Diospyros virginiana, the Common Persimmon, is a large deciduous tree in the Ebenaceae family. The common persimmon is a southern native small to medium fruit tree that is becoming more popular for homegrown fruit. The bark is grey or black and forms chunks or blocks that give it a checkerboard look. Fall color can be a spectacular red in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8a. It is well adapted to cities but requires fallen fruit maintenance and wildlife control. Its mature height can be 40 to 60 feet, with branches spreading from 20 to 35 feet and a trunk two feet thick, but it is commonly much shorter in landscapes. The trunk can have a singular or multiple trunks, it tends to form colonies. The leaves are alternate, simple, and a rich green color. The leaf margins can be entire or somewhat serrated. The funnel-shaped flower has four petals and ranges in color from white to cream to gray.
Tree Bark Photo: UF
The common persimmon is smaller than a ping-pong ball. The persimmon is a round fruit with an orange to reddish-purple color, with a size of 1 ¼ inches across. The flavor is more fermented and sugary-sweet. In Florida, the season is from late August to early November. Fruit do not ripen at the same time. When ripe, the fruit turns from green to burnt orange. They also fall from the tree. The fruit is soft, sticky, and very delicious, but it needs to be separated from its skin and seeds before being used in recipes. They can be eaten out of hand when fully ripe, pureed, dried, and used in preserves, chutneys, quick breads, puddings, pies, and sweet and savory dishes. The fruit is very favored by wildlife. Persimmon fruit is an essential food source for songbirds, turkeys, and small and large mammals.
Common Persimmon Fruit. Photo: UF
Common persimmon prefers moist, well-drained, bottomland or sandy soils but is known to be very drought- and urban-tolerant. It is a fantastic tree in its adaptability to site conditions, including alkaline soil. It is commonly seen as a volunteer tree in old fields but grows slowly on dry sites. Its fruit is an edible berry that usually ripens after frost. Some cultivars do not require the frost treatment to ripen. Persimmon fruit is hard and astringent when unripe. Most American cultivars require both male and female trees for proper fruiting.
Besides fallen fruit maintenance, persimmon maintenance is easy and is suggested that it persimmon should be planted more often. Due to a coarsely branched root system, transplantation is difficult. The trees should be balled and burlapped when young or grown from containers. The wood from the tree is used for golf club heads because it is tough and almost black.
Common persimmon is troubled by a leaf-spot disease in the south. This disease causes black spots on the leaves and premature defoliation in August in the north and September in the south. The tree will not die from the disease. It is also susceptible to a vascular wilt, which can devastate established trees. There are no severe pests fort his native fruit tree, except occasional caterpillars.
For more information, please contact your local county extension Office.
It is no surprise how hot it has been this summer. With increasing temperatures, the danger also increases for our agriculture and natural resources. Our agriculture and natural resources are an economical and lifestyle treasure that provides favored services like timber, water supply protection, livestock forage, recreation, fisheries, and hunting. Our forest and ecosystems are declining in health and biodiversity due to changed climate activity. Climate change impacts every type of natural resource. Plant and animal species distributions will continue to change as rising temperatures alter ecosystems and amplify existing environmental concerns.
Climate change refers to the range of changes that will occur locally and globally due to this ‘global warming.’ These changes include changes in rainfall patterns, melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, and increasing temperature. To understand how our climate is changing, one must first know how our climate works. Greenhouse gases allow the sun’s rays to enter our atmosphere. Once the rays reflect off the earth’s surface, greenhouse gases trap them in the atmosphere and warm the planet. This act is called the greenhouse effect, and it is necessary for life on earth; the world would be too cold to live without it. Some greenhouse gases are present naturally and others are byproducts of human industry. Natural greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Over the past 150 years, humans have caused a significant increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases occurring naturally and those made by humans in the atmosphere. Due to these increases, scientists have recorded environmental changes, projected to continue warming our planet to unprecedented levels.
Biodiversity are one of the primary aspects at risk. Species that can adapt in wide geographic ranges, such as white-tailed deer and feral hogs, will likely continue to thrive. Species that depend on specific habitats, aquatic and coastal ecosystems, are at risk. Food and forage production will decrease in agricultural areas experiencing increased droughts. Higher temperatures decrease soil moisture, causing crop stress and water demand issues—further stressing U.S. surface and groundwater supplies used for irrigation. Many crops decrease in yield as temperatures rise beyond the heat tolerance range. Warmer winters increase the incidence of pests and diseases in our ecosystems. Extreme heat, especially nighttime heat, decreases animal activity. Impacts vary from different areas, depending on warming and adaption levels.
Climate action does not always require grand gestures or massive lifestyle changes. We can all play a part in combating climate change by making small adjustments in our daily routines. A fundamental step in tackling climate change is to adopt the “reduce, reuse, and recycle” mantra in your everyday life. By reducing waste, reusing items, and recycling materials, you can positively impact the environment. Energy consumption and water usage directly affect greenhouse gas emissions and water scarcity. You can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by adopting energy-efficient practices and conserving water.
