Large American Persimmon Varieties

Looking to put in one grafted american persimmon. What are the largest varieties and about what would be the fruiting age of a grafted one? Have some wild ones around the house, but they are the size of marbles with seeds. Hoping the improved varieties have some real size.

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I am going to be planting out a orchard block with 20 persimmon rootstock and will graft them over once well established as you described. Do you have a recommendation as to spacing in this block? I was thinking a 4x5 block as oppose to 2x10. You help and incite is appreciated.

@cousinfloyd Thanks for the help. Is 2 inch about as big as the fruit get? How bad are the seeds? Where is a good place to find some of those varieties? Little scarce online.

The wild ones are like 50 feet tall, so can’t do much with them.

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I can’t think of any reasons why a 4x5 block would have any advantages or disadvantages compared to a 2x10 block. You’ll presumably be grafting all fruiting female varieties, so cross-pollination won’t be an issue. Are you wanting to pick the fruit off the trees? Or are you mostly planning to gather fruit after it drops? If mostly drops, then you could prune for slightly higher branching to make mowing closer to the trunk easier. Persimmons seem to tend toward that kind of growth form, often self-pruning lower branches anyway. They can get to be quite large trees, but that takes decades, and you can thin them later if they’re crowding each other too much. There will be more than enough years in the meantime that I’d assume you’d want more trees per acre for starters. How do you plan to mow between and around the trees? That would be my main consideration as far as spacing, especially if you’re going to be grafting your own trees such that it won’t hardly cost you any more money to plant relatively denser to start with and thin them out down the road.

@Robert, selected cultivars of persimmons like I listed above can definitely get over 2". Even at that size, my experience is that I’m still eating fruit with the seeds and spitting the seeds out as opposed to being able to eat around the seeds, but the fruit-to-seed ratio is greatly improved. To my way of thinking fruit-to-seed ratio matters a lot more than size, such that everything else being equal I’d probably prefer a 1" seedless persimmon to a 3" persimmon with a normal number of seeds. Bigger size does generally correlate to a better fruit-to-seed ratio, but I feel like the people selecting persimmon varieties would have done better not to prioritize size in their breeding quite so much. Another question that helps determine what variety will serve you best is whether you plan to mostly eat your persimmons as plain, fresh fruit, or whether you intend to mostly pulp them, in which case seeds aren’t so much of any issue (unless you’re comparing to completely seedless fruit.)

Prok seems to be very common in the nursery trade. Every nursery I know of that sells persimmons at all seems to sell Prok. Yates is also quite common. The other varieties I listed are much newer and somewhat less common. Nolin River Nursery has a nice selection of American persimmons, including some of those newer releases. I’ve heard good things about them but I haven’t ever ordered from them. Same for England’s Nursery. I have ordered and been very happy with the trees I’ve gotten from Hidden Springs Nursery, but I think their trees are generally smaller/younger and proportionately less expensive, which may be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for. However, with persimmons, in particular, if I couldn’t find any volunteers to graft onto, I’d mostly be inclined to plant multiple seeds in each area I wanted a tree, save one or two of the best looking seedlings to graft onto, cull the rest, and then thin down to one tree in each spot (if I grafted a second tree for back-up in case both grafts didn’t take.) If you have wild trees 50’ tall, I’d be surprised if there weren’t also smaller trees around. Do you have grafting size (or smaller) trees at all (of any species)? If so, are you sure none of them are persimmons? The buds and growth form of the twigs are very distinctive once you get familiar with them, so you should be able to identify them quite well even this time of year.


I agree with @cousinfloyd’s variety recommendations. You could try bark grafting your large wild
persimmon trees or cut them low to the ground this year and graft to the sprouts next year. Cliff England
is a good source for trees and scion wood.

You brought up some interesting points. Most of what I grow will be going to farmers market. I guess it’s more about if consumers would buy them. What is your opinion? Would people buy american persimmon? That’s why my interest in size and seeds.

Lots of varieties claiming seedless. That’s not going to be true with all these wilds around is it?

I hardly get anyone hear to try an American persimmon. Also, hard to market because when ripe, they are so soft. They will not be seedless if 90 chromosome male persimmons are around, but, for me, the named varieties have fewer seeds than the wild ones.

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Think your right. And they do not ripen evenly. And they take a long time to fruit.
I appreciate the help. Maybe I should stick to the asians. People are familiar with them.

Lehman’s Delight produced 2 dozen fruits in it’s second season after grafting. More every season since.
But, I agree, asian persimmons would be easier to market. I wish I could grow them here!

My farmers market which runs more or less May-October but which is really slowing down by the end of October isn’t an especially good fit for selling Asian persimmons which I only start harvesting in October and which mostly ripen in November (and can be kept fairly easily through most of December.) American persimmons, on the other hand, ripen mostly in late August and September.

Ours slow down about late september. I’m in agreement. I have been focusing on earlier ripening things for that very reason. Thinking about getting one of them just to have it regardless if anyone buys them.

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