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Sunday - June 27, 2010

From: Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Possible freeze damage to Texas Persimmon in Fair Oaks Ranch TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Texas Persimmon tree that is in a green belt. It has leafed out and flowered for the eight years we have lived here. This year it leafed out then the leaves turned brown and dropped. The top appears dead. New growth is coming from the trunk near the soil. Should I cut the top off? Is it going to survive? We are at the end of a 2-3 year drought.

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile, Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) is native to your area, regardless of which of the three counties you live in, Bexar, Comal or Kendall. We would also think that in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, there should not have been freeze damage to it. However, we did have a most unusual winter all over Texas, and that is the most logical answer to your question we can come up with. 

Try the thumbnail test on the bark of the tree; scrape off a very thin sliver of the bark, and see if there is a thin layer of green beneath that. Start up high on the dead part, and work down toward the roots. If and when you come to an underlayer of green, you can trim the tree off there. We would not, however, recommend you do that until the weather is cooler. Give the tree regular watering and don't fertilize, a tree under stress should never be fertilized.  Also, don't trim off the new growth down below-that is probably suckers, but at this point the leaves on those suckers (which share a root with the tree) are the only sources of nutrition for the plant. When Fall comes and you can assess the situation, you can decide if you want a multi-trunk Texas persimmon or if you want to dig it out and start over. 

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