Bad luck with persimmons

I’m on my fourth persimmon tree. I started with a Giant Fuyu and Coffeecake in 2019, both dying from what I presume was due to novice hole preparation mistakes, root rot caused by heavy rains, and intense summer heat. I then got a Giombo from JFE which barely lasted a month due to being fried from the same heat.

Now, on the fourth, I got a replacement Giombo from JFE and planted it in September as the summer started winding down. I gave it 30% shade protection, painted the trunk white with IV Organics, planted in a new area away from the previous persimmons, and amended the 7.0 - 7.5 ph with equal amounts of native clay and in-ground soil with some starter fertilizer + mycorrhizae. It came out of winter dormancy strong and looked to have a promising year. Now with the rainy season winding down and the 90F+ central Texas temps starting, I’m afraid it’s suffering a similar fate as the first two. First, a few stunted, pinkish white leaves defoliated as expected. At the start of June, some leaf yellowing began in the veins of smaller leaves and spread outwards. It’s been defoliating almost five leaves a day now. Some of these fallen leaves have only yellowed slightly in the veins, which is what’s starting to concern me.

I know P+K are almost absent in my soil. There’s a mild amount of N. I was planning on holding back on fertilizer this year since it’s a new plant and I know persimmons tend to be sensitive in that regards. Can anyone help troubleshoot what the issue may be this time? The leaves have looked wilted since breaking dormancy, but they have been a healthy dark green up until now and from the few pictures I can find, the Giombo seems to have a weeping tendency.

No other trees in my yard - namely banana, pawpaws (shaded), medlar, and pomegranate - are having issues.

Gallery along with descriptions:

June 3rd - At the peak of its performance. Decline happened over the next couple of weeks.
June 22nd - As it looks today. Removed shade cover, painted more of the trunk and branches white, and swapped out the hardwood mulch.
Veins 1 - Close-up of the leaves. Note the lower two in the background that are most yellow. Those are the first to drop.
Veins 2 - Another close-up. The large one on the right in the foreground with yellow splotches between the veins dropped at this stage.
Fallen Leaves - Some leaves I recovered off the ground at the end of the day. More dried up than if they were picked fresh, but they give a general indication at what stage they’re falling off.

How much water does it get and how dry does the soil get? What sort of root system did it have when planted?

Well this might be your problem.

Fruit drop is caused by EXCESSIVE nitrogen. You definetely still need nutrients for healthy growth.

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Watered for 5 minutes from the drip-line outwards to 3ft. when top 2" are dried out. Roughly, every four days. However, I’ve only had to do it several times earlier this year due to regular rainfall. There was a week mid-May that saw 5" of rain which is why I’m suspecting root rot again.

I’ve had bad luck getting small persimmon established without tree tubes in heat and drying winds…those 10 percent humidity days and high UV. They handle the rain fine, but not the dry heat. By the time they start popping out of a 2’ tube (and have put down some roots) along with a weed fabric that keeps the soil from drying too much, they handle it much better. Persimmon seem to love heat if they don’t dry out. That tree is a bit bigger but maybe not established enough to handle the heat yet? Hopefully others in your climate will chime in.

Forgot to mention in the previous post about the root system. Most of the soil broke away from the roots at planting time 9 months ago. The 4gal container was clearly oversized. The Giombo variety purportedly does well in my region according to Edible Landscaping.

How about using Texas A&M extension services as your resource?

You may want to call them for advice.

Also, if you are concerned about your soil, plant a tree on a raised bed. A 1- 1.5 ft raised bed filled with native soil mixed with compost should help.

Are there anyone in the neighborhood growing persimmons? Look likes it can grow well in TX.

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@k8tpayaso Grows many persimmons in TX, but I realize that TX is a big place with unique regional weather conditions. Maybe she can recommend something.

Fwiw I have maybe 10 varieties in Dallas. Where are you?

