outdoors by 1-2 hours a day. After about 7 days, your plants should be ready to transplant into the ground.
BEFORE planting, consider these 4 things when planning your home orchard:
- Sun and soil
- Surrounding area
- Space for future plants
Most persimmon trees are self-fertile, which means they will produce fruit without the need of another variety of persimmon. However, when another variety is present, you will notice a higher fruit yield. This is the natural result of pollinating.
Plant in full sun to part shade.
Persimmon trees require well-drained, fertile, slightly acidic soil for good growth. So, before you plant, check your soil pH. If it is between 6.5 – 7.5, you are in good shape. Use Espoma Organic Garden Lime if the soil’s pH is too low, or Espoma Organic Soil Acidifier if the pH is too high.
Check for any wires, cables, underground utilities, or any other obstructions that could be a problem when your tree reaches full maturity. Once your tree is planted and is stable, it can be a difficult task to transplant later. If you start off by planting your fruit trees at the proper spacing, you can avoid any problems or issues in the future.
If you are new to planting fruit trees, it is best to start off with just a few trees and gradually increase the amount later. Plan where you would place future trees and be sure to have adequate space for them.
Space Between Persimmon Trees
- American: 30-50’
- Asian: 15-20’
- Ichi-Ki-Kei-Jiro: 8-10’
Preparing Your Soil
Roots will grow faster if they are in soil that is loosened and has enough room to spread. Dig your hole 4x the width of the roots and ½x the depth.
If your soil is heavy, add a natural amendment such as compost. Do NOT add any fertilizer to the hole. Young persimmons are extremely sensitive to fertilizers.
- Once you get your fruit tree home, if you cannot plant it right away, you will need to keep the roots hydrated, however, do NOT place in a bucket of water as this might cause root rot or even kill the tree.
- Dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate its current root system and having plenty of room for the roots to spread out.
- Gently pull the tree from its pot and loosen the roots. Place the tree in the hole with roots down. Backfill with the soil you dug out.
- Create a rim of soil around the planting hole about 2” above the ground level. This will allow water to stop and soak into the ground surrounding your newly planted fruit tree. In fall, level out this hill of soil to prevent water from ponding and freezing around your tree.
- This is a good time to stake your tree to help keep it straight.
- At this point, remove any tags that are on your tree. If not removed, it could become tight and cause injury or be fatal to your tree. If you want to keep the tag with your tree, replace it with a loose piece of twine that you can keep an eye on as the tree grows and loosen as needed.
- Adding a layer of mulch around your tree will help keep rodents out, discourage weed growth, and keep water from evaporating at a quick rate. Add another layer of mulch in the fall for extra protection during winter months.
- No pruning is necessary at planting time.
When to Fertilize
Do not fertilize at planting time. After a few years, if the mature leaves are not deep green in color and shoot growth is less than a foot per year, apply a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 in late winter. Excessive fertilizing can cause premature fruit drop.
Pest and Disease Control
Every fruit tree has the potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a role in what issues your tree can encounter.
Having a good maintenance plan for your orchard such as watering, pruning, fertilizing, spraying, weeding, and cleanup can help keep most problems at bay.
Below is a list of pests that have been known to make an appearance on persimmon trees.
Mealy Bugs Scales
Persimmon Phylloxera Whitefly
Persimmon Trunk Borer
Below is a list of diseases that can occur on your persimmon tree if the proper growing conditions are not present.
Anthracnose Leaf Spot
Crown Gall Root Rot
Usually, potted persimmon trees will not need much pruning at planting, but as it gets older, corrective pruning may need to be done.
The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring when the tree is dormant.
Remove broken branches, dead or diseased branches.
Prune tree into an open V-Shape.
Select and maintain 3-5 main scaffold limbs rising from the trunk to control the overall shape of the tree.
- These limbs should point in all directions and be less than 18-36” from the ground, balancing growth evenly between the scaffold limbs. Those branches remaining in the center above the primary scaffold branches or any growth below the scaffold branches should be cut off. Any new growth on scaffold branches within 6” of the trunk should be removed.
- Avoid cutting the main scaffold branches unless it is to maintain balance in the tress. It is necessary to keep all scaffold branches at approximately the same size.
- Prune all other branches by 1/3 to an outward facing bud.
Persimmons have no serious insect or disease problems, so there is no need to spray regularly. That does not mean that your tree won’t occasionally need help, however.
A good natural control for anthracnose and leaf spot is Serenade® Garden Disease Control.
Persimmon roots grow slowly. To reach best growth and quality fruit, you may need to water regularly during spring and summer months. Water for 10 minutes once or twice a week.
Harvesting persimmons is usually done between September and late November. Ripened fruit color will vary from light yellow-orange to dark orange-red. When harvesting, do not stack on top of one another because they may crush the bottom fruit.
Astrigent varieties need to be very soft before they are good to eat. It is best to harvest them when hard and not on the tree because animals and birds will get after them.
Non-astrigent varieties can be eaten while still crisp and should be harvested when they are dark in color and firm. Allow to ripen once off the tree at room temperature.
You can keep persimmons in the refrigerator for about a month.