Growing and Preserving Persimmon

| 9/26/2016 12:03:00 PM

Heather ColeYou might be thinking pumpkin, but the start of autumn gets me thinking persimmon. The persimmon trees in our orchard are around 40 years old, and I’ll admit when we first moved in I’d never actually eaten one. Despite growing well in much of New Zealand, persimmons are not yet widely cultivated by home gardeners or commercial growers, and they’re not found growing wild here in woodlands like some parts of the US.


We had both the astringent and non-astringent varieties. The astringent ones must be nearly rotten to be considered edible, but the non-astringent varieties can be eaten crunchy like an apple and are a much easier proposition. Even if you don’t like the fruit, I’d recommend growing the tree for the beauty of its pinky/orange fall color and the show of a tree festooned with baubles of orange.  The non-astringent varieties, like Fuyu, are compact little trees, while the astringent ones are upright and can get quite tall.

Foliage and fruit

A local woodturner told me the timber is incredibly hard but springy and used to be used to make golf clubs and bowling alleys. When I accidentally cut the pollinator out I learned that some varieties are self-fertile and without the pollinator the fruit didn’t set any seeds. They’ve been incredibly low maintenance and apart from birds they are not prone to pests and disease. I haven’t even pruned them properly but each year they are loaded with fruit.


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