Trees can be a resilient, beautiful component of a garden landscape, providing pleasure year after year. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right variety for you, but whether you work on a balcony or several acres, persimmon trees can be a wonderful addition. These beautiful plants have been appreciated for years for their elegance, hardness, fruit and shade.
Being easy to grow is a quality that many gardeners can appreciate. Add that these trees are mostly undisturbed by pests and diseases and that you have a real winner. However, as with all other living things, persimmon trees can be susceptible to problems when conditions are not in their favor or when trees are not in top health.
A number of fungi can cause leaf stains on persimmon leaves and fruits. Although they are ugly and cause premature tapping and rotting, it is not fatal to mature trees and can be treated with fungicides in severe cases.
Although these trees are springy, the usual suspects may appear in the summer ̵
Trees develop on a long crane root, and the different varieties vary in size from small to medium-sized. Mature size can be close to 60 feet long, but they grow slowly and can be held to a more manageable size. We've even seen garden trees in Southern California more than 20 years old that still haven't topped 12 feet high.
Plant different forms give the garden variety and depth, so do not look away with your trees. Persimmon trees can be narrow, oval or rounded, and if you live in a cold winter area where the trees are deciduous, in the fall you will be treated to a striking shade of red, yellow and orange.
As the season progresses and the leaves have fallen, you get a second view, this time showcasing a network of branches lit with light orange fruits, and a dark luggage compartment, which upon closer inspection is clearly coarse and blocky. Fragrant, white spring blossoms precede the light green leaves of spring which turn dark green in summer.
Delicious Fruit and Prolific Fruits
While Native American persimmons have been around for a long time, Asian varieties are more common in the markets and for home fruit production. But if you see persimmons in the grocery store, you think you're happy. The trees can produce so much fruit that they weigh down branches, but they are very perishable and may not make the trip as often to your place.
The fruits are rounded, with a slightly pointed bottom, and fall into two categories — Stringy or non-strenuous. Astringent fruits must ripen completely before eating, otherwise the tannins in your skin will make your mouth pucker. When fully ripe, the fruits become very soft and the meat can scoop out to eat either fresh or cooked in sweet breads, puddings and cakes.
If picked before maturity, you can finish ripening in the kitchen by storing them in a container with an apple or other fruit that produces ethylene gas.
Non-astringent varieties are sharp and sweet and can be eaten out of hand when the color has deepened to rich orange. They are often more flattened, shaped like a mini pump or a tomato. They come in seeds or seed varieties and often show small, wide patches in the flesh that resemble a sprinkle of cinnamon.
A variety of fruits will harvest time may leave you wondering what you can do other than give them to friends and neighbors – who may also suffer the same propensity as you, as we have witnessed in some Southern California neighborhoods. If you find yourself a "victim" of the persimmon flow, try to put them in the freezer for future satisfaction. These firm fruits become soft and scoopable after a stint in the freezer, so you can take a break and enjoy them later.
While persimmon is remarkably tough, as with other plants in your garden, the trees have some requirements that should be followed to turn them into long-lived, healthy parts of your landscape. Whether you choose a bare root or potted plant, you need to find a place that gets at least six hours full sun and moist but well-drained soil. They tolerate a variety of soil types, from sand to clay, and even adjust your soil pH levels. Once established, they are even drought tolerant, which saves a little on your water bills.
Persimmon trees are fantastic additions to your landscape, providing fruit, shade, scent and beauty.