COMMON NAMES: JAPANESE PERSIMMON
Diospyros kaki (dye-OSS-pear-os KAH-ki)
Ebonaceae (Persimmon or Ebony Family)
Deciduous fruit tree
HEIGHT: 20 to 30 feet
SPREAD: 20 to 30 feet
FINAL SPACING: 15 to 30 feet
NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Native to China and Japan but it adapts to a wide range of soils here in Texas as long as there is moisture in the soil but good positive drainage at the same time.
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: Japanese persimmon fruit is smaller than our common persimmon but is larger than our Texas persimmon. Leaves are large and the fruit are apple size.
FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Spring flowers are inconspicuous, fruit are large, edible orange-red in the fall, 2 to 4 inches in diameter, rounded and sometimes egg-shaped depending on the cultivar, seedless for the most part. Japanese persimmon fruit ripens on the tree after the leaves have fallen.
BARK: Light brown to a medium brown when young but becomes darker and heavier textured as the tree matures.
FOLIAGE: Alternate, simple, 3 to 7 inches long, oval to heart- shaped, smooth margin, generally thick, shiny and dark green. Fall color can be quite showy and range from yellows to oranges to reds.
CULTURE: Japanese persimmons grow well in most well-drained soils, cannot take wet feet or poor drainage. They respond to fertilization, mulching and other parts of the Basic Organic Program. Pruning is done as with most trees for your benefit, not the tree’s. This tree is fairly difficult to transplant but easy to establish bare-rooted or as a container grown plant.
PROBLEMS: Persimmon are sometimes attacked by insect and disease pests but most are cosmetic and can be controlled or prevented with the Basic Organic Program.
PROPAGATION: Propagation is done by grafting selected cultivars onto common persimmon seedlings.
INSIGHT: ‘Ureka’ is a flat-shaped fruit cultivar on small easy to grow trees. ‘Hachiya’ is a medium-sized tree with large cone- shaped colorful seedless fruit. ‘Tane-nashi’ is an excellent moderately productive tree. ‘Tamopan’ produces a flattened fruit with a ring constriction near the middle. ‘Fuyu’ and ‘Fuyugaki’ are nonastringent choices that can be eaten even slightly green without the pucker. They have the texture of an apple and they are also self pollinating. ‘Izu’ is another nonastringent selection that has been recently introduced to the Dallas market, and is supposedly more cold tolerant.