A Florida native wildflower is a flowering herbaceous species that had grown wild in the state’s natural ecosystems in the 1560s when Florida’s first botanical records were created. Planting native wildflowers in Florida benefits natural resources, native pollinators, and other beneficial insects. By planting wildflowers, one is providing shelter for pollinators and increasing wild be & natural enemies of insect pests population. When protecting, enhancing, or restoring habitat to benefit pollinators, choose a mix of native plant species that will bloom throughout the year and provide a continuous source of pollen and nectar for many pollinator species. Site planting and preparation are crucial to establishing new pollinator habitats. The site should be manageable, benefit wildlife, and support the overall management practices of the property.
Diversify your selection of seeds. Flowering species native to Florida and suited to specific site conditions are the best choice for attracting and supporting diverse pollinator populations. Try to use seeds that are not native and are produced in Florida. Florida-produced seeds will be better adapted to Florida’s growing conditions. Planting a mixed species that bloom at different times will benefit pollinators throughout the year. Different flower sizes, shapes, colors, and plant heights will attract more pollinators and other insects.
Site Planning & Preparation
Wildflower plots that are planted in full sun provide the most pollen and nectar and are more attractive to pollinators. Bees can start working on flowers early in the day. However, flowers wet with dew may be ignored until they are dry. Plant along field edges on farms, cleared from pesticide drift and areas that will not disturb farming practices. Wildflowers should be planted in areas where the ground is not disturbed regularly. Most bee species do not live in communal colonies or collaborate in rearing offspring; 70% of these solitary bees nest in the ground. Plant in multiple locations that have well-drained. An available water source for irrigation benefits the planting, mainly during seed germination and early seedling establishment. Once plants have been established, additional watering is usually only necessary in drought.
Proper site preparation is needed to minimize weeds throughout plot establishment and growth. At least an entire season of weed eradication before planting is necessary. At least two months before planting, mow the area and remove any thatch. Allow new weed growth to begin, and then treat the site with a non-persistent, post-emergent herbicide. Repeat the herbicide treatment at least twice, two weeks between applications, allowing for more weed growth between treatments. This process can start as soon as weeds grow in early spring. Some herbicides have a residual activity that can kill or prevent the germination of wildflower species typically included in pollinator planting. Herbicide labels list species that are tolerant depending on the rate applied. It is crucial always to follow label instructions. As organic weed management, sites can be prepared using solarization. This technique uses greenhouse plastic to raise high soil temperatures to kill weedy plants and seeds in the top four to six inches of soil. Solarization can be done using large sheets of plastic to control weeds. After either solarization or chemical treatment and mowing, the aim is to have at least 90% of the soil free of plant material to ensure proper seed-to-soil contact during planting.
Seed the plot
Depending on the region, plots should be planted between September and January in Florida after an entire season of site preparation. No-till planting is recommended. Years of weed seeds are stored within the soil, waiting to be exposed to sunlight and begin germinating. Tilling an area will disturb the seed bank and promote weed growth rather than wildflower growth. When the plot is ready, mix seeds based on size and weight. Annual and perennial seeds can be mixed and planted together. Alternatively, annuals and perennials can be planted in separate blocks to allow each type to be managed individually. Multiple techniques and equipment are used to spread seeds along the soil surface. Using tractor-pulled equipment is the most efficient option for larger plots but is less successful in evenly spreading lightweight seeds. Be cautious of using a too-heavy roller in very sandy soil. Excessive weight will force the seeds too far under the sand, where they will not germinate. A no-till seed drill is an alternative to spreading seed on the plot surface. Equipment costs of renting or purchasing a seed drill can be expensive for small wildflower plots; however, seed drills can be very efficient for larger wildflower establishments.
Undesirable weeds may establish quickly within the wildflower plot in the first year, especially if the site is not thoroughly prepared. Monitor the plants and try to control weeds sooner rather than later. Fertilization generally is not necessary. If competing weedy grasses start establishing in the plot, use a grass-specific herbicide to achieve control as quickly as possible, preferably while the grass weeds are small. However, if you have included native grasses in your planting, consider using a mechanical control method. The herbicide used will depend on the species you are trying to control. Spray using a coarse/large droplet size to avoid overspray onto desired species. Whenever possible, spray at night to prevent times when pollinating species will be present on the flowers. Always follow the product label when applying herbicides of any type. Hand-pull small patches of competing weeds. Cut or use a weed trimmer on larger patches of weeds. Mowing your planting can reduce weed competition. In perennial-only plots, mow throughout the first year to inhibit the growth of annual weeds. Mow plots were planted with annual and perennial wildflowers in the late fall of the first year after planting. Mow at a low enough level to hit and distribute the seed heads but high enough to avoid disturbing the bases of overwintering perennial plants. The actual timing of this mowing will depend on region, soil type, and weather.