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Growing and Harvesting Persimmons
For best results, it is best to plant two varieties for pollination purposes even if the variety is considered self fruitful. With pollination, the trees bear larger fruits. This also promotes a better fruit set. The best pollinators are generally honeybees.
Persimmons are generally easy to grow, low maintenance plant that require little routine care. The plants usually have a slow growth rate, although this will be somewhat faster if the spot has rich soil. The Asian varieties can be grown in large tubs and in shrub borders.
If possible, avoid planting bare-root persimmon trees. These are less likely to survive than balled-and-burlapped or container-grown ones. Persimmons can be grown from seeds. However, vegetative propagation typically results in superior plants. These can be propagated by various methods, including root cuttings, layering, budding, and grafting.
When planting, allow about 35 feet between the native persimmon trees. Asian trees only need 15 to 20 feet of space.
Persimmons are adapted to city conditions. Most need full sun. These will withstand a wetter soil than most other fruit trees. In general, persimmons prefer fairly well drained soil. But they are suitable for most soil types. The Asian persimmon abhors soils that are high in boron.
Usually, it is best to avoid over-fertilizing persimmon trees. Adding too much fertilizer can result in premature fruit drop. Monitor the plants to see if they grow a foot or so per year. If so, they need no fertilizer. The easiest method of supplying additional nutrients is to top dress with compost, which can be done any time of the year.
Persimmons aren’t usually prone to serious attacks by diseases or insects for the most part. However, the native tree can sometimes experience persimmon wilt, which is a kind of fungus.
Although the trees are known to be drought resistant once they’re well established, it is beneficial to water them in order for the plants to bear good fruit crops. Generally, they require a minimum of pruning. The Asian trees benefit from fruit thinning for the plants can bear heavy crops. As a matter of fact, the limbs will likely need support.
Named varieties of persimmons usually begin bearing about two to three years after planting. For seedlings, this can take from six to 10 years. Depending on the species or variety, a typical mature tree can produce 30 to 50 pounds of fruit per year.
American persimmons will generally fall from the tree when they’re ripe.
Harvest the Asians by cutting the stem. The time of harvest depends upon the species or variety. Generally, persimmons taste best when they’re slightly shriveled.
The astringent varieties of Asian persimmons can be harvested when the skin turns transparent. These can typically stay on the tree as long as the temperatures are above the 20s. The astringent fruits will often be sweeter and better colored in hot areas.
The non-astringent Asians can be harvested when they’re still crisp and firm and have developed all their full color. Suitable varieties include Saijo, Fuyu, Gosho, Jiro, and Hana Fuyu. The non-astringent ones perform best in warm climates for the longer growing season gives them enough time to ripen.
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