Two types of persimmon trees are commonly developed in the western United States, Japanese or Oriental persimmon (Diospyros kaki) and American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana). The oriental species produces larger fruit, but the American species is much larger and more cold tolerant. The size of mature persimmon trees is based on the species and cultivars, but a lot of them grow to heights of up to 30 feet or taller.
American persimmon trees may grow up to 60 feet tall with a 25 to 30 foot spread. Often utilized in landscapes as a decorative tree, they do create edible fruit. The flowers are white to yellowish and generally look in march. This deciduous persimmon tree grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 though 9, producing oval glossy-green, 6-inch leaves which turn yellow or pink in autumn. The fruit is round, 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and yellow. Trees need both male and female trees for pollination and to set fruit.
Oriental persimmon attains heights of 25 to 30 feet tall with about a 25 foot spread. This assortment of persimmon grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 though 10, producing oval, dark green leaves which turn, red, yellow and orange in autumn. In winter bright-red 3- to 4-inch fruits appear and remain on the tree through winter if not picked. Trees do set fruit without pollination, but pollinated trees create a sweeter, tastier and more abundant crop.
Astringent and Non-Astringent Fruit
Depending on number, persimmon trees may create astringent or non-astringent fruit. Both American and Oriental persimmon trees create astringent or bitter fruit, which are just sweet and delicious when allowed to fully ripen. Fully ripe persimmons are soft with a mushy consistency. Non-astringent persimmons are crunchy and firm when ripe and frequently eaten like an apple sliced into salads. The cultivar “Fuyu” produces smooth, non-astringent orange-red persimmons.
Attention of Persimmon Trees
Oriental and American persimmons trees are simple to grow and tolerate a number of soils when grown in areas with good drainage. Persimmon trees prefer full sunlight, but do tolerate partial shade. They withstand some drought, but intense drought may cause premature fruit drop. The persimmon fruit is larger and much better quality once the tree is given routine water; many trees require about 36 to 48 inches of water annually. Trees require small fertilization, as too much nitrogen causes fruit fall. You can apply balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer under the tree canopy in late winter or early spring, using one pound of fertilizer per each inch of trunk diameter at ground level. The persimmon tree requires about 7 to 8 years to mature to full size and bear fruit.