The Fuyu Persimmon tree (or Diospyros kaki “Fuyu”) is a fruit bearing tree native to the Orient. It has been nicknamed “divine fruit,” “God’s pear,” or “Nettle tree” from the Greeks believing this tree to have been mentioned by Homer in The Odyssey. There are many different varieties of persimmon trees but the one thing they share in common more than anything is the sour fruit if picked prematurely. When this fruit is fully ripened, it is a delectable treat. The Fuyu is a self pollinating tree but is known to give a much larger fruit yield by having two near one another. The trees are quite tolerant to zones 7 through 11, require very little care and are very ornamental with their red/orange fall foliage. Once fully established and mature, a single tree can produce up to 300 lbs. of fruit!
Choosing a location: Persimmons are widely adaptable when it comes to their soil types. Once they’ve established, they’re incredibly drought resistant as well. Try to select a location where the persimmon will receive full to partial sun and water will not collect or have trouble completely draining. Try to avoid areas prone to heavy winds.
Planting directions (in ground):
1) Make your hole twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep.
2) Arrange your Fuyu tree in the hole at the same depth as it was in the shipping container/pot and begin to pack the soil around the roots until the soil is a little higher than level. The soil will settle after you’ve planted.
3) Water the planting site generously so the soil can fully settle and then spread a 2 inch layer of mulch around to preserve moisture as well as combat competing weeds that may try to grow nearby.
4) You may want to utilize stakes for proper support as the tree is acclimating and getting settled.
Planting directions (potted):
1) Water the tree’s root ball thoroughly before transplanting. This should help reduce the risk of shock.
2) Select a container that is three times the size of the root ball so it can be left undisturbed, will not require immediate re-potting and with plenty of space for several years of growth.
3) Line the bottom of the pot with a couple inches of gravel to ensure there will always be proper drainage, and then cover with a good layer of potting soil.
4) Comb your hands along the edge of the root ball to gently free up the roots.
5) Center the tree into the pot, spread the roots out a bit and then fill in the remaining room with your potting mix. Tamp firmly but take care not to compact the soil or the root growth and water flow will be restricted.
6) Water generously and place the tree in a nice full sun spot where it will remain undisturbed for the growing season. Potted persimmons will need at least 8 hours of full sun exposure.
Watering: Newly ground planted Fuyu Persimmons will require a DEEP watering once a month typically from May to October. Place a garden hose on a slow trickle next to the base of the tree and leave it there for a good thirty minutes. This will allow a deep penetration of moisture to a deeper depth. Potted persimmons will need to be monitored to determine how often to add more water. During the hot season they may need to be watered every day whereas once every several days in the cooler climates. Since you are using a pot that the tree will be living in for some time, try lifting it. If the tree is heavy then chances are that there is still an adequate amount of moisture to the soil. If it’s light, give it some water.
Pruning: Allow at least one full year of growth before attempting to thin the tree out at all. When the time does come to prune, your primary focus is to make sure that there is proper light penetration as well as air circulation. In the summer, when new growth is about 4 inches long, choose 6 to 8 shoots for the tree’s main scaffolding. Try to think of the appearance as you would on the face of a wall clock allowing lots of space for the branching. The lowest of the branches should be about 28-32 inches from the ground . Remove all other branches/shoots at the same time as your pruning. The following winter, cut back about a third of the length of the scaffolding branches. Make these cuts just past outward facing buds on the branch. During dormancy, cut off any dead or damaged branches to maintain health.
Fertilizing: Fertilize your persimmon with an organic fertilizer formula, such as 10-10-10, when you observe fresh growth beginning on the tree. This is usually in the late winter and early spring seasons. The tree will need the highest amount of nutrients when it is starting to push out new growth. Fertilizing is also beneficial to the fruiting process as the nutrients can bolster energy to the tree. The easiest way to determine exactly how much fertilizer to use is by measuring the trunk of the persimmon. Every one inch of diameter will require 1 pound of fertilizer.