The persimmon tree or Japanese plane tree is a hardy tree with a spreading habit, simple, large, oval and alternate leaves, green in color and turning a beautiful red in the fall. There are trees with male flowers and others with female flowers.
Its delicious fruits, with smooth orange skin, have a great similarity with tomatoes and measure between 2 and 3 inches in diameter. Eaten raw, the Persimmon tree fruit has a somewhat pungent, melting and sometimes crunchy flesh when mature, with a feeling of astringency. Its maturity is translated by a rather soft aspect. The persimmon tree is thus fragile and requires a lot of care in the transport and the marketing.
Plantation of the persimmon trees
Prepare the plantation of the persimmon trees
It is advisable to prepare the planting hole at least one month in advance by means of loosening and fertilizing.
For a bare root subject
- Refresh them slightly, i.e. cut all the roots of a few centimeters, in particular the broken parts.
- Soak them for two hours in “praline”, to facilitate the adhesion with the soil (the “praline” can be made from water, garden soil and manure, or bought in garden centers).
For a tree in a container
- Put the pot in water for at least half an hour, or water copiously.
Where to plant it ?
Persimmon trees are particularly adapted to the Mediterranean climate. However, it can be found as far away as the Paris region in areas where fig trees grow, since it has been seen to withstand brief frosts of up to 0°F. Its late flowering is an asset because spring frosts are not to be feared.
It tolerates all soils, even limestone, but prefers well-draining, slightly acidic, humus-rich soil. Place it in the sun, sheltered from strong winds. To remove the astringency of the fruits, a strong summer heat is recommended.
When to plant the persimmon tree ?
Preferably in autumn or spring.
How to plant it ?
The persimmon tree is an interesting tree for its fruits as well as for its ornament. Do not hesitate to reserve a place of choice in your garden. In isolation, it develops a magnificent branch loaded with red fruits in winter.
- Dig a 20 × 20 pit 15 inches deep and amend with compost or manure.
- Plant a stake and position the tree so that the crown is not buried.
- Fill in the hole and mulch.
Distance between 2 persimmon trees
20 ft meters in all directions. If there is more than one row, an offset between rows allows the best use of space (with a staggered system from three rows up).
Pruning persimmon trees
When to prune ?
Persimmon trees do not need any particular pruning, their growth is slow and their rounded habit very regular. However, some people practice a training and fruiting pruning in March-April.
How to prune ?
The tree can be shaped in a goblet or spindle shape, or even in a devilish palmette shape, in order to increase the sunlight of the branch. In the young tree, it is necessary to select the carpenters and to shorten the extensions in order to reduce their vigor.
Then a pruning of fruiting in hook is practiced on the reduced forms:
- Keep the 2 eyes at the base of the spurs that will produce one fertile and one infertile branch.
- The following winter, remove the branch that produced and prune the other branch to 2 eyes.
An old tree can be pruned back.
Diseases, pests and parasites
It is known to have few parasites except for mealy bugs and the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) which causes the persimmon to rot, especially in the South.
The crown gall Bacterium tumefaciens sometimes causes damage to the crown leading to yellowing of the branch.
Persimmon tree harvesting
When and how to harvest?
Fruiting occurs around the 7th or 8th year of the tree’s life.
The fruits of the varieties rich in tannins are astringent, that is why it is preferable to wait until they become blunt after the passage of a jelly, to consume them with a spoon. The flesh is then unctuous and sweet but the fruit becomes untransportable and keeps for a short time.
It can be harvested while still firm in November and consumed 1 month later. The ripening is done in the fruit tree with the stalk facing down, wrapped in newspaper, until the flesh softens. The proximity of apples accelerates the ripening process.
To spread out the consumption of persimmon, a trick is to place a small amount in an airtight box with an apple for 2 to 4 days. The emission of ethylene by the apple accelerates the ripening.
Non-astringent varieties can be eaten while still firm as an apple. Be aware that the more seeds the fruit contains, the less astringent it is. A good pollination by insects is therefore an asset.
Conservation of the fruit of the persimmon tree
It lasts from a few days to a month depending on the variety and the time of picking. It is possible to freeze the fruit after having washed it, to make sorbets, to dry them or to preserve them.