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Native and Oriental Persimmon Trees

PERSIMMONS



KAKI PERSIMMONS

Diospyros kaki


The name Diospyros  in context means more or less "Divine Fruit" or "Divine Food" and is an apt description for the wonderful persimmon.  Persimmons are one of the most widely planted fruits in the world (the majority of the acreage is is Asia) and are a member of the Ebony family (known for their hard wood: persimmon was used for golf club heads).  The American persimmon is native to the east and grows wild from Florida to the Northeast U.S. and has a small fruit with an excellent, nutty sweet flavor.  However, if it is eaten unripe, it has alum in the flesh and is very astringent (makes your mouth feel like cotton).  

We offer a selection of the very best new varieties of Kaki (Asian) persimmons of both astringent (must be eaten soft and completely ripe) and non-astringent (can be eaten hard like an apple with no astringency).  Kaki are extremely popular in Asia - they consider them like Americans do apples - a persimmon a day keeps the doctor away!  

The flavor of persimmons is unique.  Non-astringent cultivars can be eaten when still firm/hard and yellow-orange in color, with a crisp texture and soft flavor (great in fruit salads!).  When completely ripe and red in color, they have an incredibly rich, sweet flavor.  Astringent varieties often have more intense sweet flavor, but must be eaten soft (as we say, in the bathtub!).  They are truly a unique and wonderful fruit!

We acquired our persimmon collection directly from Japan.  My father, Dr. A.T. Wallace, had a Japanese graduate student at the University of Florida that sent the 30 best varieties from the Okitsu Research Station near Tokyo to my father as a gift when he returned to Japan.  My grandfather, Dr. Bob Dunstan, grafted them off to wild persimmons growing on our farm and these are the original introductions of some of the best varieties that Japan has to offer.  Our collection is unique to American horticulture and we have sold tens of thousands of persimmon trees over the last 30 years to growers all over the U.S.  

The most common commercial varieties grown today are Hachiya (astringent, conical shape) and Fuyu (non-astringent, flat shape).  However, there are excellent new varieties that we offer that have better flavor, or ripen earlier than these varieties.   There are several very cold hardy cultivars that can be grown in protected locations as far north as PA and NY, especially in the milder microclimates along the coast. Kaki thrive throughout the South.

Kaki Persimmons are a profitable orchard crop.  Grown commercially in California (primarily the variety Jiro, but sold as Fuyu), orchards of non-astringent varieties can produce yields of up to 10,000 lbs/acre and bring prices of $1.00/lb or more wholesale.  Persimmons are fairly easy to grow, with few major pests.  Non-astringent cultivars can be harvested while just showing color and shipped readily in standard fruit packing boxes.  Even astringent varieties, when picked still hard, will ripen completely on the shelf over several weeks, making it an easy crop to bring to market.

"For a supply of persimmons which lasts until harvest the following October, I fill a freezer with the fully ripened Saijo, Gionbo and Hachiya using small sandwich-sized freezer bags.  The persimmons are frozen whole after removing the stems. I received wood to propagate persimmons from Dr. Dunstan in the late 1960s." Robert C. Stump, DeRidder, LA, Pomona Fall 2009 Vol. XLII No. 4.

We only sell container-grown persimmons.  The native American persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, is very deeply tap-rooted and has little side branching, unless grown in a root-enhancing container.  Our trees will have a much better transplant rate than field-grown persimmons.

Kaki persimmons are one of the true delicacies in the world of growing fruit. Asian cultures have revered this fruit for thousands of years.  Now we have the opportunity to enjoy the incredible diversity and flavors of these fruit in the U.S.! 

Site Selection

Persimmons tolerate a variety of soils, but like so many plants, they perform best in a well-drained sandy loam of pH 6.0-7.0.  Pick a planting site with good soil drainage and do not plant in the bottom of swales or areas that stay saturated for long periods of time. Most trees do not grow well in wet soils.  Also, avoid frost pockets (bottom of valley) because late frosts can hurt fruit production, especially in northern locations. Prepare the area by removing an weeds prior to planting.  This step is often overlooked but is absolutely critical to any successful planting.  Weeds and grass steal light, water and nutrients from your trees.

 

Planting

Plant your persimmons in full sun in a hole slightly larger than the container it was grown and big enough to spread out the roots. Roughen up the sides of the hole to encourage the rots to grow into the surrounding soil. (A smooth surface can keep roots circling round and round.) If planting in heavy clay soils, break up the ground under and around the hole, so that the tree in not planted in a bath tub. Roots need oxygen to be able to breathe.

Carefully remove the tree from the pot keeping the soil around the roots intact.  Backfill with unamended soil, filling in under the roots to avoid leaving any air pockets.  Make sure the graft union is a few inches above soil level. Bare root trees will have a noticeable color difference between the roots and the trunk.  Plant  at the dept of this color difference.  Set the tree in the middle of the hole. Using some soil, secure the tree in a straight position. 

