Persimmon Tree Diseases: Troubleshooting Diseases In Persimmon Trees

Persimmon Tree Diseases: Troubleshooting Diseases In Persimmon Trees

By: Teo Spengler

Persimmon trees fit into almost any backyard. Small and low maintenance, they produce delicious fruit in the autumn when few other fruit are ripe. Persimmons have no serious insect or disease problems, so there is no need to spray regularly. That doesn’t mean that your tree won’t occasionally need help, however. Read on for information about diseases in persimmon trees.

Persimmon Fruit Tree Diseases

Although persimmon trees are generally healthy, sometimes they do come down with persimmon tree diseases.

Crown Gall

One to keep your eye out for is crown gall. If your tree suffers from crown gall, you will see galls—rounded growths—on the persimmon’s branches. The roots will have similar galls or tumors and harden.

Crown gall can infect a tree through cuts and wounds in its bark. Persimmon disease control in this case means taking good care of the tree. Avoid crown gall persimmon tree diseases by protecting the tree from open wounds. Be careful with the weed whacker around the tree, and prune when the tree is dormant.


Diseases in persimmon trees also include anthracnose. This disease is also known as bud blight, twig blight, shoot blight, leaf blight, or foliar blight. It is a fungal disease, thriving in wet conditions and often appearing in spring. You’ll recognize anthracnose persimmon tree diseases by the black spots that appear on the leaves. The tree may lose its leaves starting at the bottom branches. You may also see black sunken spots on leaf stalks and lesions on the persimmon bark.

Anthracnose disease is not often lethal in mature trees. These diseases in persimmon trees are caused by leaf spot fungi, and some affect the fruit as well as the leaves. Persimmon disease control when it comes to anthracnose involves keeping a clean garden. The anthracnose spores overwinter in leaf litter. In springtime, the winds and rain spreads the spores to new foliage.

Your best bet is to pick up all leaf litter in the fall after the tree’s leaves have dropped. At the same time, cut out and burn any infected twigs. Many of the leaf spot pathogens appear when the tree is getting a lot of moisture, so water early to allow the foliage to dry quickly.

Usually, fungicide treatment isn’t necessary. If you decide it is in your case, use the fungicide chlorothalonil after the buds begin to open. In bad cases, use it again after leaf drop and once again during the dormant season.

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Read more about Persimmon Trees

Tree Canker Disease

Steve Nix is a member of the Society of American Foresters and a former forest resources analyst for the state of Alabama.

Rosser1954 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The term " canker" is used to describe a killed area or blister on the bark, a branch or the trunk of an infected tree. The Morton Arboretum describes it as a canker that is "usually oval to elongate, but can vary in size and shape." Cankers will often appear as a swelling surrounding a sunken lesion on the bark of trunks and branches.

The canker-causing pathogens like fungi and bacteria commonly invade wounded or injured bark tissues to form a canker. They subsequently produce reproductive structures called fruiting bodies and can spread. Dozens of species of fungi cause canker disease.

How To Identify And Treat Citrus Tree Diseases And Insects

Citrus Tree Diseases

Greasy Spot

Greasy spot is a fungus, known as Mycosphaerella citri, that affects the leaves of citrus trees and thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. The fungus appears as yellow, dark brown, or black lesions that initially occur on the underside of mature citrus leaves. As the fungus develops, the spots become visible on the leaf top. Citrus tree leaves affected by Greasy Spot will fall prematurely, which adversely affects tree health and yield. Once established, citrus Greasy Spot can also infect the fruit and produce rind blotch, more common on grapefruit trees. Collecting and removing fallen leaves can help control Greasy Spot. You can also spray with Liquid Copper Fungicide in June or July, with a second spray application in August or September. This will help protect late summer growth from the onset of the Greasy Spot fungus.

