Persimmon trees (Diospyros spp.) are deciduous shade trees with colorful fall foliage and edible fruit. They generally thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9, although this varies depending on the species. When left to their own devices, they will grow multiple trunks or low branches, and may resemble a large shrub. Begin pruning your persimmon two to three years after planting to encourage a more pyramidal tree shape and stronger limbs.
1 Prune the persimmon tree in the winter while it is dormant. Trim off extra trunks, the branches that grow up from the base of the tree, with sharp loppers. Make the cut just above the branch collar or slightly raised area at the base of the branch. Retain one strong central branch to maintain as the trunk of the tree. Mix 1 1/2 cups of bleach into 1 gallon of water, and wash the loppers thoroughly with the solution to disinfect them before and after each cut.
2 Prune branches off the lower 3 to 4 feet of trunk with sharp loppers in the winter after they reach a diameter of 1 inch. Cut branches just above the thickened branch collar. Prune out broken or diseased branches and branches that are growing across other branches with sharp pruners or loppers. Disinfect the pruners and loppers with bleach solution before and after using them.
3 Trim off the small, flexible, green branches, known as watersprouts, with sharp pruners. Trim off root suckers that grow from the roots of the persimmon with sharp pruners.
4 Remove branches that have narrow crotches, the angle between the base of the branch and the trunk, with sharp loppers. They tend to be weak and are easily broken by harsh wind, ice or heavy fruit loads. Retain three to five healthy branches that are arranged evenly around the trunk and spaced about 1 foot apart up the length of the trunk. Select branches with a wide angle between the branch and the trunk. Cut the tip off the main trunk just above the top branch.
Items you will need
- Safety glasses
- Sharp loppers
- Sharp pruners
- Wear safety glasses for eye protection.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Diospyros Texana: Texas Persimmon
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Diospyros Virginiana
- Floridata: Diospyros Kaki
- Iowa State University Forestry Extension: Pruning Young Landscape Trees
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Oriental Persimmons in North Carolina
- Texas A&M System AgriLife Extension: Persimmons
- Cornell Cooperative Extension: Cornell Guide to Growing Fruit at Home
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