Persimmons

Diospyros virginiana

This attractive tree can grow up to 30 feet tall. Persimmons are more common in the South but are hardy in Zones 4 to 9. They require full sun and well-drained soil for optimum growth.

Persimmon trees have a pendulous branching habit and a narrow, somewhat rounded shape. The leaves are shiny and dark green and the flowers are greenish yellow. Most trees are either male or female, so plant several trees to ensure pollination.

Persimmon fruits range from 3/4 to 2 inches in diameter. They are pale yellow to deep orange with reddish cheeks. Unripe, the fruits are extremely astringent. When fully ripe, they are soft, nearly free of astringency, and have a mild flavor.

The fruits also are highly ornamental and remain on the tree for a long time after the leaves fall. Frost is not necessary to ripen the fruit and will ruin immature fruit. In colder regions, the season is not long enough to ripen many of the late cultivars, so choose only early-ripening ones.

Persimmon trees have a bark with an interesting texture and attractive fall foliage, making them a good accent plant in landscaping. They're also well suited to espalier training.

Growing Persimmons

In addition to full sun and well-drained soil, persimmons require a soil that has adequate fertility, but it need not be extremely rich. Some gardeners have found that excessive nitrogen can cause fruit drop. Trees are drought resistant but benefit from deep watering during extremely dry weather.

Begin training trees early to four to five main stems to produce an attractive structure. They should require little maintenance beyond that, and plants typically are not very prone to pests and diseases.

American types are hardier and better adapted to cold climates than Asian types. But they still benefit from planting in somewhat protected locations and perform best in milder parts of New York State. Cultivars include:

  • Garretson—a superior cultivar for northern areas. Blooms are heavy and the fruit ripens in early October. The fruit, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, is light orange with a reddish blush and it has tender skin and soft flesh.
  • John Rick—produces larger, more attractive fruit than Garretson.
  • Early Golden—not as productive as some of the other cultivars, but fruit is of good quality.
  • Hicks and Juhl—perform well but are not as good as Garretson.

See also California Rare Fruit Growers at www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/ persimmon.html

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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