Persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana) is something a bit different for your garden. Some of the earliest explorers in American valued the tree very much, and so did the Native Americans. They used the fruit that hangs from the tree into the winter mainly for food during cold periods of the year. The tree itself looks very attractive and is greatly valued for the wood as well, not just the fruit.
Interestingly, the bark forms the thick square blocks looks a lot like alligator skin. The wood is strong and resistant and makes great golf club heads, floors, veneers and billiard cues. The fruit, on the other hand, is sweet when you leave it to ripen. The taste is the most similar to that of an apricot. Growing this tree can be a fun and rewarding experience for a home gardener or plant enthusiast. Read on to learn more about the practice of growing a persimmon tree, to have its delicious fruit in your backyard.
Where Does the Persimmon Tree Grow?
The American persimmon tree, which also goes by the name “common persimmon”, is a native plant from Florida, all the way to Connecticut, as well as west to Iowa and south to Texas. You can grow these trees in the USDA plant hardiness between the zones 4 through 9. The resilient tree is able to survive temperatures as low as -25 F or 32 C. In comparison, the Asian persimmon can only tolerate winter temperatures of zero degrees. This type of persimmon is also grown in the United States commercially, and you can find it in nurseries specializing in less common plants that spawn fruits and nuts.
How to grow your own Persimmon Tree?
Currently, you are able to grow persimmon trees from seeds, cuttings, suckers or grafts. When it comes to young seedlings between one and two years of age, you can transplant them to an orchard. However, the best quality will come from grafted or budded trees. One important thing to know for those who wish to know how to grow persimmon trees is the type and number of trees to plant. The American persimmon tree needs both male and female plants to fruit. The Asian variety is self-fruiting, and therefore easier to grow. This is why you should opt for the Asian variety if you have a smaller garden. The good thing is that the right growing conditions for the plant are not so hard to find, because they are not very picky about the soil. They thrive the most in a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. If you plant to plant persimmons of your own, make sure to choose a sunny spot that is well drained. Persimmon trees have very deep taproots, so a deep hole is a must. Mix around 8 inches of soil and loam in the bottom of the hole, and then fill it with loam and native soil. That is everything when it comes to planting.
Care-wise, there is not much to do other than regular watering. Water your young trees well until they are established. After that, keep them watered well when there is no major rainfall and showers, to compensate for the drought period. Do not fertilize the plant unless it is not at all thriving. Feel free to prune the tree to a central leader while it is still young. Once it grows, rather little pruning is necessary as long as the trees bear fruit without any problems.
Now that you have learned everything there is about persimmon trees, are you willing to give them a shot in your garden? As low maintenance as it is, and with tasty fruit, we think you should. You have nothing to lose!