If you want a tree in your yard that produces beautiful fruit, bright foliage in the fall, consider buying a persimmon tree. Rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium, persimmon fruit is nutritious and delicious---and provides gorgeous fall decorations if you choose the right variety. Persimmons can be grown several zones and will tolerate cold weather, but you should carefully consider which type of persimmon is best for you.
Decide which type of persimmon you want to grow. Pick an astringent variety if you want beautiful fruits to use for decorative purposes. Choose non-astringent persimmons if you want fruit that you can eat fresh without peeling.
Look for a persimmon variety that will do well in your area---persimmons do best in areas with moderate winters and mild summers; they're suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10. According the California Rare Fruit Growers, persimmon trees will tolerate temperatures of 0 degrees F when fully dormant, but the trees can break dormancy during early warm spells and then suffer damage from late spring frosts.
Plan a site that will accommodate the size of a mature tree. Some varieties will grow to 25 feet high and at least as wide. Pick a sheltered site in your yard; persimmon branches are brittle and will not survive strong winds. Ask your nursery about the sex of young trees---persimmons are usually either male or female, but some trees have both male and female flowers. Inquire about the available cultivars; many are are parthenocarpic and will set seedless fruit without pollination.
Choose a site with full sun or no more than partial shade. Prepare the planting site with deep, well drained loam and adjust the soil pH to a range of 6.5 to 7.5 if possible. Dig the planting hole deeper than you would for most fruit trees---persimmons have strong tap roots and require extra depth.
Decide among astringent varieties depending on your local conditions and your fruit preferences. Buy American seedling rootstock if possible; according to the North Carolina Extension Service, American rootstock seedlings will better tolerate excessive moisture and drought. Determine which variety will work best in your yard---the common rootstock in Western states is D. lotus, which it is not compatible with some cultivars. Avoid D. kaki seedlings; they have very long tap roots and can be difficult to establish. Avoid D. virginiana, also; it tends to produce heavy sucker growth and requires heavy pruning.
Consider Eureka for its heavy production and excellent fruit quality; it's considered the best commercial variety in southern states. Buy Hachiya for its large seedless fruits; according to the Texas A&M University Extension Service, Hachiya is vigorous and is an excellent dual purpose persimmon for both fruit production and ornamental uses.
Buy Saijo persimmons for sweet and delicious fruits on a tree with consistent production that is hardy down to -10 degrees F. Consider Tamopan for large fruits that ripen in midseasaon, or Tanenashi for an early ripening sweet fruit. Choose a Triumph persimmon for late-ripening medium-sized fruits.
Compare Fuyu persimmons for a mild and sweet fruit that ripens late in the summer; Fuyus keep well and the tree is vigorous---it's also the most popular nonastringent cultivar in Japan. Purchase Gosho persimmons (also called Giant Fuyu or O'Gosho) if you want large and pretty fruits---Gosho features one of the deepest red colors of all persimmons, and it's even sweeter than Fuyu. Pick the Izu variety for an attractive orange fruit of medium size with good flavor and a fine texture, or buy Jiro persimmons for large orange-red fruit with excellent flavor---the most popular non-astringent persimmon in California.
Consider an Okugosho persimmon for its medium-size sweet fruit that ripens in November; Okugosho persimmons are vigorous trees that differentiate male flowers, making this variety a suitable pollinator. Choose Suruga for large sweet fruits that ripen in November; the Suruga is recommended for warmer climates.