As new parents of a fruit tree, you most likely are excitedly looking forward to the first crop your tree produces. As spring time flourishes and you see your new fruit form, you start preparing for what you will do with that first delicious bite. And then out of nowhere (it seems!) you come out one morning to find that beloved first fruit on the ground, before it was ripe. So what has caused this? There are a variety of reasons and we list the top 5 for you to utilize as you troubleshoot to find a solution.

#1 Inadequate Pollination

Naturally, insufficiently pollinated young fruit will be shed. This can be caused by an inadequate presence of pollination helpers (like bees) during the bloom time of your trees. You may encourage a greater population of bees and other beneficials by companion-planting roses and other garden plants that will attract them and avoid using pest control sprays while your tree is blooming.

One additional persimmon issue bears mentioning: premature fruit drop. The reason persimmons fall from the tree before they ripen is the result of parthenocarpy, which a fascinating botanical phenomenon.

Parthenocarpy (a word that combines “parthenos,” meaning virgin, and “karpos” meaning fruit) is the production of fruit without fertilization. In certain persimmon varieties, parthenocarpically produced fruit is highly susceptible to dropping from the tree before it matures.

In general, what we call a fruit is actually a fully developed plant ovary. The ovary is a female flower part that grows in response to pollination and fertilization of the ovum or egg. Fertilization occurs after pollination — that is, after a male pollen grain from one flower is transferred to the female stigma of another flower — occurs.

A tube grows out from the male pollen grain into the female stigma and then continues to grow down through a filament called a style. At the base of the style, male genetic material from the pollen grain unites with female genetic material that is located there in the ovule (egg).

This mixing of male and female genetic material is known as fertilization, from which a seed is produced.

In most plants, hormone exuded by a developing seed stimulates growth of the ovary into a fruit. But in a few select plants — such as bananas, persimmons, figs, navel oranges, and Satsuma plums — fruits may grow without the benefit of seed formation. In the case of persimmons, although fruit can develop without seeds, larger crops will result and fruit will stay on the tree until ripe when pollination/fertilization and seed development occurs.

The most popular persimmon variety is ‘Fuyu,’ whose fruit often drops when it develops parthenocarpically.

#2 Overbearing

Trees that try to overbear, especially in their early fruit production years, may succumb to early fruit drop. Young trees are more prone to drop fruit, whereas older, established, developed trees tend to more regularly store and make use of their reserve food. This food is stored while a tree is dormant and is used in the production of fruiting buds that swell and bloom in the spring. If a tree has not developed a system to properly store reserve food, the fruit that forms will compete for nutrients to feed them.

If there is too much fruit forming, “survival of the fittest” kicks in, and the tree drops fruit. If the competition for nutrients is between the young fruit and the tree itself, your tree will sacrifice the lot so that it can live to fruit another year.

Some trees shed the newly formed fruit to protect their branches from the stress of the added weight. If the fruit is allowed to remain on the tree, and it grows to its full size, the branches will break or bend down to the ground, which could be an invitation for pests and disease. The outcome is much more detrimental than simply having the underdeveloped fruit be shed to the ground.

If a tree is allowed to sustain a vigorous crop load, and a drop doesn’t occur, one result may be that the tree that bears biennially. The tree will have a bumper crop one year, where it produces an abundance of fruit, and then it will take the next year off to recover. Fruit bearing is a stress on the tree, so it is not unusual that, during this recovery year, your tree will not have a fruit crop.

To avoid fruit drop as a result of overbearing, we recommend thinning the young fruit before the tree drops it. In general, it is best to leave 4-6 inches between each fruit and break up any clusters that may form. You may use small, sharp pruners to remove the fruit or simply pluck it off with your fingers.

If you pinch the blossoms off your tree before the petals drop and fruit begins to form, you will also be able to help avoid overbearing and fruit drop.

#3 Water

Early fruit drop can be a self-regulating tactic that a fruit tree employs when it does not have enough resources to ripen all of its fruit. By the same token, an unsatisfactory watering regime, whether the tree is getting too little or too much water, may be implicated in early fruit drop. For this reason, mulching is recommended, a practice that lengthens irrigation intervals while keeping soil moisture at a constant level.

#4 Weather

Freezes, wind and hail can cause fruit drop as well as other types of damage to trees and their fruit. If you expect a frost or freezing temperatures in your area during the growing season, you can cover your tree with sheets and even wrap holiday lights around it for extra insulation and warmth. Supporting your young tree with tree stakes can help prevent damage to the tree during windstorms. The best thing you can do for your tree is keep it in good health —that way, even if the weather takes some fruit, your healthy tree will stick around to keep producing for you in years to come.

Of course you may find that these general troubleshooting reasons do not apply to your situation and tree. The best next course of action would be to contact your local Agriculture Extension agent to test the soil. It is generally a free service and is vital in helping to diagnose what might be troubling your fruit tree. 



For your fruit drop on persimmons, be sure they have enough of all elements they need, e.g., magnesium, sulphur, and potassium(major ore secondary elements as some folks call them. Also, all of the trace elements such as boron, zinc,manganese, iron, etc. , as well as following the aforementioned advice. RDO

Jessica Muhammad said:

Thanks for sharing this info regarding fruit drop. I actually used the thinning method for my pomegranates and they got huge and plentiful. I will use the same technique for the fuyu persimmons next year but wouldn’t have considered it with out your advice. Thanks again!

Otilia Bernal said:

I have 2 persimmon trees both were full of fruit one was eaten by birds and squires and the other one keeps drop-in the fruit I am very sad, I read your advise hopefully next year will be better, Thank you so much for the explanation.


Thanks for the suggestion of thinning-out. My Persimmon tree is almost 8 years old. Last year we just got few fruits. This year I am planning to do the thinning the fruit by hand and see what happens. For pollination one of my friend suggested to hang rotten fish in the fruit tree which attracts fly and does the work of bees. Although I do not liked the idea, I am piloting it this year for my Papaw trees, which now has many flowers. I see some flies under the Papaw tree and will see if the trick works. Last year, I did not have any rose plants. However, this year I have more than a dozen rose bushes. I am hoping there will be plenty of bees to pollinate my persimmon tree.

Fred Cross said:

I have Italian plum trees planted next to yellow plum trees. The Italian tree produces great every year. The yellow plums fruit falls of about the size of a bb every year. What can I do? All trees are about 12 years old.

Lynette said:

I have a persimmon tree over 8 yrs old and have never gotten a crop.My tree is full of flowers but drop them all.But would you believe it I have about 4-5 small trees near that tree and another full grown tree nearby also that has never blossomed.Are there too many trees around

Linda said:

My tree drops so many berries. They cover the ground and flower beds and often have a moldy looking web. Will this hurt my flower bed? Will they turn into compost or should I try to blow them out. They even get into raised vegetables bed.

Rafael said:

Hello I have a 12’ tall white wildberry tree and just now start dropping the Berry’s the got drop before is ready, what can I do, I’m desapointed. I have other different , fruit trees but other are ok ,grapes oranges ,pamogranate , artichoke,lemons, . Please

Great grandma Eileen said:

I was feeling extremely disappointed in that both my fuyu persimmon plants, at the time of purchase were 2 year olds, and this will be now 4th year has been a real disappointment. Last year the fruits began dropping very early on, but this year I was excited that there were at least a dozen 2" round till couple days ago when they started dropping with 3 remaining which I doubt will get to maturity.

I have been googling for answers since the first droppings, but from all of the sites I have read, your site has the response which I feel educated me most.

Thank you for giving me hope that I will be rewarded with fruits eventually.

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