Questions and considerations about planting trees considered to be deer hunter’s gold
QUESTION: Bob, I want to plant persimmon trees in my food plots. How hard is it to raise them, and do persimmons require any special treatment other than keeping the deer off of them? - Sterling M.
ANSWER: According to Bob Wallace of Realtree Nurseries, there are two different species that grow in the east.
The American persimmon (D. virginiana) is native, and will grow from Southern Michigan all the way to Florida. The Asian persimmon (D. kaki), including its many varieties, is native to China, Korea and Japan, but is widely available from plant nurseries in the U.S.
American persimmons are dioecious, meaning plants are either male or female. Only females produce fruit.
If you buy un-grafted American nursery stock, you might need to plant four or five in order to increase the chances at least one is a female.
Grafted nursery stock is a better option because all stock is fruit producing. Furthermore, nurseries use mature wood to graft with, so grafted trees will produce fruit in one to two years, as opposed to four or five.
Container-grown stock is also a better option, because bare root stock will result in very poor fibrous root branching and poorer transplant success.
Your other option is to buy Asian stock, all of which should produce fruit. In this case it’s important to select the right variety for your geographic location.
Different cultivars do better in certain temperature zones. Their ripening dates also vary, so pick one that best suits your preferred hunting season.
The following is a quick reference to some of the more common varieties and their optimal zones:
Ichi - ripens in September, zones 7-9.
Great Wall - ripens in September and October, zones 6-9.
Fuyu-gaki - ripens in October and November, zones 8-10.
Jiro - ripens in October and November, zones 6-10.
Saijo - ripens in early November, zones 6-9.
Persimmons are fairly hardy and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, but do best in full sunlight, moderately or well-drained, neutral pH soils.