When and How to Fertilize Persimmons


Growing fruit trees often requires considerable time commitment and a lot of maintenance.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth it, but in general fruit trees need careful pruning, treatment when pests and diseases inevitably show up, and regular fertilizing multiple times a year.

Not persimmons (Diospyros spp.), though. Compared to other fruit trees, they’re surprisingly easygoing. That includes their fertilizer needs.

A close up horizontal image of ripe orange persimmons growing on the tree with foliage in soft focus in the background.A close up horizontal image of ripe orange persimmons growing on the tree with foliage in soft focus in the background.

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Depending on the species, you might not even need to feed your plants every year. When you do, a light feed might be all that’s required.

In our guide to growing persimmons we discuss how to cultivate these trees in your landscape or orchard.

Coming up, we’re going to delve into how and when to fertilize your persimmons. Here’s what I’ll cover:

How to Fertilize Persimmon Trees

Let’s talk about timing, first.

When to Feed Persimmons

You should fertilize your established persimmons in late winter or early spring.

A close up horizontal image of a hand from the bottom of the frame picking ripe persimmons off the tree.A close up horizontal image of a hand from the bottom of the frame picking ripe persimmons off the tree.

If you miss that window, go ahead and feed in the fall if you want or just skip a year. Persimmons really aren’t very demanding when it comes to food.

If we are talking about when to feed newly planted trees, the answer is: never. Wait until the specimen has been in the ground for at least a year before you apply any fertilizer.

If you want to give the young specimen a boost, apply some mycorrhizal fungi to the earth at planting time.

Something like Mikro-Myco is ideal. It contains a combination of beneficial bacteria and fungi to create healthy soil to help the tree thrive.

A close up square image of the packaging of Mikro-Myco Mycorrhizal Superpack isolated on a white background.A close up square image of the packaging of Mikro-Myco Mycorrhizal Superpack isolated on a white background.

Mikro-Myco

Arbico Organics carries two- or four-ounce pouches, and five- or 30-pound pails to suit your needs.

Test the Soil

Don’t fertilize your persimmons until you’ve done a soil test. These kits are extremely affordable and they will give you a wealth of information that can save you a lot of money.

A close up horizontal image of a plastic tube inserted into some soil to test it for nutrients.A close up horizontal image of a plastic tube inserted into some soil to test it for nutrients.

For example, I used to follow the common advice of applying balanced fertilizer to my plants on a regular basis.

Then I did a soil test and discovered that my garden was extremely high in nitrogen. All this time, I’d be adding nitrogen to soil that was already full of it.

In my current home, the soil has an excess of potassium and phosphorus. I don’t need to add anything but nitrogen and the occasional micronutrient like boron. I do a soil test each year in the fall so I know precisely what to add.

You can also test in the spring, but testing in fall gives you time to amend the earth before planting.

It’s possible to conduct a soil test through many different online companies, but be sure to check their reviews, since accuracy varies. You can also do a test through your local university extension office.

Testing the soil doesn’t just help you save cash, but it protects your trees. Persimmons in particular are sensitive to overfeeding and if you apply too much fertilizer the trees may drop their fruits.

I use my local extension office or the MySoil test kit.

MySoil Test Kit

The latter gives you detailed advice about what to add to your soil, in addition to a rundown of all the nutrients. You can pick one up at Amazon.

How to Fertilize

If the results of your soil test reveal that your soil is equally low in the three macronutrients – or you are unable to test your soil – go ahead and add a balanced, all-purpose 10-10-10 (NPK) fertilizer.

You should only feed trees that have been in the ground for at least one full year. You’ll need to apply it from a foot out from the trunk all the way to the drip line.

The Anderson’s makes a good product that also includes micronutrients such as iron, which many soils lack.

4175lrBiSuL. SL5004175lrBiSuL. SL500

The Anderson’s Balanced

Grab an 18-pound bag at Amazon.

Regardless of which brand or product you use, check the package for application guidelines. They’ll let you know how much to apply and whether it should be watered in or diluted ahead of time.

A broad rule of thumb is to use about three quarters of a pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per each year of age of the tree. Don’t exceed about eight pounds of feed at any given time.

If your soil test revealed a specific deficiency, amend it according to the recommendations.

A close up horizontal image of a gloved hand from the top of the frame applying granules to the soil.A close up horizontal image of a gloved hand from the top of the frame applying granules to the soil.

If you’re growing an American persimmon species in its native range, you can skip fertilizing entirely.

These plants have adapted to growing in this environment without any human assistance. Plus, they haven’t been extensively cultivated to grow an abundance of extremely large fruits like some Asian cultivars.

Having said that, persimmons respond well to feeding, so long as you don’t overdo it. Maybe skip every other year or every two years. If you notice fruit production starts to drop off, it’s fine to fertilize more frequently, but I would recommend that you always do a soil test first.

You need to be more consistent when feeding Asian persimmons. They produce larger fruits and aren’t indigenous to North America, so they require a bit more intervention on the part of the gardener.

As with American species, if the tree stops growing or producing fruits, be sure to feed it that year and it couldn’t hurt to do another soil test.

Feed Your Trees so They’ll Feed You

Persimmons give a lot without asking for much in return. Unlike apples, citrus trees, and cherries, which demand yearly pruning, thinning, and feeding, persimmons are pretty easygoing.

Feed them a little and you’ll be rewarded with more fruit than you’ll know what to do with! If you run out of ideas to up your fruits, I’m happy to take some off your hands!

A close up horizontal image of a hand from the bottom of the frame picking ripe persimmons off the tree.A close up horizontal image of a hand from the bottom of the frame picking ripe persimmons off the tree.

Speaking of… What’s your favorite way to prep persimmons? Are you a salad lover? Or do you bake them into cookies? Let us know in the comments section below. And if you have any questions about fertilizing your trees, pop those in as well!

There’s a lot more to learn about growing persimmon trees. If you’d like to dive into the wild and wonderful world of Diospyros, check out these guides next:



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