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I planted the persimmon tree last November which was about 4 years old. The tree seemed to be ok until July this year. Then, I recently noticed that a majority of the leaves on the tree have been turning brown on the edges and many are curled. I am a novice tree grower and don't know what to do for this tree. Can anybody give me any advice?

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Whilst these trees can suffer various leaf problems, to be honest, this one looks like its suffering from drought. If the tree was four years old when you planted it, and its only been in a year, and especially if you live somewhere which has hot and dry summers, it would have needed a minimum of a couple of gallons of water every 4 or 5 days or 4/5 gallons every week or so, throughout any hot and dry period. This is true of all new plantings of trees and shrubs, in particular during their first two years. I know you have an irrigation system, but I doubt that would have provided enough water for this tree. I suggest you leave a hose trickling at the base for an hour or two, or carry cans and water thoroughly with about 6 cans full now. Then make sure you keep it well supplied with water until late autumn (or fall, depending where you are).

Could be too much water, but seems unlikely unless for some reason drainage is poor in that area. If you're not sure, I'd be inclined to dig down and reveal the soil around the rootball, or the rootball itself, preferably without breaking roots, just to see whether its dry or wet or whatever...

Of course, if it is too wet, some nutrients may be washing out of the soil so the plant's going short, and it might mean you've got a Leaf Blight, which is prevalent in wet conditions, but it doesn't exactly look like Leaf Blight so much, though I can't see up close of course. Link below talks about Leaf Blight

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/leaf-blight-disease-persimmon-trees-55958.html

This link is actually Australian, but might be useful for diagnostic purposes

http://era.daf.qld.gov.au/2210/11/Problem_solver-persimmon.pdf

I'm curious as to what the heap behind the plant in the picture might be...

UPDATED ANSWER:

Now I've read your description of how you planted the tree, it may well be suffering from too much water. It's never a good idea to dig a hole, fill it with good compost or good soil and plant, especially if the surrounding soil is solid clay or otherwise poor. What you've made is the equivalent of a sink, where all the water drains to because it can penetrate more easily where you have planted. The best way to plant in those circumstances is to dig over an area at least 6 feet by 6 feet, incorporating composted manure or whatever, let that settle for a week or so, then dig your hole and plant your tree.

As for staking, yes, a tree does need staking, particularly against a prevailing wind to prevent it leaning over, but not so that it cannot move at all - the movement of air through the leaves and branches and main trunk, causing slight movement of the mainstem (but not the rootball), cause the trunk to thicken up and become stronger - without any movement at all, the trunk is in danger of remaining thin and weak. If you're interested in this, look up thigmomorphogenesis, because that's what this process is called.

  • Thanks for the advice. Could it be the overwatering problem? The irrigation system around the persimmon tree has 26 emitters of 1 GPH and runs every three days -- i.e., it emits water about 15 gallons every three days. After reading your comments that 4~5 gallons every week is appropriate, I am suspecting that my tree has been getting too much water... – DSKim Sep 27 '15 at 16:36
  • See updated answer – Bamboo Sep 27 '15 at 17:12
  • Where is this water coming from? Is this city water, tap water? Do you have a water softener up line on the irrigation system? This looks like high salt to me, rare for out of doors. All the tips and edges turn yellow then brown. Doesn't look to me like too much water or too little water. All of the leaves are still alive but just the edges are browning. – stormy Sep 27 '15 at 18:47
  • Definitely get rid of the staking. Staking is only to help a tree from being blown over. The more a tree MOVES the roots are growing to also include support from wind as well as the trunk of the tree widens in caliper. Then when the tree gets larger it'll be able to resist wind on its own. Get those stakes OFF. – stormy Sep 27 '15 at 18:50
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    @DSKim - see updated answer. You might want to consider whether you should either remove the plant, carefully, and correct the soil around it, or whether you can dig further out and around the tree without damaging its roots. – Bamboo Sep 28 '15 at 10:20

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