Persimmon Fruit Tree
image by fogcat5/Flickr.com
Native to China, the persimmon tree is a fruit tree that favors mild summers and moderate winters. The persimmon tree is a thriving tree that can grow as high as 25 feet with branches extended just as wide. This multi-trunked tree is deciduous and creates astringent and non-astringent fruits, based on the selected persimmon tree type.
Position your persimmon tree where it can obtain full sunlight and have room for air movement. Although the tree can tolerate some shade, it requires a large amount of sunlight and will grow to become a shade provider. Persimmon trees do best when the pH level of the soil falls between 6.5 and 7.5. The soil must have very low salt levels and grows best in a well-drained loam combination (soil that includes clay and sand).
Irrigate your persimmon trees frequently to produce large, high quality fruit. Persimmon can withstand short periods of drought but require plentiful amounts of water to maintain a healthy state. Long bouts of drought will cause the persimmon's leaves and fruit to drop prematurely. Water your tree two to three times per week during hot summer days, ensuring that the soil is wet below the surface.
Fertilize your persimmon tree twice yearly during the early spring and late winter. Do not over fertilize your tree as excess nitrogen can cause early fruit drop. Prune your young tree to develop a strong framework. A well-pruned tree will reduce branch breakage and improve its structure. Heavily pruned persimmons can serve as hedges and screens.
Harvest your persimmon when the astringent fruits are firm and have full color. Astringent fruits will soften on the tree but will become victim to bird and pest attacks. These fruits will continue to ripen after removal when they are stored at room temperature. Non-astringent persimmon fruit should be harvested when they are fully colored and somewhat soft to the touch. Cut both astringent and non-astringent fruits from the tree by cutting as close to the fruit as possible. Most persimmon trees do not develop fruit for the first five to six years and can produce for up to fifty years.
Protect your persimmon tree from pests. Remove fallen fruit from around the tree. Use a mild ant control to eliminate attacks from ants and other mealy bugs. Squirrels, opossums, deer and birds are fond of the persimmon fruit and gophers are attracted to its roots. Proper pruning will protect the tree from these critters while treated mulching will protect its roots from gophers.