Persimmon Anthracnose

This Rosseyanka, planted early last year, suffers from what appears to be severe anthracnose leaf spot and stem blight. Note spots on leaves and lesions on stems.

Black circular lesions are still visible from infections of last year’s growth, including these on the leader.

I’m afraid that 1.) this will weaken the tree (and it does seem to be losing vigor); and 2.) that if it ever manages to fruit, the fruit will be infected. What should I do? Should I start by removing the infected growth (as some of the extension literature suggests)—and this will pretty much mean cutting the tree back to a “whip” and starting at square one? Or should I just feed the tree well, start a fungicide regimen (uh-oh! another “no-spray fruit tree” myth bites the dust!) and hope it “outgrows” the issue? Or should I just abandon this tree as unsuitable for this area and a potential source of infection for other persimmons?

Is Rosseyanka especially susceptible? I’ve noticed no similar problems on Nikita’s Gift or the two pure kakis I have here at present. Wild D. virginiana doesn’t seem affected either.

My wild D. Virginana is defniitely susceptible. It’s the only kind of persimmon I have. Some trees are more susceptible than others in identical growing conditions-i assume its genetic variability. Sorry to hear about this for you, but good to know, as I have been considering adding Rosseyanka.

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My Prok tree has anthracnose, but it is more superficial on this variety and doesn’t seem to affect the overall vigor of the tree.

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I would just leave the tree alone, in regards to pruning disease. In most cases, I no longer feel that it makes sense to diligently remove diseased areas, with the exception of trees that can easily die from infections such as bacterial canker on a cherry tree. I followed literature regarding pruning out diseased areas, and in most instances, it led to even worse infections gaining hold…

I pruned many spots of young anthracnose (similar to those sunken circles pictures) and bacterial, canker to clean surrounding bark. The result was, despite there being a long stretch of hot dry weather, and spraying the wounds with fungicide, that many of the wounds now presumably have gummosis/bacterial canker. Pruning them would essentially mean cutting the entire scaffold off and having no tree.

I suppose that if when disease is pruned, there is very low or zero chance of it forming again on the new growth, and or if there is a small area that can be entirely removed without compromising the tree, it would make more sense. Lopping off entire / large portions of matured limbs, and having to wait another 2+ years for them to bear fruit, when in that time the new limb can itself become infected, especially when many fruit trees are short lived as it is, just doesnt seem worth it to me anymore.

The disease may weaken the tree ( see below), but if it requires a significant amount pruned there is no tree left to even be weakened…

I attempted to remove some small areas of visible gummosis from an old peach tree, and in the process, found more and more diseased wood beneath the bark; so much so that I simply had to stop; continuing would likely have meant de-barking the entire tree. Now the tree is covered in huge amounts of gummosis where I removed to clean wood. My efforts simply made it worse. This tree is currently the most infected, yet despite this it is, and has been, the only tree that reliably sets any worthwhile quantity of fruit to harvest.


Thanks for the advice! I, too, believe this is the best course of action. A wait-and-see approach would be better than lopping off signicant portions of wood—probably in vain and to the detriment of the tree. If it proves a weakling, it can always be replaced. The “literature” is definitely far from infallible—and there’s no replacement for firsthand experience (often won at the expense of our plants!) and learning from those who have it.

Update: As I speculated in another old thread, Rosseyanka’s issues with anthracnose seem to stem in large part from weakening by spring freeze damage. Of my several persimmons, it is the most susceptible to late freezes; even Nikita’s Gift will put on decent growth after cold damage in spring (and without severe fungal issues)—but Rosseyanka struggles with it. Frozen out nearly yearly, Rosseyanka has an increasingly difficult time recovering from the damage, which includes dieback of small wood and even dead spots in main scaffolds—and its recovery is complicated by the opportunistic and progressively more severe anthracnose infection which follows each such event. The tree grew hardly at all last season, and this season, after more spring dieback, it has lost half of what little fungus-blackened foliage it was able to squeeze out. Shoot infections are extensive and severe. Even a delayed dormant spray of copper didn’t help.

Since planting it, I think I’ve had one spring when it wasn’t frost damaged, and that year it grew okay and had mild, mostly cosmetic anthracnose. It has never bloomed.

Rosseyanka seems a waste of time and space here—and possibly in all climates with iffy springs. It is slated for topworking.

What zone are you in? It is hidden in your profile.

Kentucky. It’s 6b (this winter 6a), despite the USDA’s claims. Not really participating as much here as in the past. Just wanted to pop in and close the circle on this thread.

Thanks! I get a lot of anthracnose on my wild persimmons in zone 6B, Southern Ohio. Seedlings I planted two years ago haven’t grown. Were you able to combat the problem? Also I just bought a rossy, so I’m afraid i wasted money.

Perhaps my specimen was a weakling and you will have better luck. Based on my personal experience, I couldn’t recommend Rosseyanka to growers in regions such as ours----but that’s just one grower’s experience—and you won’t know for sure until you try yourself. Also, microclimates and countless other factors might make a great difference between specimens grown in similar climates.

Anthracnose is mostly just a cosmetic issue with the other persimmons; and I have found minor infections on wild ones since the OP. I don’t worry about it. It was only a serious issue with Rosseyanka—and that, again, seemed to be because of late spring freezes weakening it. I only ever sprayed for it on the Rossey, and that proved fruitless.

Good luck!

Thanks for the response. The statement on microclimates seems important. I have two food plots. The first seems to get anthracnose much worse than the other. I will plan on planting the rossy in the second plot this fall.

Ironically the first food plot has mature persimmons that have delicious fruit, about 60 feet up. It’s what started me on this path.

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