Thursday, March 5, 2009
Picking a Persimmon Tree
Q My back yard in Howard County is in full shade, but the front is sunny. Would a persimmon tree grow there, and would it be suitable as a lone specimen in the front?
A Our native persimmon is beautifully adapted to your conditions and is perfectly hardy, or you could find a Japanese persimmon variety that would work.
The native persimmon is a durable and pest-resistant tree that has a very narrow, upright form, even when grown in an open, sunny site. The bark becomes decorative with age, forming blocks framed by deep fissures. The wood resists rot and is heavy. It is still used in the manufacture of golf clubs.
The persimmon is known for its fall color, which ranges from golden yellow to reddish purple, and the fruits are lovely, even if you don't intend to eat them. They are most edible in early December after several frosts have softened them and reduced their astringency. There are a few cultivated varieties of native persimmon, with selections made for larger, tastier fruit that lack some of the tannin found in wild types. Meader is readily available and has both male and female flowers on the same tree, ensuring a more consistent fruit crop.
The Painting is by Byun Shi Ji