Fuyu persimmon not doing well

Asked September 19, 2015, 11:31 AM EDT

I planted a Fuyu persimmon this year, and it's not thriving. Attacked in early summer by leaf-rolling caterpillars, and now has holes chewed in leaves, poor leaf color, and the calyxes (?) are turning brown and shrivelling. It's planted on top of a hill of Miracle-grow planting mix, , mulched with wood chips, has slow-release fertilizer, and is watered twice a week in deep summer, once a week now. The hill of good soil is on top of Houston black clay, with a hole dug in the clay for the roots to grow into. What can I do to help the poor thing?

Rockwall County Texas

1 Response

The foliage damage to your persimmon appears to be minor. The flower calyx is not an important structure at this point of fruit development, so as long as your fruit is holding and developing, I wouldn't be terribly concerned.

There are potential problems with your use of potting soil on top of a Houston Black clay soil. Potting soil is much more dynamic in terms of drying that the HBC, and it will be difficult to maintain in a mound or bed, unless you use some edging or landscape timbers. Persimmons do not need to be grown in a wet, poorly drained situation. Based on how you have set up the planting, it is possible to create a large pot effect. Poor drainage can result in off color leaves, failure to thrive, fruit abortion etc. A better approach would have been to create a raised bed with Houston Black Clay, thus having a continuum of soil that dries uniformly. In your present situation, as you water the potting soil enough to deal with its drying, you may also be holding water in the hole you dug out of the HBC "for the roots to grow in".
I also notice that your first year tree is bearing fruit. Understand that fruit production for a first-year tree increases plant stress. Hopefully you survive this year, and have a stronger plant next year.