Melanose is a fungal infection of young citrus fruit caused when spores produced by the asexual stage of the disease (Phomopsis citri) grow in dead tree wood and twigs, and then spread to leaves under cool, wet conditions. From there, the fungus can infect young citrus and create blemished fruit. The disease affects grapefruit more readily, but is not limited to grapefruit alone. Melanose is a cosmetic citrus disease that affects the appearance of the fruit, but not the fruit quality or ultimate citrus tree health. The disease is generally more severe in trees over ten years of age. Punctual pruning is an effective way to prevent Melanose, especially when dead twigs and branches are caused from freezing temperatures. Liquid Copper Fungicide spray during temperatures below 94 degrees Fahrenheit can prevent Melanose, but may cause existing blemishes to darken. Strobilurin-containing fungicides are also effective to control Melanose, and can be applied at any time.

Citrus Canker

Citrus Canker is a bacterial infection caused by the pathogen Xanthomonas citri. This pervasive citrus tree disease creates circular lesions, or scabs, on citrus fruit, leaves, and twigs. Newer lesions are yellow, and more mature Citrus Canker lesions become brown. Citrus Canker is highly contagious and can be transmitted by wind-blown rain, or mechanically by pruning equipment, ladders, vehicles, and clothing. Citrus Canker causes necrotic dieback, tree decline, premature fruit drop, and blemished fruit. There are a variety of sprays designed to protect citrus trees from Canker infection, such as Liquid Copper Fungicide as a preventative treatment. However, already infected trees should be removed and destroyed to prevent further contamination from the contagious Citrus Canker disease.

Root Rot (also known as Brown Rot or Collar Rot) is a citrus tree disease caused by the soil-inhabiting fungus, Phytophthora. Root Rot symptoms include dark brown or black patches of hardened bark on the tree trunk, mainly at the base. It is also common for ooze to seep from the affected area. As citrus Root Rot advances, tree bark dries, cracks and dies. The infected area is then left as a dark sunken crater, or indention. As Root Rot progresses, it can cause the fruit to become brown and slowly decay. Leaves may also turn yellow and drop. Root Rot fungus exists in the soil and thrives in wet conditions, such as periods of flooding or excessive rainfall. The disease can then migrate to the tree from splashed or windblown dirt. To prevent citrus tree Root Rot, remove all decaying material such as leaves, dead weeds, and fallen fruit from the ground surrounding the tree base, and prune lower limbs to at least two feet above the ground. Spraying citrus trees including limbs and trunks with fungicide will also control Root Rot.

Sooty mold is a black leaf fungus that is the symbiotic result of mold forming on leaves where honeydew secretions from insects like whiteflies, aphids and mealybugs provide the ideal nutrition and harborage for the fungus to grow. Therefore, controlling those insects is the most efficient way to control Sooty Mold on citrus. Spray citrus trees with insecticide formulated to control whiteflies, mealybugs, and aphids, and be sure to spray both the top and undersides of the leaves. To control and eliminate established Sooty Mold, spray the tree with Liquid Copper Fungicide.

Citrus Tree Insects & Pests

Citrus Whitefly

The Citrus Whitefly (Dialeurodes citri) is a small fly that is dependent on new citrus foliage growth for development and reproduction. Citrus Whiteflies feed on the underside of citrus tree leaves, and will take flight in swarms when an infected branch is disturbed. Whitefly larvae create honeydew when sucking sap from leaves, which in turn creates Sooty Mold, and attracts other insects. Several generations of Citrus Whitefly can propagate over a single growing season. Since adults fly, it is difficulty to control an entire Citrus Whitefly population. Therefore, insecticide spraying to control Whitefly juveniles is the most effective means of treating infected citrus trees.

Aphids are tiny insects and nearly all individuals are egg-laying females that produce live young. Males are only needed to produce over-winter capable eggs, so hatching and growing Aphids can create rapid infestations. Because of this, Aphid populations can grow quickly and cause serious damage. Aphid outbreaks are especially fond of succulent new growth. Aphids attack the tree by sucking the sap from leaves. An affected citrus tree will quickly form curled leaves, leaf yellowing, colonies of aphids, and the attendant dripping honeydew will become visible. This can attract ants, as well as Sooty Mold. Eventually leaves will die, and twigs will rot and fall off. Aphids can be controlled using insecticides and insecticidal soap on infected areas, and treating both tops and undersides of leaves, and all branches and twigs.

