March 4, 2017
I just bought a 3 gallon Fuyu Persimmon tree and know nothing about pruning fruit trees. I've read about 3 different pruning shapes: open vase, central leader, and modified central leader. Can you recommend one over the others? Also, some sources suggest cutting the top of the tree off when planting at 36" to encourage branching. Would you recommend that? If I just left the tree alone to grow the way it wants to, would it be a taller tree?
When a fruit tree is young is the best time to build branch structure. With persimmons they typically have a more rounded growth habit, with a full body of branches, with more of a modified central leader type of growth. The main thing I would do the first few years is to make sure you have ample space between the branches you are leaving and letting it get some size. Fuyu is a self-fruitful variety so you don’t need another for cross-pollination.
My persimmon tree did not fruit this year. I have two males and one female Persimmon all in close proximity to each other and even in the severe drought years, we had fruit --- lots of it. All my other trees, especially my Walnut, over-produced this year. I have talked with several other folks who have Persimmons and all but one have said the same thing … the one exception said he had fruit, but very, very little and also found that strange. What gives?
I don’t have a good answer. I have seen trees loaded with persimmons across the state
this year. I will make some guesses. Did you have an exceptionally heavy crop last
year? Persimmons can go through what is known as alternate bearing—a heavy crop one
year and little to none the next. It is also possible your tree got hit by a late
frost which could have damaged the blooms. Not much can be done at this point, but
let’s hope for a better year next year.
I planted a persimmon tree 4 years ago and it has become needier than I bargained for. I bought it from an online catalogue, which claimed it was a Japanese persimmon grafted onto American rootstock for disease resistance. It is now 5 feet tall, and growing well, but every summer the leaves become discolored with brownish black networks, and also infested with insects that make a powdery white cocoon and hatch out tiny crawling young. I spray for insects and fungus, which seems to help, but I would like to garden with fewer toxic chemicals. Any management suggestions? I'm tempted to cut the whole thing down and put a banana tree in its place. It has not yet flowered much less made the brilliant orange fruit that made it look so desirable in the first place.
Oriental persimmons typically have few, if any, pest problems. Grafting them onto native persimmons is more for winter hardiness than disease resistance, since they rarely are bothered by disease. I consider them a low maintenance tree. Some varieties are self-fruitful while others do need another tree to cross pollinate with. Usually oriental persimmons are 4-6 years old before they start to bear fruit, and once they do, they should do so annually, although a heavy load one year, may lighten the load the next. The fruits are very showy. As to cutting it down and planting a banana, keep in mind that bananas are moderately winter hardy in central Arkansas and die completely back to the ground each winter if left outdoors, so you will never get fruit on them. Be patient and see what happens.
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