are still something of a rarity in the U.S., but those in the know
agree that there is no more beautiful sight than a group of golden
persimmons ripening to sweet perfection on a sunny windowsill. The
smooth, custard-textured flesh closely resembles maple-flavored
jelly. Enjoy persimmons fresh or use them in any number of
desserts and breads. Dried, they taste like chewy papaya.
trees, very hardy and well adapted to our area, are known to live
upwards of 75 years. They require little attention once established.
Over 500 varieties have been developed throughout Asia, with fruit
ranging from plum-size to football-size, with many flavors and
textures. We've narrowed the range to what we think are the very best
There are two basic types of persimmon fruit:
astringent (puckery) and non-astringent (nonpuckery). Astringent
varieties turn orange and look ripe long before they are ready to eat
and should be eaten only when completely jelly-soft to the touch.
Non-astringent persimmons may be eaten while still firm and crisp. As a
group, the astringent varieties are sweeter, richer and juicier, while
the non-astringent types are crisp, mellow and more sugarcane- or
cantaloupe-flavored. Our trees are grafted on American Persimmon
Uses in the
are one of the loveliest trees to be found. They have smooth
gray-to-tan bark, and broad, leathery, jade-green leaves (2-3 inches
wide and 4-6 inches long). The large varieties average 25 to 30 feet at
maturity, a good size for lining driveways and paths, or as a specimen
or accent tree.
The small trees are usually very heavy bearers
and are great in small groups in the shrubbery border, with low annuals
or groundcover beneath them. All persimmons have spectacular fall
colors - bright yellows to clear oranges, light pinks to fire-engine
reds - and the whole show happens just asthe fruit colors up!
Well-drained, sandy loam soils are preferred, but persimmons will grow
on many soil types if good drainage is provided. Persimmon will grow
more vigorously and produce more fruit in full sun. Avoid frost pockets
– trees may be damaged by unseasonable frosts
Preparation and Planting:
Dig a planting hole approximately three times the width of the pot and
at the same depth as the root ball. Set that soil aside and mix it
50/50 with either aged mushroom compost, aged manure, or rotted pine
bark & aged manure/compost. Remove the persimmon from the pot,
gently loosen the root ball, cut any roots that swirl around the edges
of the root ball, and place in the planting hole.
burying too deep, make sure plant is positioned with the top most roots
at the soil line. Fill the planting hole with the mix of soil and
organic matter; gently tamp it in. Water thoroughly to settle the roots
and eliminate air pockets. Do
NOT put fertilizer in the planting hole. Only apply
fertilizer if it is the correct time of year (see Fertilization section
desired, construct a water basin around the base of the tree
approximately 36 inches in diameter. Mulch in spring and summer with
approximately 4-6 inches of mulch. We suggest weed-free hay or pine
bark as mulch. Pull mulch a couple of inches away from the trunk for
good air circulation.
Spacing for persimmons depends upon the
desired use in the landscape. Trees should be a minimum of 10 foot
apart for small growers and 20 feet apart for large growers.
and Fruit Drop:
Fruit drop is a common problem for persimmons in the South. High
nitrogen fertilizer or uneven watering patterns can cause this problem.
Some varieties are more prone to fruit drop when young, but grow out of
it with age.
The type of fertilizer you choose may be chemical
or organic. Make sure that the fertilizer contains iron, zinc,
manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, copper and boron. These minor
elements are very important to plants and most soils are low in these
elements. Application rates vary according to age of plant. See chart
cup per each year of tree’s life
- Max out at 9 cups for Mature tree
cups for 1 year old
10 cups for 2 year old (4-6ft)
18 cups for 7-9ft tree
24 cups for tree over 9ft
Spread the fertilizer evenly under the entire canopy of the plant
avoiding a 5-inch area around the trunk. Water or rake in.
young trees (years 1 and 2) in Zones 8a-9, fertilize 3 times each year
in late February, late May and late July/early August. For plants
further north (Zones 6-7), fertilize in March or after bud break. This
will likely cause fruit drop, but growth is more important at this
stage in their development. Never fertilize after August (June in Zones
6-7) as this will promote new growth late in the year which will be
subject to freeze damage.
On the third year, switch to a low
nitrogen fertilizer (first number must be less than 5) and apply only
in late February (Zones 8-9) or March (Zones 6-7).
The first year is a critical time for the establishment of a new
persimmon. Water thoroughly twice a week on light soils and once a week
on clay soils. Soak the entire root system deeply – this
takes 40-50 minutes. Persimmons should receive at least 1 inch of water
each week for best growth and fruit production. Water regularly,
especially during dry periods. Fruit may drop prematurely if
insufficiently irrigated during dry spells. Keep an area approximately
4 feet in diameter around the persimmon clear of grass and weeds to
minimize competition for water and nutrients.
Persimmons in the South are usually pruned to an open center habit. At
planting select 3-4 scaffold branches spaced equally around the trunk
and remove other branches flush with the trunk.
