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Have you noticed a tree in your neighborhood or nearby park with bright, orangey fruits in the fall? It could be an American persimmon tree! While not overly common in NYC, these trees can still be found around the city. Here’s what you should know as a homeowner.

What are Persimmon Trees?

  • Native to the southeastern US, but can survive in New York’s climate.
  • Small to medium-sized trees with distinctive scaly bark.
  • Produce sweet, delicious fruits in the fall, but some varieties are inedible until fully soft.
  • Persimmon wood is highly valued for its strength and beauty, though the trees are slow-growing.

Caring for Persimmon Trees on Your Property

  • Minimal Care: Persimmon trees generally need very little attention. Prune only for shape or to remove broken branches in winter.
  • Fruit Management: Persimmon fruits can be messy when they drop. If this is a problem, consider planting a variety that holds onto its fruit longer into the winter.
  • Wildlife: The fruits attract deer, birds, and other animals.

Uses of Persimmon Wood across Industries

Persimmon wood’s versatility transcends traditional woodworking, finding applications across a wide array of industries and creative endeavors. From the crafting of musical instruments to the engineering of sporting equipment, this exceptional material continues to inspire innovation and craftsmanship. In this section, we delve into the diverse uses of persimmon wood, highlighting its adaptability and enduring appeal.

  1. Woodworking and Furniture Making: Persimmon wood’s fine texture and attractive grain make it a popular choice for crafting high-quality furniture and decorative items. Its warm hues and smooth finish lend an air of elegance to cabinets, tables, and chairs, while its durability ensures longevity and structural integrity.
  2. Musical Instruments: Persimmon wood’s tonal qualities and resonance make it highly sought after for the construction of musical instruments. From guitars and violins to percussion instruments like drums and xylophones, persimmon wood’s rich sound and aesthetic appeal elevate the performance and craftsmanship of musical artisans.
  3. Sporting Equipment: In the realm of sports, persimmon wood has long been prized for its strength, flexibility, and responsiveness. Golf club heads crafted from persimmon wood offer players a unique feel and performance, while its use in baseball bats and archery bows demonstrates its versatility in enhancing athletic equipment.
  4. Culinary Tools and Utensils: Persimmon wood’s natural antibacterial properties and resistance to moisture make it an ideal choice for culinary tools and utensils. Cutting boards, rolling pins, and kitchen utensils crafted from persimmon wood not only provide reliable performance but also add a touch of elegance to the culinary experience.
  5. Artistic and Decorative Crafts: Artists and craftsmen often turn to persimmon wood for its aesthetic appeal and workability in creating intricate carvings, sculptures, and decorative objects. Its warm tones and smooth texture lend themselves beautifully to artistic expression, whether in traditional woodworking or contemporary mixed-media projects.

Is Persimmon Wood Valuable?

  • Yes, but… Due to their size in NYC, it’s unlikely a persimmon tree on your property could be harvested for valuable wood. Larger trees from other areas are used for golf clubs, furniture, and more.

Where to See Persimmon Trees in NYC

  • High Rock Park Preserve (Staten Island)
  • Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
  • Morris-Jumel Mansion (Manhattan)

Should I Plant a Persimmon Tree?

Persimmon trees can be a beautiful, low-maintenance addition to a yard. Just make sure you:

  • Choose a variety suited to NYC’s climate.
  • Understand if you’ll need a male and female tree for fruit production.

Recommended Persimmon Tree Varieties




Harvest Time




Late Fall



Pollinizer req.

Late Fall




Late Fall



Pollinizer req.

Late Fall

  • They have enough space, as they’ll grow slowly but eventually become a medium-sized tree.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Persimmon Tree Cultivation

  1. When is the best time to plant persimmon trees? The best time to plant persimmon trees is in late winter or early spring, while the trees are still dormant.
  2. Do persimmon trees require cross-pollination to produce fruit? While some persimmon varieties are self-fertile and can produce fruit without cross-pollination, most varieties benefit from cross-pollination with compatible cultivars to ensure optimal fruit set and yield.
  3. How often should persimmon trees be watered? Persimmon trees should be watered regularly, especially during periods of dry weather or drought. Aim to provide deep, thorough irrigation to ensure adequate soil moisture for optimal growth and fruit development.
  4. How do I know when persimmon fruits are ripe? Persimmon fruits typically ripen in late fall to early winter, depending on the variety. Ripe persimmons will have a deep color and yield slightly to gentle pressure. Astringent varieties should be fully ripe and soft before consuming, while non-astringent varieties can be eaten when firm.
  5. What is the best pruning technique for persimmon trees? Prune persimmon trees during the dormant season to remove deadn or crossing branches and shape the canopy for optimal light penetration and airflow. Aim for an open, vase-shaped canopy to encourage fruit production and overall tree health.
  6. How do I protect persimmon trees from pests and diseases? Monitor persimmon trees regularly for signs of pest infestation or disease symptoms, such as leaf discoloration, wilting, or unusual growth. Implement cultural practices, such as proper sanitation and pruning, and consider using organic or chemical treatments as needed to manage pest and disease pressure.