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Persimmon Fact Sheet
  • Family: Ebenaceae
  • Genus: Diospyros
  • Commercially important species:
    • Oriental or japanese persimmon (fruit): D. kaki
    • American persimmon (rootstock): D. viginiana
    • Date plum (rootstock): D. lotus
    • Rootstock: D. oleifera

Oriental or Japanese Persimmon D. kaki

  • Description: Deciduous tree; dioecious to monoecious but androdioecious and tri-monoecious ones exist. Most cultivars pistillate or pistillate-sporadically. Certain cultivars in certain environmental conditions can set fruit parthenocarpically. Insect (bee) pollination. Hand pollination sometimes required for good fruit set.
    Origin: Central China.
    History of cultivation: Thousands of years ago in China and about 1300 years ago in Japan.
  • Major producers: China, Japan, Brazil, Korea and Italy. Minor producers: Israel, U.S.A., New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Georgia, Egypt and Chile.
  • Site requirements: Temperate to tropical. Tolerant of high temperature. Low chilling requirement. Best on deep fertile medium texture soil with water tables below 350 mm but heavy soils are successful . Drought tolerant but needs water for good crop.

Cultivation in California

  • History: 1870 to 1920 introductions of Japanese and Chinese cultivars by the USDA. Once grown in Gulf States but now only in San Joaquin Valley in CA.
  • Present acreage: 1,610 (1994) Irrigation: Flood, furrow, microsprinkler
  • Cultivars: Hachiya (most common in CA), astringent, parthenocarpic, vigorous; Fuyu, nonastringent, parthenocarpic but pollination will increase fruit set and improve skin coloration;
  • Rootstocks: Seedling rootstocks. D. lotus, most widely used; D. kaki, old orchards; D. virginiana, tolerant of excess moisture and drought but not uniform and prone to suckers.
  • Propagation: Grafting and budding onto seedling rootstocks. Vegetative propagation is possible.
  • Spacing: Depends on cultivar, soil depth and fertility. Fuyu, 12-18 feet; Hachiya, 20 by 20 to 24 by 24 ft.
  • Training systems: Modified central leader is common. Renewal pruning, 'Y' and palmette training systems increases productivity and quality.
  • Nutrition: Benefits from nitrogen application (1lb. per mature tree per year) but excess nitrogen may decrease productivity. Leaf analysis levels used in Japan: nitrogen 2.22-3.15%, phosphorus 0.11-0.16%, potassium 1.47-3.86%, calcium 0.92-2.78%, magnesium 0.22-0.77%
  • Harvest period: September 25 to December 10

Production Problems

  • Environmental: Sunburn, wind damage, fruit drop. Humidity stress leads to staining and cuticular cracking. Water stress, both too much and too little.
  • Bearing Habit: Prone to fluctuations in bearing. Bearing cycle may be biennial to several years. Appears to be a physiological response to heavy crop load, environmental stress and physical damage to reproductive organs. Pruning, especially the 'Y' training system, reduces fluctuation in yield.
  • Insect/Pest: In CA, Citrus mealybug (Panoccus citri), Orange tortrix (Argyrotaenia citrana), Schizuva concinna, olive scale (Parlatoria oleae).
  • Disease: In CA, Crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens) and stem pitting disease (possible virus).

Research

  • None in California.
  • Breeding objectives in Japan and New Zealand: Selection for fruit quality, enhanced fruit set and reduced alternate bearing. Rootstock development for increased drought, flood and soil adaption.

References

  • Growing Persimmons. (1982) University of California Division of Agricultural Sciences, Leaflet 21277
  • Persimmon culture in New Zealand. (1984) H. Kitagawa and P.G. Glucina. Science Information Publishing Centre, Wellington, NZ
  • Persimmon. (1994) Alistar D. Mowat and Alan P. George. Chapter 8 in Physiology of Subtropical Fruit Crops, CRC Press, Inc.

Prepared by Anne M. Gillen for Pomology 170A, 12/95