Do Persimmon trees grow in eastern TN?

peabody1July 30, 2007

I don't know if this is the correct forum to ask about a tree, but here goes. Do Persimmon trees grow in eastern TN....the American Persimmon tree, NOT the larger Asian type?

Thanks in advance.

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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Looking out of my kitchen window, I can see two. Neither is that good a producer, but I know the locations of at least five good trees.
Sometimes fall temperatures and drought leave them with less than perfect crops, but the trees grow here and weren't badly damaged by this spring's freeze (although the fruit may have been.)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 1:09PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

I might be a little presumptuous to say that this area has an ideal climate for the tree and may have one of the most dense concentrations of the tree in the eastern US

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 4:21PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Myrtleoak, I don't know if it was presumptuous of you or not, but you were correct! Tennessee is the center of Diospyros virginiana's native range.

Peabody1, are you going to plant seeds, plant a young tree, or grow a grafted variety? Are you growing it for the fruit or just to have this type of tree? Have you picked out a location?

Always ask you tree questions here (or you can email me)!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 7:15PM
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utdeedee(7A-East Tennessee)

I live between Knoxville and Oak Ridge and I have one that is growing in the front yard that is probably 50 years old if that's possible and it has lots of *mess* fruit every year. I've had folks stop and pick them or stop and start eatting them. I personally don't like them but the possum's do :)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 3:11PM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

I just bought several, both native and Fuyu, at the KMart sale last week. :-) I plan to keep a few, and send the others to my mom in Nashville. I wish us all luck with our various persimmons!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 3:55PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

I have never eaten one that I thought tasted good. Maybe they are not a fruit to be eaten raw, like quinces and cooking apples. I read one website that said that the American persimmon is in fact not a very common tree in most areas of its range; if so, East Tn may have one of the most abundant concentrations of the species. Another tree mentioned on this site: Sourwood.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:40AM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

They're one of those fruits (at least the native ones) that have to be eaten absolutely dead ripe. Otherwise they'll pucker ya for sure.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 2:17AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Many of you have brought up points that I was going to mention after I heard back from peabody1. I was wondering if seeds, non-grafted trees, or grafted trees were going to be used and if the trees were going to be planted for the fruit, because I was going to mention the subject of taste. Some natural seedlings of American Persimmons are much less astringent than others, but if fruit is the goal in planting the tree, a nonastringent cultivar (grafted tree) would probably be the best choice. My grandmother had an American Persimmon that had really good fruit. But as Amazindirt said, some will "pucker ya for sure." LOL

I was also wondering if the location had been chosen. There are two things that this would lead into. As Utdeedee mentioned, the trees can be very messy if planted in the wrong place. You wouldn't want to plant one overhanging or even very near a walkway or driveway. Also, if planting a Persimmon seed, it's best to plant it where you want the tree to grow rather than transplanting it. Persimmons quickly develop a large fragile taproot that doesn't like to be transplanted.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 4:05PM
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maternut(7 west tn)

Let me throw in my two cents. Eating persimmons before a good frost is a no no. They taste a lot better after a frost. I ate one early as a child, now look at my face it will never be right.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 5:04PM
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I have a couple persimmon trees also. Had a skunk get in my shed a few years ago, he thought the persimmons and the shed were his personal B&B! I personally don't care for them, they have a quite nasty texture when you step on them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 1:28PM
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You've already received your answer in the affirmative that native persimmons grow in TN. I thought I'd address the rarity issue. It isn't that persimmons are rare, but for a long time they demanded a high price as timber and people hacked away at them with wild abandon. Unfrotunately, once you take them all, it is difficult to get them seeded. Additionally, development, cultivation, etc have all taken their toll on forest trees...especially those which are hard to get back. A clearcut will populate quickly with maples and other fast growers while hickories, walnuts, persimmons, and other trees with very deep roots and slow growth tend to lose out. Additionally, when an if these areas are replanted, people usually plant fast growing robo-trees...maples, ash, pines, etc. Another problem is that replanting persimmons takes great care.
They are easily damaged beyod repair...especially if there is extensive root damage and drying of the roots. I've seen hundreds die from a single planting due to poor planting practices and poor stock handling.

myrtleoak - sorry to see you've not had a decent persimmon. I can attest to the fact that raw persimmons are quite good...and persimmon pudding and other cooked products run a close second. I must eat my weight in raw persimmons, fresh pulp, etc when the harvest is coming in.

BTW, many of us who also forage persimmons appreciate the fact that the misconception about needing frost to ripen continues. Persimmon trees ripen the entire spectrum from early to late. The fact that they ripen late in the year has led to the misconception that one needs frost in order to ripen. The fact is, that in much of its range, they rarely if ever see a frost. In much of its range you might normally see a frost before ripe persimmons. The timing is happenstance and depends greatly on where you live, the individual tree, the microclimate, etc. Those of us who keep close watch on trees...especially the early ripeners, enjoy a much longer harvest while people wait for frost. Wait...what am I saying?! All kidding aside, texts as far back as the mid-1800s have tried to dispel the myth of needing frost but it persists. Many in my extended family are firm believers...but I'm the one making persimmon pudding early! ;)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 4:14PM
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In a mature American Persimmon (say about 25 x 35), how many feet from the ground do the branches begin?

I found pics online that show a very much Oak Tree-like growth behavior with at least 6' before the first limb.

However, I've seen more scrubbier forms where the lower branches nearly rest on the ground.

In an open field where maybe just one side get's shadowed by an adjacent tree, how many feet from the ground should the first limb be about?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 2:45AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

As with the vast majority of all trees, the lower limbs are removed by shade, foraging, or pruning. Without such external factor, lower limbs are usually present.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 11:49AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I'll also answer your question another way.....The lower branches should be at a height so that you can comfortably do whatever it is you do under the tree (mow, pick weeds, etc.)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 1:14PM
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I see a lot of Persimmon seeds in bear scat up in the Smokies so I reckon they are good at that altitude.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 8:51PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Jeff, stop playing in the bear poop. It will only make you smell worse. hehehe

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 9:08PM
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Hey I want to know what they are eating when I'm hiking!

If I don't see anything but green Persimmons in the trees and loose bear scat on the ground then I do the math:

upset tummy + runny buns + hungry irritable bear = turn around and head back to the car ASAP!!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 12:27AM
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