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Plant Manual for Meader American Persimmon

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Plant Description

Productive trees yield superb-tasting fruit. Ideal for fresh eating. Also good for salads, cakes, breads, cookies, pies, and jams. Developed in New Hampshire by Professor Meader. Smooth, deep-green leaves turn a gorgeous rusty red in the fall — a spectacular sight in the landscape, especially when accompanied by the ripe glowing-orange fruit. Cold hardy. Ripens in September to late fall. Grafted. Self-pollinating.


Plants grown in a greenhouse must be acclimated carefully before planting or placing them outdoors. This is especially true in hot or sunny locations. Many species should never be grown in full sun. Before purchasing a plant, learn about its sun requirements. Knowing the plants requirements can avoid any damage to the plant by incorrectly giving it the wrong conditions.

If your plant has been grown in a greenhouse, here are a few steps we recommend you follow:

  • After purchasing your plant, place it outside in a sheltered, shady spot or on your back porch.
  • Leave it there for 3-4 hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by 1-2 hours per day.
  • Bring the plants back indoors each night.
  • Water it regularly to keep the plant moist.
  • Occasionally spray the leaves with water.
  • After 2-3 days, move the plants from their shady spot into morning sun, returning them to the shade in the afternoon.
  • After 7 days, the plants should be able to handle the outdoor temperatures, if they stay around 50 degress F.
  • After 7-10 days, your plant is ready to be planted in its permanent location. Try to do this on a cloudy day and be sure to water the plant well.
  • Observe foliage daily. If any type of leaf discoloration occurs, put the plant back into filtered light and attempt this step at a later date.
  • Special care must be taken to avoid burning the leaves.

These are general guide recommendations. Some plants take longer than others to acclimate.


Successfully establishing a young fruit tree in your yard starts with your planting site and method. Once a fruit tree is established, it needs little assistance to grow and bear fruit; but you’ll want to make sure you give your trees the right foundation.

Fruit trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. If the soil pH where you plant your tree is 6.0-7.0, you’re in good shape. Persimmons prefer well-drained and slightly acidic soil.

Location and Spacing

Ideal location should receive full sun, although partial shade may be tolerated. Spacing varys, depending on the variety.

American: 30-50 feet apart
Oriental: 15-20 feet apart
Ichi-Ki-Kei-Jiro: 8-10 feet apart


Persimmons have a strong taproot. Don’t be alarmed at the color of the roots. They naturally appear black and should not be considered diseased or dead.

  • Dig a hole big enough to accommodate the root system.
  • Bare root should be planted same depth as in the nursery row (or no more than 1-inch below).
  • For potted trees, dig the hole 4 times the width of the roots and ½ times the depth.
  • Potted should be planted at same depth as grown in pot.
  • Position tree in planting hole and fill with original soil.
  • Water the tree deeply allowing the water to soak down to the roots.
  • DO NOT fertilize at planting time.
  • Mulch the entire planting area, pulling the mulch a few inches away from the trunk to keep moisture from accumulating next to the bark.
  • No pruning is necessary at planting time.


Our best advice at planting time: do not fertilize. Young persimmon trees are very sensitive to fertilizers. After a few years, if the mature leaves are not deep green and shoot growth is less than a foot per year, apply a balanced fertilizer (such as a 10-10-10) in late winter or early spring.

Keep in mind that with persimmons, excessive fertilizing may cause premature fruit drop.

Insects and Diseases

Every fruit tree has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your tree encounters. If available, disease-resistant trees are the best option for easy care; and for all trees, proper maintenance (such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, spraying, weeding, and fall cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.

Crown Gall

Trees appear stunted and slow growing. Leaves may be reduced in size. Little or no fruit. If plant is dead, inspect roots for hard, woody tumors. Note: many things can cause stunted trees.


  • Consult County Extension Agent

Leaf Spot

Appear as small brown or purple spots on leaves. Leaves may turn yellow and fall. Weakens the tree.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control


Tan to gray, 1/16” hard, scaly shell covers developing young. Usually on the bark of young twigs and branches, may also be on fruit. Sap feeding weakens the tree. Control during the dormant season and at 1/2” green in needed.

Natural Control

  • Rub off with burlap

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent


Appears as black spots on leaves, may fall from bottom upwards. Other symptoms may include black sunken spots on leaf stalks and lesions on bark.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control
  • Rake and burn leaves each fall

Fruit Drop

Caused by excessive vegetative growth. Too much fertilizer can produce excess growth, as can too much pruning.

Natural Control

  • Decrease Nitrogen and reduce pruning

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent


Susceptible in winter.

Natural Control

  • Paint trunk with white, water-based paint, or use a tree guard

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Persimmon Phylloxera

Small insect appear that feeds on leaves. Causes little damage except for deformed leaves.


  • Consult County Extension Agent

Persimmon Trunk Borer

Insects tunnel into the trunk of young trees near soil line.