Citrus Thrips

When a tree is infected with Citrus Thrips the most visible sign of the infestation is curled, enclosed, or shriveled leaves. Citrus Thrips are tiny orange, yellow, or even black insects that can attack trees at any age. Thrips attack young leaves and juvenile fruit and feed on the citrus tree sap. Adult Citrus Thrips lay eggs in the fall and the juvenile insects hatch in spring. To control Citrus Thrips spray the tree with Garden Insect Spray with Spinosad. Repeat spray applications may be required every two weeks. Keep the tree well irrigated and property fertilized, because a vigorous tree is less susceptible, although not immune, to Citrus Thrips.

Orangedog Caterpillars

The Orangedog Caterpillar is a large, brown, green, and white caterpillar about two inches long. The markings create a clever mimic of bird droppings, and an effective deterrent to predators. The Orangedog Caterpillar is the juvenile stage of the black and yellow swallowtail butterfly, common throughout Florida and the tropics. The adult butterfly lays her eggs on new citrus leaves and, as the eggs hatch and new caterpillars emerge, they consume leaf flesh. In sufficient numbers Orangedogs can defoliate an entire tree. To control the Orangedog Caterpillar, physically remove and destroy the caterpillars by hand. When disturbed, the caterpillars may push out two red horn antennas from just behind their head that emit a strong, foul smell. Severe Orangedog Caterpillar infestations can be controlled by spraying with an insecticide that contains either Spinosad, or Bacillus thuringiensis (BTK). Both insecticides are made from naturally occurring bacteria. Spray the entire tree. It is possible that a second spraying may be required in a month or so, depending on the severity of the infestation.

Snails will eat leaves, fruit rinds, and sometimes, citrus tree bark. Snails can be detected visually, or by spotting the damage created as they feed. Snails use leaves on the ground for breeding grounds and as cover. Therefore, to control snails, it is important to remove fallen leaves and fruit from around and under the trees. Also, it is a good idea to prune any low branches that may touch the ground, to keep snails from easily accessing citrus tree interiors. Slug and Snail Bait can be applied to the soil surface to control snail growth and movement.

Brown Soft Scale

Brown Soft Scale is caused by a small insect that attaches itself permanently to citrus tree branches, trunks, leaves, and fruit. Brown Soft Scale insects suck sap from the tree and cause leaves to yellow then drop. Brown Scale also produces honeydew secretion that is conducive to the growth of Sooty Mold.

To control Brown Soft Scale insects, spray horticultural oil to suffocate the scale and eggs. Crawling nymphs only emerge in early summer, so trees can be treated with insecticides at that time to prevent further infestation.

Citrus Bud Mites

Citrus Bud Mite is a tiny, elongated insect that mainly attacks lemon trees located in coastal areas. The lemon blooms are very susceptible because the Citrus Bud Mite attacks the delicate blossom and new leaves, feeding on sap. To control Citrus Bud Mites spray the tree with insecticide such as Bug Buster or Trounce.

Citrus Red Mites

Like Citrus Bud Mites, Red Mites are tiny insects that feed on new growth and sometimes even fruit. The Citrus Bud Mite is red or purple and often inhabits the underside of mature leaves, or the delicate folds of emerging foliage. Severe infestations can cause leaf drop, low yields, and poor tree health. To control Citrus Bud Mites spray trees thoroughly with insecticides such as Bug Buster or Trounce.

Fruit Tree Care: Spray & Weed Control

A properly executed schedule for maintaining fruit trees and their growing site is key to success. Plan ahead: the rewards are worth the effort!

Summer is finally upon us, and it's time to take a good look at our fruit trees. Pest and disease control – in the form of a well-maintained growing site, as well as sprays (either natural or synthetic) – are things to practice on a year-round basis. Keeping a growing site clear of debris and weeds will help keep down the risk of fungal infections and environments suitable for pests. Dormant-season sprays are a great preventative, and growing-season sprays help provide prevention and control as needed. After the very unusual spring experienced in most parts of the country, the best defense for the fruit crop is a good offense in the form of a well-executed spray schedule. Here is a timeline for a full year's worth of advice for maintaining fruit trees. In summer, you can begin by implementing Step 4.

Fruit Trees in Arkansas

Keep reading for details on growing fruit trees in Arkansas!