In the second
dormant season, top the scaffold limbs approximately 36 inches from the
trunk to encourage secondary branching. Remove any strong branches
growing into the center. You want the tree to have good air circulation
in the interior.
Continue to train persimmon trees during the
first 5 years. Pruning should be designed to train the tree outward by
removing strong branches growing into the center and removing water
sprouts. The tree can be topped out at 7 or 8 foot with mold and hold
cuts, which are devigorating heading cuts made into two year old wood.
Do this by topping back the main scaffold limb to a weaker outward
growing shoot. This will keep the tree at an easy picking height as
well as stimulate new growth lower on the tree.
trees are pruned during the dormant season. Thin out weak branches and
head back long shoots as needed to maintain tree shape. Remove water
sprouts. Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches when pruning.
Use mold and hold cuts to maintain trees to an easy picking height.
- (Eat when soft)
Huge 5 inch fruit are as big as softballs. Fantastic quality, smooth
texture and very sweet. Ripens early October to early November.
Medium size deep red fruit will hang on trees throughout winter. Rated
as one of the best for flavor and the perfect jelly-like consistency of
the fruit. Ripens mid October to late Dec.
Another new persimmon that is one of the most popular in China (native
country of persimmons, where they are often dried and made into candy).
This large sugar-sweet persimmon is early ripening, and a bright orange
A cold hardy introduction from Maryland. A yellow fruit that ripens in
October. Longholding under refrigeration (through January!) and
reliable to at least zone 6. Ripens mid November.
Dwarf, compact persimmon that was found growing in J. Russell Smith's
homestead in Front Royal, VA. Mr. Smith wrote "Tree Crops: A Permanent
Agriculture" and was an economist, geographer who saw that trees were
important for food and soil preservation. Ripens late October to mid
A rounded tree which is a prolific producer of medium-sized round to
cone-shaped orange-red fruits. The flesh is yellow when ripe and very
sweet. Great for homeowners with limited space because of a prolonged
harvest season. Ripens September into November.
Our most ornamental variety, Great Wall has an interesting tall,
pointed shape and turns a brilliant shade of cherry pink in the fall.
The fruit is sunset orange with thick, rich flesh. Ripens late
September to mid-October.
GIANT The largest of all persimmons. Huge fruits are up to
7 inches long with excellent flavor. Ripens early October.
Originally from Japan, Saijo means "sweet" in Japanese. The fruits are
like small orange balls of honey. Consistent bearer. Trees are large,
upright, and vigorous. One of the first fruits of the season, it starts
bearing in September and continues into October.
The most beautiful persimmon of all! The bright orange fruit is flat,
has six prominent lobes, and is ribbed and tucked in around the calyx,
shaped just like a miniature pumpkin. The medium-sized trees bear good
crops consistently. Ripens mid-September through early October.
- (Eat when firm & crunchy)
By far the most popular of this group, Fuyu is a heavy producer of
fist-sized, tomato-shaped fruits. Crisp, sweet, and mild, it is the one
that most reminds us of cantaloupe. The fruit can begin to be harvested
as soon as the color comes up, usually around late October, and can
remain on the tree for as long as two months.
brilliant, reddish-orange fruit. The trees are very small, a good
choice for patios and smaller gardens. Giant Hanafuyu has an excellent
flavor, rich and sweet. Ripens in September and October.
Dwarf tree produces large, flat, tomato-shaped, deep orange fruit. A
bud sport of Jiro, it is one of the most cold hardy. Ripens in late
One of the first crunchy persimmons to ripen. Large tomato-shaped fruit
with a cinnamon sweetflavor. Ripens in September.
Medium-sized round fruit on an upright tree. Rich, orange-colored
flesh, and very sweet. Ripens mid-October through mid-November.
Very much like Fuyu in flavor and quality but ripens earlier. Trees are
strong growers, bearing fruit consistently. Ripens early October.
YANG A Korean persimmon. Bright orange, high quality fruit
weighing about 6 oz. Ripens later than Tam Kam (late October).
A beautiful mid-size tree full of large, flat tomato-shaped, deep
orange fruit. Matures in October. One of the most cold hardy.
Korean persimmon whose name translates as "Very Sweet". Bright orange,
high quality fruit weighing about 6 oz. This is among the most winter
hardy non-astringent persimmon. Ripens October.
/ Japanese Hybrid Astringent Persimmon (eat when soft)
GIFT HYBRID PERSIMMON
What could be more lovely than a naturally dwarf tree loaded with
delicious 2-3” bright reddish-orange persimmons? From the
Ukraine, Nikita's Gift is a hybrid of Asian and American persimmons
with exceptionally sweet flavor when ripe.
An extremely cold hardy Russian hybrid. Cross of our native American
persimmon Diospyros virginiana and the Asian Kaki persimmon. Its 2-3
inch fruit that is nearly seedless. Has an excellent smooth texture
with a traditional syrupy sweet Asian persimmo flavor. Trees are rapid
upright growers with a more American persimmon leaf type. Excellent
large shade tree if left un-pruned. Tends to ripens mid October to late