We recommend creating a water-holding basin around the hole and water the trees in thoroughly at planting. Remove the berm at the end of the second growing season.  Water slowly at the drip-line.   Water in thourghly making sure there are no air pockets around the roots. Air pockets prevent roots from growing into the soil around it. After the water has soaked in, spread a protective layer of mulch 2-4" deep around the trunk pulling the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to keep the moisture from accumulating next to the bark. Choices for mulch, leaf litter, hay, shredded or fine bark,  or pine needles.


Because persimmons leaf out based on number of hours exposed to warmth rather than on exposure to chilling, they can be slower than most.  In some areas, a newly planted persimmon may not break dormancy until late spring in warmer climates and summer in cooler climates.

Your climate plays an important role in whether a persimmon tree will produce fruit or even survive.  We have persimmon trees that grow well between plant hardiness Zones 6-9. Before ordering a variety, be sure the trees recommend hardiness zone range includes your area.


Fertilization

The best time to fertilize fruit trees is during the growing season, starting in early spring (after bud-break) and finishing by July.  Fertilizing too late in the season can cause trees to grow when they should be shutting down for the winter.   This tender new growth, when pushed too late in the season, is also more susceptible to winter injury. Use a balanced time released fertilizer.

Harvest

Kaki persimmons fruit ripens from late August until early December, depending on the variety, climate and region.. Fruit is harvest by hand clipping, when it has attained the proper color, but is still firm.  Fruit then is ripened at room temperature, or can be stored under refrigeration.





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Products 1-10 of 10
American Persimmon Seedling American Persimmon
Availability: Pick-up Only
Price: $5.45


Item #: American Persimmon Seedling - A wild native persimmon with a rich, nutty, amaretto flavor that attracts deer and wildlife.
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    Fuyu-Gaki Persimmons
    Availability: Out of Stock
    Price: $24.95


    Item #: Fuyu-Gaki Persimmons - Fuyu-Gaki Persimmon. The most widely planted cultivar in the world. When fully ripe, this fruit turns a crimson red with a blue blush. An excellent variety in all respects and is the favorite...
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      Gionbo Persimmon
      Availability: Pick-up Only
      Price: $24.95


      Item #: Gionbo Persimmon - Gionbo is an excellent very large (4-5"), conical, astringent persimmon that is far superior to the old variety Tanenashi that is known around the south. Excellent sweet flavor, good texture. You...
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        Great Wall Persimmon
        Availability: Pick-up Only
        Price: $24.95


        Item #: Great Wall Persimmon - Persimmon discovered on the Great Wall, very cold hardy with astringent, medium-sized fruit. Great Wall was discovered by Plant Geographer J. Russell Smith on the Great Wall in China in the 1930s. We have trees from that original tree that have been growing on our farm since Dr. Dunstan...
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          Ichi-Ki-Kei-Jiro Persimmon
          Availability: Pick-up Only
          Price: $24.95


          Item #: Ichi Persimmon - Ichi-ki-kei-jiro, which means "first life from Jiro", is a sport of this popular variety. Ichi is early to ripen September-October, non-astringent and an excellent cultivar with dwarf growth habit....
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            Izu Persimmon
            Availability: Pick-up Only
            Price: $24.95


            Item #: Izu Persimmon - Izu is a dwarf tree that bears excellent, medium-sized non-astringent fruit. It has good disease resistance and ripens early in September. Bears only female flowers, so few seeds. Good commercial...
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              Jiro Persimmon
              Availability: Pick-up Only
              Price: $24.95


              Item #: Jiro Persimmon - Jiro, from the Jiro Prefecture in Japan, is one of the best non-astringent cultivars. It is the cultivar widely grown in California that is marketed as Fuyu. Large fruit, Ripens in late October,...
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                Matsumoto Persimmon
                Availability: Pick-up Only
                Price: $24.95


                Item #: Matsumoto Persimmon - Also known as Matsumoto Wase-Fuyu, it is slightly larger and rounder than Fuyu. Non-astringent, ripens slightly earlier in Late-October to Mid-November. Excellent variety, both for commercial and...
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                  Saijo Persimmon
                  Availability: Pick-up Only
                  Price: $24.95


                  Item #: Saijo Persimmon - The name 'Saijo' translates to "the very best one." The name 'Saijo' translates to "the very best one". It is astringent, medium-sized (3" long) and egg-shaped, with incredible rich flavor. Very cold hardy, ripens in Mid-Sept to Mid-October. When you...
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                    Sheng Persimmon
                    Availability: Pick-up Only
                    Price: $24.95


                    Item #: Sheng Persimmon - Sheng is a flat, quadranted astringent dwarf persimmon with excellent firm flesh and a very rich nutty sweet flavor different than many kaki varieties. unique shape fruit. Superb cultivar, very cold...
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                      Products 1-10 of 10