Home gardening as a hobby experienced huge growth last year and we are expecting this trend to continue. With this trend in mind, and knowing that many in our community are interested in either adding onto their ‘grocery’ garden or getting started, we are going to focus more this spring on vegetable, small fruit and tree fruit gardening.

Our fruit trees, blueberries and brambles arrived this week, earlier than ever, so you can start planting now! For details on growing blueberries in Arkansas, follow this link. This particular post is about fruit trees, specifically ones that can grow successfully in Arkansas. Follow these links for other fruit posts:

Fruit Tree Terms

Self-pollinating trees (also known as self-fruitful or self-fertile) are pollinated by pollen from another flower on the same tree or even the by pollen from the same flower. The benefits of self-pollinating trees is that you only need one to get fruit. However, having an additional tree of the same type, such as two self-pollinating trees, will often result in better yield. A good example of this is Santa Rosa plum. These trees are considered partially self-fertile.

Some fruit trees require cross pollination (these are also known as self-unfruitful or self-sterile), and need to be planted near a different variety of the same tree species with similar bloom time. Another tree of the same variety will work for some fruit trees.

Fruit trees with pits, including peaches, plums and nectarines, are referred to as stone fruits. Freestone is another term you will see below freestone peach varieties have fruit that falls right off the pit when ripe. Clingstone peaches have fruit that clings to the pit.

Fruit Tree Growing Tips

Fruit trees need full sun, which is at least six hours of direct sun. They also need room to grow so take note of mature size of your new fruit tree before planting. Good air flow cuts down on disease and insect issues so consider this before planting as well.

Once planted, water as needed, avoid over or underwatering your tree. Plant in soil that is well-drained. We say that a lot because most plants need this kind of soil. Basically, it means that the soil doesn’t hold onto too much water. We have some clay soils around here and depending on how much clay is in your soil, it could be poorly drained, the excess water cutting off oxygen to tree roots. Adding organic matter at planting is recommended, and we suggest using Good Earth Jump Start as well to get the roots established faster.

Fertilizing of fruit trees will help overall tree fruit as well as fruit production. Fertilize twice a year with Ferti-Lome Fruit, Citrus and Pecan Tree Food. Follow label instructions for rates and timing. Apply in the drip line of the tree and water in.

As with growing vegetables, monitoring for disease and insect issues is part of successfully growing fruit trees and small fruits. Although more and more varieties are disease resistant, this doesn’t mean they won’t get any diseases. For example, all peaches are prone to disease and will most likely need to be treated at some point. Monitor and address issues as they arise. We carry Bonide Fruit Tree Spray which is an all-in-one disease and insect spray plus spreader sticker to increase absorption. Always read label instructions and follow carefully.

A Few More Fruit Tree Tips

Pruning of fruit trees is necessary for a variety of reasons including shaping, training, increasing light for higher yields, controlling the tree size and the removal of dead branches. This is a pretty big topic the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service has a great fact sheet on this. Follow this link for detailed fruit tree pruning information.

One other item to note many fruit trees have been grafted. This is when the root system, or root stock, portion of the plant is different than the top growth of the plant. Trees are grafted to produce a stronger plant varieties with a strong root system are chosen as root stock. A variety with desirable fruiting traits is chosen for the top growth. The result is the best of both worlds, so to speak.

One effect of grafted trees is that there are often dwarf or standard sizes of the same type of plant. As an example, not all Santa Rosa plums are standard OR dwarf, it depends on root stock chosen. Dwarf fruit trees will be labeled as such. Unless a tree is labeled as dwarf, then it is a standard growing tree. Semi-dwarf trees are also available with some varieties.

Fruit Tree Resources

We mentioned the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service above in the section about pruning. They have a variety of other fact sheets on home tree fruit production as well. Here is a link to that page it’s worth a visit for sure. And of course, our team is here to help you keep growing too. Email, call or come by The Good Earth for answers to your questions!

Fruit Tree Varieties

This is not an exhaustive list instead, it’s a list of fruit trees that can grow well here in central Arkansas and ones we typically carry. Soils are different around the state and so are average last frost dates. We get fruit trees in the spring and fall we suggest shopping during these seasons for best selection. As you might guess, the best time to plant fruit trees in Arkansas is either spring or fall.


