During the transition from summer to fall, it is possible to observe your persimmon tree producing fruit that falls off prematurely, without reaching maturity.
Don’t worry, there are simple fixes you can try to prevent this and increase your chances of a bountiful harvest!
What causes a persimmon tree to drop fruit prematurely? A persimmon tree will drop fruit prematurely if it lacks sufficient sunlight, isn’t receiving the appropriate amount of water, or is being over-fertilized. Other environmental factors like extreme heat, limited pollination, and an overbearing fruit set may cause your tree to drop fruit early.
It is always disheartening to see beautiful fruit begin to form only to drop on the ground before they are ready to be enjoyed!
Continue reading for the 6 most common factors that cause fruit to drop along with solutions to ensure they don’t all drop to the ground before you can have some to enjoy!
Common Causes of Persimmon Tree Fruit Drop
While a persimmon tree may look healthy with a full canopy and strong branches, it may be experiencing stress that results in it dropping fruit.
Here is a good overview of why fruit trees will drop their fruit, but you will also find the most common factors listed below.
1. Insufficient Sunlight
The amount of sunlight a tree receives will directly correlate to how much energy it has. If it isn’t receiving enough sunlight, it will conserve its energy by dropping any unnecessary fruits to keep itself alive.
At a minimum, your persimmon tree will need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight to thrive and produce fruit. Make sure you plant your tree in an area that receives ample sunlight or, if possible, relocate it to an area that does.
You may also be able to increase its sunlight by pruning back other plants around that may be competing with it for sunlight.
Incorrect watering is one of the most common issues when it comes to persimmon trees. Over-watering will cause the tree to drop fruit, and a lack of water will do the same. This is because it will work to maintain its overall health before it expends energy growing fruit.
Persimmon trees will need 1-2 inches of water per week and sometimes more if bearing fruit.
As a general rule of thumb, every 1 inch of water applied to the soil will penetrate 1 foot deep, though this varies depending on the soil characteristics. Adding mulch to the soil surface will also help keep the soil moist.
Always allow the soil your tree is in to dry out before watering again. Use a moisture meter (this is a good one at a reasonable price) to check the moisture level, or use a soil probe or your finger to gauge its moisture level.
If you notice that the soil is dry 2-3 inches down, it is time to water again.
While persimmon trees are considered heat tolerant, this applies to the leaves and tree rather than the fruit set.
It will begin to drop fruit during heat spells because it is conserving its water and trying to reduce the amount of water it will need to put into the fruit.
Most persimmon varieties are hardy from USDA Zones 4 through 9, but certain varieties will not tolerate those high and low temperatures. Some will only grow in USDA Zones 9 through 11, so be sure to check the specifics of the variety you choose to grow.
While the temperature may be difficult to regulate when it comes to the environment your tree is growing in, you can try to shade it with shade cloth (like this large one) or give it supplemental water during times of extreme heat.
4. Improper Fertilizer Ratios
Fertilizer is a great way to supply your tree with nutrients it may not be able to receive from its soil. However, if you over-fertilize or apply the incorrect fertilizer, it may disrupt the tree’s normal growing cycles.
To better understand how fertilizer ratios work, the video below is helpful for breaking down what the N.P.K. values listed on all fertilizers mean.
Look for a balanced fertilizer that doesn’t provide too much of any one N.P.K. value. If you fertilize your tree with a fertilizer that has high amounts of nitrogen but low phosphorus and potassium, it will focus on only growing leaves.
Best Fertilizer Type for Persimmon Fruit Production
A well-balanced slow-release fertilizer will help to feed your tree continually throughout the seasons. An N.P.K. value around 3-5-5 will work well because it isn’t overly heavy in nitrogen, and the potassium and phosphorus will help to encourage strong fruit production.
These time-release fertilizer spikes are incredibly easy to use, provide nutrients for several weeks, and are designed specifically for fruit-bearing trees!
Too many fruits, or overbearing, will happen if your persimmon tree receives abundant nutrients.
It will produce as many fruits as it can with the hope of spreading its seed and growing more offspring. However, this can cause stress on the tree and should be mitigated when possible.
If you notice that your persimmon tree is producing too many fruits, try removing some of the fruit by thinning them to five or six fruits per branch (the number can be adjusted depending on the size of the tree.)
The video at the bottom of this post has great advice when it comes to pruning persimmon trees effectively to reduce the chances of overbearing.
6. Limited Pollination
Pollinator insects and a pollinator tree are vital to fruit setting on your tree. If they aren’t around, your tree won’t produce fruit!
Limited pollination means a lack of pollen being distributed among the flowers, leading to low or poor yields.
How To Attract More Pollinators to Your Persimmon Tree
If there aren’t pollinators around, try inviting them to your garden! Bees are the number one source of pollination for persimmon trees and sometimes need to be enticed to the area.
Planting pollinator flowers, reducing the use of pesticides, and enticing them with a freshwater source help to keep them buzzing around your tree!
Why Are My Persimmon Tree Leaves Curling?
Persimmon leaves will curl if they absorb too many nutrients or have leaf scales affecting their growth. It is especially important to watch how much fertilizer you apply to young and newly planted trees as they will show signs of leaf curling the most.
If you notice leaf curl on your tree, don’t fertilize it, and let the soil reach an equilibrium over time. Leaf scale is also a common issue among persimmon trees and is best cured with organic neem oil sprays.
What Are Common Pests and Diseases of Persimmon Trees?
Diseases and pests can get the best of your persimmon tree before you even realize it! The most common ones to look out for are psyllids, mites, scales, and leafroller caterpillars.
Click here to take a better look at each pest and disease that may be affecting your tree. They can all be treated with remedies like neem oil and insecticidal soap, and sometimes simply spraying the tree with water will remove the pests.
A dropped persimmon is one too many lost. Use the list above to diagnose and cure any factors that may be causing your tree to drop its fruit prematurely. Soon enough, you’ll have more persimmons than you know what to do with!