I’ve have a couple Giombos die on me, they seem a little tricky, but the fruit is worth it. Plain old Fuyu does really well here. I’d mail a soil sample to TAMU, forms are online, have a soil test done, $20, see what you soil is missing. Not everyone agrees with me but I do light fertilization the first year; otherwise I don’t amend the soil at all. I always cut back my trees to 3’, including the big ones from Edible Landscape and JFE. Best time to plant is Nov-March, February being ideal. A little water is needed in the summer or persimmons won’t grow.

Katie is in Canton, if you’re closer to Canton than Dallas then her recommendations would be better.



Btw, how are your paw paws doing? Mine haven’t fruited after 5 years

Also, see

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I pretty much agree with what @Bhawkins said in his post. Adding fertilizer sparingly basically pertains to when your tree is fruiting. If you’ve had a soil test done and know that you have no P-K then you need to fix that. I have also used some 10-10-10 on my young trees. Your central Texas area is probably a lot rockier soil and drier climate than what I have. I have heat…lots of heat but I also have lots of humidity. Sounds as if you are getting good rainfall this year. Those leaves looked like they might be getting too much water but then if you have rocky runoff soil it might have needed extra water. Persimmons usually do well with drought once established. Many times though I think new growth on persimmons look “droopy” even when the soil is moist. Another thing to consider is what rootstock the trees are on that you are buying. A&M says don’t use anything but D. virginiana (American persimmon) inTexas. Persimmons needs their roots under them before they will grow. When I bought my first persimmon (Eureka—because that was recommended for Texas) I picked out the leafiest one I could find. When I transplanted it I could tell it had been a bare root that had recently been potted and the roots were not the best. It struggled the first year. Persimmons don’t like to be barerooted for any length of time. I just lost a Fuyu and I don’t know why. It was growing well last year and did not break bud this year. I would do what Bob suggested and get a soil test. You don’t really have to fight with the pH a lot unless you are very extreme.

Here’s another Aggie publication that I have used a lot.

I have dug up suffering trees and potted them and babied them back to health before replanting. Sometimes they just need to get their roots established in a comfort zone before dealing with the real world.


Live 20 miles east of San Antonio for reference.

Thank you. I happen to already have this PDF saved. A shame that the Texas persimmon isn’t graft compatible. It’s abundant here as a native. I have one in the hottest part in the yard and it’s thriving.

Aimed for this when planting this Giombo. I’d say it’s on about a 6" raised hill now. Water never collects at the trunk.

I’ve seen a Fuyu-type from a distance fruiting. Local nurseries and big box stores in the area carry Fuyu, Hachiya, Tamopan, and Suruga year-round. Never saw any other Asian varieties. No choice but to buy Giombo online.

They’re new plantings from last November only about a foot tall each. Allegheny and Shenandoah. They were the last two trees I have to break dormancy - mid-April and early-May respectively. I referenced them since I was almost sure they’d suffer in the dry heat before the persimmon. I’ve seen two mature 15’ trees fruiting at a local park so I’m hopeful.

Haven’t seen that document before. Thanks.

I’m on a rocky, clay slope with moderately-good drainage. The persimmon sits at the top of the slope. At least the two Giombos have been on D. virginia according to the JFE listing. I’ve gone ahead and given it some liquid fertilizer. Hope it bounces back soon. Lost ten more leaves today.

I presume the rootstock is D.virginiana. In my experience D.virginiana is extremely hard to transplant barerooted. D.lotus is much more reliable in that regard but wouldn’t work in your area because of the shallow root system. D.virginiana can only reliably be transplanted when fully container grown. This is the only way to ensure a healthy root system and a reliable regrowth when planted. The leaves on your tree do not look really yellow but they are drooping and thin. The leaves should be more horizontal, thick, firm and glossy! To me this clearly indicates that your tree is having problems sucking up enough water to feed its leaves and ensure good photosynthesis. I’m sure that a poorly developed root system is the problem, not root rot… the limited regrowth of fine roots on your tree is just not enough to keep it growing as it should. The tree is protecting itself against dehydration by dropping leaves to get evaporation and osmosis/sapflow in balance. If you can only buy barerooted or field grown trees then I would recommend growing them in a pot for the first year or two before planting them out. That way you have more cotrol over the growing conditions


Of course in your area could be cotton root rot. Probably not since your other trees are doing well, but possible.