  • Belle of Georgia – Self-pollinating, disease resistant*, freestone, red fruit color
  • Blaze Prince – Self-pollinating, freestone, yellow fruit color
  • Florida King – Self-pollinating, semi-freestone, yellow fruit color, early ripening fruit
  • Red Haven – Self-pollinating, freestone, disease resistant to leaf spot*, red fruit color, late blooming to avoid frosts
  • Surecrop – Self-pollinating, freestone, generally resistant to late frosts and disease*
  • Bonfire Patio – Self-pollinating, clingstone, grown primarily as an ornamental tree, insignificant fruits, stunning pink blooms and eye-catching purple foliage
  • Bonanza Patio – Self-pollinating, large pink blooms, freestone, genetic dwarf tree (4-5 ft tall and wide), yellow- red fruit color

*Please note that even disease resistant varieties can experience disease issues. Monitor and treat as needed.


  • Santa Rosa – Self-pollinating but crop yields increase with pollinizer tree, freestone, grows to 10 ft tall and wide, good fruit producer, purplish skin and yellow fruit color, sweet fruit, keeps well, Japanese plum, heat tolerant
  • Methley – Self-pollinating, clingstone, sweet purple-red fruit, heavy bearer, disease resistant to fungal diseases like rust*, good pollinizer for other Japanese plums such as Santa Rosa, heavy fruit producer, heat tolerant


  • Fuyu – Self-pollinating but produces larger crop when planted with a cross pollinizer tree, mildly sweet with great flavor, tough fruit tree that does well in Arkansas, heat tolerant, large fruit yields, seedless, fruits keep well


  • Kieffer – Self-pollinating but requires cross pollinizer tree (another Kieffer will work) for good yield, heavy bearing, tolerant of drought, resistant to fire blight*, big yellow fruit with a coarse texture
  • Orient – Self-pollinating but requires cross pollinizer tree (Kieffer, Bartlett or Moonglow will work well), smooth textured, white fruit, medium resistance to fire blight*, heavy producer, cross between European and Asian pears
  • Pineapple – Self-pollinating, heirloom pear, yellow fruit with a red blush and pineapple-like flavor, fruit keeps well, good pollinizer for other pears
  • Shinko- Requires pollination by another Asian pear, also called an apple pear because of the apple shape, medium fruit size, resistant to fire blight*, crisp, sweet fruit
  • Ayers – Self-pollinating but will produce higher yield with a cross pollinizer tree, also called sugar pear because it’s candy sweet, fire blight resistant*, medium yellow fruit with a red blush


  • Yellow Delicious – Self-pollinating and a good pollinizer for other apples, mild, sweet taste
  • Red Delicious – Requires a cross pollinizer tree such as Gala, mild taste, outstanding red color, best eaten fresh, doesn’t hold up well to cooking
  • Wine Sap – Requires a cross pollinizer tree such as Yellow or Red Delicious, or Jonathan, rich, wine-like flavor, long lasting after harvest (up to 6 months under refrigeration)
  • Gala – Requires a cross pollinizer tree such as Fuji, sweet-tart flavor, eat fresh, also cooks and stores well
  • Anna – Self-pollinating but will produce higher yield with a cross pollinizer tree, sweet, slightly tart fruit, suited to mild winter areas like the South, ripens early
  • Fuji – Requires cross pollinizer tree (Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonathan), very popular fresh eating apple, stores well
  • Arkansas Black – Self-pollinating produces higher yield with across pollinizer tree, disease resistant*, late maturing, stores well


  • Desirable – Requires a cross pollinizer tree (such as Stuart or Choctaw), heavy producer of large, sweet pecans, papershell
  • Choctaw – Plant with a cross pollinizer tree (such as Stuart or Desirable) for best yields, papershell, disease resistant*
  • Stuart – great pollinizer for other pecan trees, papershell, long lived pecan tree variety, medium pecans


  • Brown Turkey – Self-pollinating, hardy in our area, produces brown fruit in late spring and late summer, delicious fresh, in preserves or dried, heat tolerant
  • LSU Gold – Self-pollinating, yellow fruit, hardy in our area
  • Celeste – Self-pollinating, heat tolerant, pest (closed eye helps reduce insect issues) and disease resistant*, medium size sweet fruit

*Please note that even disease resistant varieties can experience disease issues. Monitor and treat as needed.

