We have covered some tree recommendations for habitat improvement, but this might be my favorite. This is probably due to the fact that I grew up in the Midwest and persimmons were a fall treat when baked in cookies or persimmon pudding. If you are lucky, you will already have persimmon trees on your ground. One of my favorite memories is watching two bucks feed on persimmons in broad daylight. They will pull deer from all over to eat this whitetail delicacy. This is an easy whitetail habitat improvement project, planting persimmon trees for whitetail deer.
Why Persimmon Trees?
The why is easy, Deer love them, and they are usually ripe when bow season opens or just prior. Deer will literally clean the ground around a persimmon tree like a vacuum cleaner. If you have one, you know how much whitetails love persimmons. When the fruit ripens, it will fall to the ground allowing deer to eat as many as possible. Deer will browse the new growth on persimmon trees in the spring, so it is important to protect these trees if you are planting.
Grunt, Snort-Wheeze, and Rattle this to your buddies!
Let’s look at the persimmon tree in a bit more detail. Persimmon trees can be a male tree or a female tree. In some cases, they can be both, and in some instances, they can switch from year to year. You need a female tree to fruit, but you need a male tree to pollenate. This is getting a bit complicated right.
It usually takes around 10 years for a female tree to fruit if it is cared for, so persimmon trees are a longer game than apple or chestnut trees that we have covered previously. There are ways to graft a female persimmon tree to a root stock, but we are not the subject matter experts on that, and I would suggest a look into google for information. This time frame can be problematic for the whitetail land manager but if you are playing the long game and can wait, I would suggest carving out a little portion for these trees.
A good place for planting persimmon trees would be along fence rows or edges of food plots or the edges of deer orchards.
For reference the tree in the picture is roughly 10 years old. I have two from this planting that are producing a fair amount of persimmons. I also have 3 – 4 from this planting that are producing but at a much reduced rate. On the bright side, the deer are loving them!
Other Persimmon Varieties
There are varieties of persimmon, the oriental, for instance that fruits quicker. They also hold their fruit on the limb when ripe which can be problematic for whitetails if they cannot reach the fruit. I don’t have in depth experience with oriental persimmons, I have planted 4 on our whitetail property but they have not been as hearty as the American variety and I continue to struggle to get them to grow and fruit. I am not discouraging you if you want to try, but I have not had success with these.
Another benefit of the American persimmon tree is the fruit for baking. Here is a recipe if you have never tried it for persimmon pudding. It makes a great desert at Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday get togethers.
While it is a longer game than other options out there for whitetail property trees, they will pull whitetails in during daylight hours.
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