When I was a kid, persimmon attacks were common, particularly among the brothers in my family.
Actually, exclusively among the brothers in my family.
I’m under a different kind of persimmon attack now. And while the attack of yesteryear (being pelted with persimmons) is unpleasant, this new kind is bad in a different way.
My Japanese persimmon is being attacked by the persimmon psyllid (Trioza diospyri). So this is not good, and it’s unexpected. After all, one of the great things about having persimmon trees is their characteristically pest-resistant nature.
I first noticed the baby leaves at the tips of the branches were looking curled and wrinkled.
I wondered why, so I took a closer look.
Underneath the leaf, as I uncurled the leaf edges, I found this white, powdery, somewhat sticky substance, and what seemed to be insect larvae. They were very small, so small that I needed to take a picture and zoom in tight to see what they looked like.
A few searches for powdery insects on persimmon leaves later, I identified them as persimmon psyllid. There’s a better photo below. See entire article here:
Nymph of the persimmon psylla, Trioza diospyri (Ashmead). Photograph by Lyle Buss, University of Florida.
I hunted around for another incarnation of this creature and found a more mature nymph hiding at the base of a leaf.
The adults look like this:
Adult persimmon psylla, Trioza diospyri (Ashmead). Photograph by Lyle Buss, University of Florida.
While it doesn’t usually cause devastating damage, it stunts the new growth. On a small tree like mine, I don’t want to lose any time before I start to get my first fruits, so this is a pain. As the tree matures and there is proportionately less “succulent” (new, tender) growth, it will be less of a problem.
You can spray for this, but I’m just hand-smushing the larvae and nymphs.
This is more of a worry in the US Southeast where I’m located than in more northern areas. Be on the lookout, though, wherever you are. Things are migrating further and further every year.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: How do they find me?