Persimmons are attractive small trees that suit both large and small gardens. Even if you don’t like eating persimmon fruit, the trees are worth growing for their fabulous autumn colour. The leaves turn glorious shades of red, orange and gold before dropping in autumn, often leaving the fruit hanging decoratively on the bare branches.
Traditional persimmon varieties like “Dai Dai Maru” are classed as astringent, which means they can only be eaten when they’re ripe and very soft. Newer varieties like “Fuyu” are non-astringent. Non-astringent varieties can be eaten while the fruit is still firm.
Persimmons are best planted during the cooler months, which will give them as much time as possible to get established before next summer’s heat. The branches are brittle and break easily – especially when weighed down by the fruit – so choose an open, sunny spot that’s sheltered from strong winds.
If planting in an existing lawn, clear grass by spraying with Zero Glyphosate. This leaves no residues so, after the grass has died, it can be dug into the soil to add extra organic matter. Next incorporate some well-rotted compost, some Rainsaver Water Storing Crystals and a couple of handfuls of Dynamic Lifter pellets into the planting area.
Persimmon trees have a reputation for making very slow growth in the early stages but a monthly watering with Dynamic Lifter seaweed right through spring, summer and early autumn will encourage the roots to start growing well.
Persimmon plants often become available for sale with the other deciduous fruit trees in late autumn or early winter, so look out for new season’s stock in the coming months. Or, better still, buy potted plants while they’re in full autumn colour so you can be sure of getting a tree that will give you a good show every year.
Persimmon trees are relatively easy to care for. Keep a good layer of organic mulch over the root system; this will help retain moisture and prevent competitive weeds from growing around the base. Feed in early spring and again in mid summer with Thrive All Purpose plant food or Thrive citrus food. Pests are minimal – birds and bats eating the fruit cause most problems. Fortunately the fruit usually ripens too late to be affected by fruit fly, but it’s still important to clean up fallen fruit to reduce the chances of fruit fly attack. If necessary, spray with Nature’s Way Fruit Fly Control, following directions carefully.
Persimmons don’t need much pruning. Once the tree’s basic shape is established, it can usually be left alone.
This area is for general comments from members of the public. Some questions or comments may not receive a reply from Yates. For specific gardening advice visit Ask an expert Alternatively you may wish to contact us.