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I have a couple of container grown Giombos that I grafted this year. I also have family in San Antonio. I usually drive down SH 130 when I come that way. If you lose this one I can supply another one. :+1:

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What were your planting dates for each one?
That would be my first concern if I am understanding you correctly.
Persimmons can take a lot of water ok, at least as much as pears and more than apples. They can dry out quickly in the heat more than you think, and an inch of rain in a week in june may not be deep watering below the top two inches as much as you think, so deep watering is important in the drought for the first 2 years.
But transplanting after they already break dormancy is a bad move if you want to be prepared for the extreme heat and intense sunshine you get in central tx.
Where you are at, your ideal plant date would be december or january. In the midst of the dormant season. This is very important, so that the roots can begin to grow and adjust asap while the ground is still cool, in preparation for your may summer and your june-august hotter-than-summer. A may or june plant date is not good, because of how hot you get by the end of june, or even may. Even up here in kansas we get enough of yalls extreme heat and intense sun that planting in the fully dormant season is very important (which for me is November to early march here in the kansas prairie). Even here in ks a tree will struggle significantly with our sun and heat in june if you wait till it has budded to plant it. And the more that the roots get disturbed the more transplant shock your tree will have to overcome since it was not fully dormant and in cool soil when planted.

In order to try to save it, I would give it some good 50% shade (or good shade from 11am-4pm) and deep water it about 4+ gal every 3 to 4 days± and only skip 4 days if you got 2"+ of rain.± or leave your drip hose on for more like 20 minutes(or 2 hours to soak down?)? 5 minutes does not sound like much for deep watering if your soil underneath is drying out? I am not there so I could be wrong, but that is my guess…? Perhaps you could check your soil moisture at the edge of your mulch circle a foot down to make sure it is getting water and is not bone dry down under there?


Yeah checking actual volume and make sure root ball is getting watered is so important. I killed some apple trees that way a few years ago! I thought that area was wet but below the surface was bone dry! Clay soil will do this even faster than sandy, since it sheds water better. I have T tape on my garden and it has been needing at least 3 hours every other day to do some good deeper down. I wouldnt be surprised if this tree needs as many hours per 2 days, unless it has a lot of emitters.
We got a good 1"+ rain the other day, so I went to plant a bush in the yard and the surface looked wet, but 2" down it is bone dry!!


Have 100% clay soil here, you can fire it into bricks. Don’t amend clay soil. Take tree out of pot, put on top of clay and mound dirt around it or in raised bed. I’ve bought around 20+ freshly dug bare root virginiana yearly for grafting and seldom have a problem. I pot them up, graft when leaves grow and keep in pot for a year or plant direct in soil and graft. Seldom lose one. Planted 6 directly in soil this year and all are growing. By next year the pots are full of roots. Two had not leafed out this year but they only had a tap root and no other roots. Near Houston. Here is a mounded one planted/budded this year. Potted one is grafted but root stock leafed out 6 weeks late on this one in a pot. Budded most of 90+ roots stocks first week in May. This last one June 15. Growing out some citrus seedlings as well


Had two batches of virginiana rootstock this year, larger ones were around 1 inch caliper from Womacks Nursery and smaller ones were around 1/4 inch caliper from Missouri Dept of Conservation. About 2/3 of smaller ones were big enough to graft. Sold around 75 grafted kaki trees and planted 10.


Hey mrtexas,

I’ve been thinking recently about how persimmons have roots about 6" down from the root collar and wondering to myself while I’m potting them up whether I should fill all the way to the line on each where it’s black below and bark above. I have been doing it that way, but on other terms & being during grafting, I often have to push the seedling up, in containers of course, to graft. Anyways, it’s not a big deal question but I assume that having the root “neck” above ground a couple inches that I nor anyone would have a future problem… cause roots on persimmon seedlings never emerge until far below the root collar. They’re such strange seedlings, to me. A self-taught horticulturalist, but obviously they are fleshy to some degree like as are bulbs or onions or tubers ya know, or, whatever.

Interested in your thoughts.