Natural Control

  • Dig out with thin wire or cut out with sharp knife.

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent


Adults are ¼“ long, flat, oval shaped with a white waxy covering. Yellow to orange eggs are laid within an egg sac. Crawlers are yellow to brown in color. Over winters as an egg or very immature young in or near a white, cottony egg sac, under loose bark or in branch crotches, mostly found on north side. Damage is by contamination of fruit clusters with egg sacs, larvae, adults and honeydew, which promotes growth of black sooty mold.


  • Consult County Extension Agent


Adults are tiny, white winged insects found mainly on the underside of leaves. Nymph emerge as white, flat, oval shapes. Larvae are the size of a pinhead. Suck plant juices from leaves causing them to turn yellow, appear to dry or fall off plants.

Natural Control

  • Traps

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent


Tiny, slender, fringed wing insects ranging from 1/25 to 1/8” long. Nymphs are pale yellow and highly active and adults are usually black or yellow-brown, but may have red, black or white markings. Feed on large variety of plants by puncturing them and sucking up the contents.

Natural Control

  • Traps

Other Control Options

  • Consult County Extension Agent


Pinpoint size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing.


  • Consult County Extension Agent

Root Rot

It causes weak plant growth and the development of small yellow leaves. Terminal growth may be stunted or die back. Plants often collapse and die during hot weather.


  • Consult County Extension Agent


Most potted fruit trees need very little initial pruning, but as the trees get older, corrective pruning may be necessary. For your persimmons, keep these pointers in mind:

  • The best time to prune is late winter or early spring, when the tree is dormant.
  • To improve structure and reduce the chance of alternate bearing, prune once a year.
  • Corrective pruning consists of removing broken, interfering, dead, or diseased branches.
  • Trim all other branches by 1/3 to a bud that is facing the direction you would like the tree to grow. An open vase shape is best.


Spraying is important to the survival of your trees. To handle potential diseases and pests, reference the guidelines below to know what you should spray, and when you should use it.

Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control for anthracnose and leaf spot.


Persimmon roots grow slowly. To achieve optimal growth and quality fruit, regular watering is required. Water your persimmon tree for 10 minutes once or twice a week in the spring and summer. Persimmon trees will withstand short periods of drought. Your climate will dictate whether more or less watering is needed.


Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown fruit? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the fruits of your labor: the best time to pick the fruit from your tree, and how to store the fruit.

When to Harvest

You can begin harvesting in September through late November. Some experts say that the fruit will fully ripen after the first frost of the season. Fruit color will vary from light yellow-orange to dark orange-red. When harvesting persimmons, it is best to use a shallow tray especially if your fruit is very soft. The fruit cannot handle a lot of weight and you may end up crushing the ones on the bottom.

Astringent varieties must be very soft before they are fit to eat. You can allow them to soften on the tree but it is best to harvest when hard and fully colored. This will keep away the birds, deer and other animals that get into trees.

Non-Astringent varieties can be eaten when still crisp and should be harvested when they have their full deep color and are firm. They will continue to ripen off the tree and allowing them to soften at room temperatures will help with the taste.

Annual average yield per tree is 1 bushel, 15-20 pounds at age 10.


Persimmons will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.


Most varieties and sizing (dwarf, semi-dwarf, standard) of fruit trees can be espaliered. When given a choice, go with dwarf or semi-dwarf. You will hear the term cordon mentions when talking about espalier styles, meaning a single stem-like arm. You may have multiple cordons or arms in espalier patterns. Use 12” between your cordons if you have a small space to plant your tree. Use 18” between cordons if you are trying to cover a larger area. Start with a simple espalier pattern such as a double or triple-tiered cordon. As you gain experience you can then move on to the more advanced styles.
Certain espalier styles naturally do better with specific fruit trees.
The Oriental persimmon is one of the best for large, informal espalier.

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Which option is best for me?

Bare-root Trees

Trees that are shipped without soil to ensure good contact with soil in your yard. When shipped, they are about 3-4' tall with 3/8" or larger trunk diameter. When they mature, they will be one of three sizes*:


Matures to be about 8-10' tall and wide. Provides an abundance of full-size fruit.


Matures to be about 12-15' tall and wide. Gives maximum fruit yield per square foot.


Matures to be about 15-25' tall and 20' wide. A multi-purpose fruit and shade tree.

Stark Supreme Tree®

Top-grade, bare-root trees that give you a head start on growing. When shipped, they are about 4-5' tall with 5/8" or larger trunk diameter.

EZ Start® Potted Trees

Trees in bottomless pots that allow some roots to be air pruned, so that a dense mass of productive, feeder roots can grow within the pot to make transplanting easier. Mature sizes vary. When shipped, they are about 1-2' tall.

Select EZ Start® Potted Trees

Top-grade, potted trees chosen to give you a head start on growing. When shipped to you, they are about 3-4' tall.

*Tree sizes may vary by variety. See our Growing Guide for details.