Site Selection

Site selection is the single most important factor in establishing an orchard. Light exposure, soil properties, water availability, and temperature extremes and fluctuations are important factors to consider when selecting an orchard site. Paying close attention to these details before planting is crucial.

Fruit trees need full sunlight to achieve maximum fruit quantity, size, quality, and coloration. Ensure that trees are spaced for a mature tree size so that they do not shade one another (see Rootstock and Planting sections of this publication).

Light must reach fruit throughout the tree canopy. Correct spacing, pruning, and training will allow light to reach the fruit. Light levels are reduced deeper in the canopy. At least 35% of light interception is required to initiate flower formation and more than 70% is required to produce high quality fruit. Tree borders should be clear of large trees and brush that can shade trees in the orchard.


Temperature extremes, nighttime temperatures, temperature fluctuations, and length of growing season determine what fruit trees are suitable for an area. Fruit trees have a chilling requirement to successfully bud and bloom in the spring. The chilling requirement is a period of cold temperatures that is required to break plant dormancy. Temperatures optimal for satisfying a chilling requirement are from 40 to 45°F. Temperatures below freezing are less effective in satisfying the chilling requirement, while temperatures above 59°F may reverse accumulated chilling.

Damage due to early spring temperature fluctuations can occur to early flowers but also to the trees themselves (Figure 1). Early blooming varieties with lower chilling requirements are more susceptible to spring frost/freeze blossom damage.

Temperature requirements differ among apples, peaches, and pecans. Apples require warm days and cool nights for proper color development. Freezing temperatures during early flower development that do not completely kill the blossoms may result in "halo" apples, frequently called “frost ring” (Figure 2).

Peaches are especially susceptible to early spring frost/freeze events. Varieties suited for the mountains of North Carolina will be different than those appropriate for the Sandhills and Coastal Plains (see the Cultivar Selection section of this publication).

Pecans are better adapted to the warmer regions of North Carolina, and late blooming and shorter season varieties should be chosen carefully to avoid frost/freeze damage. North Carolina is on the northern border of viable climates for the improved-type pecans. We only recommend growing pecans in the eastern part of the state to avoid damaging spring temperatures, early fall freezes, and a shorter growing season.

Air Drainage

Just as proper soil drainage is important for tree roots (see Soil Drainage), air drainage is important for regulating temperature and avoiding stagnant cold air in the orchard. Choose a site that slopes downhill without obstructions. Wooded areas, buildings, and fences can cause pooling cold air that can result in spring frost damage. Avoid planting trees too close to these obstructions (Figure 3).

Orchards should be planted in the middle of the slope. A location such as a valley or bottomland where the air will pool and settle should not be planted. Wind machines or overheard irrigation can be used during spring frost events. In many areas of North Carolina we can see a 1°F difference in temperature for every 10-foot increase in elevation during damaging spring frost/freeze events. In North Carolina, when tree fruit crops are lost due to spring frost/freeze events, a temperature differential of 3 to 4°F can be the difference between no crop and a full crop.

Figure 1. Southwest damage on an Asian pear trunk caused by extreme temperature fluctuations during late winter/spring of the year.

Step 3: Biostimulant

TreeHelp Biostimulant is a dry, water-soluble root growth stimulant containing beneficial components to give your plants a health boost. It provides benefits to all types of trees, shrubs, and other garden plants. It is designed to promote root and lateral bud development, improve the efficiency of a plant's respiratory and photosynthetic systems and delay the aging process in plant tissue. The unique composition of ingredients includes beneficial bacteria as well as humic acid extracts, pathogen-fighting fungi, soluble sea kelp, yucca plant extracts, amino acids and vitamins. The beneficial bacteria fix nitrogen, solubilize phosphorus and promote growth.

Watch the video: Persimmon Tree Diseases u0026 Pests