American Persimmon--can you grown as open-center? Multi-graft?

So…I know that American persimmons have a strong vertical growth, but so do pears and they are open-centered in frankentrees all the time.

I also know Americans like to self-prune, but I would think the tendency is less when they are trained as an open-center, as self-pruning would potentially shear off a huge portion of the growth if you only had 4 or 5 main branches…

I have a bunch of persimmon rootstock, and a handful in Early Golden, Yates, Prok, etc…but I don’t have the space for all of them in my yard. A bunch will be sort of “stealth-planted” in public lands and greenspace near me, but I am debating choosing a single tree for the yard, or if you can reasonably grow several and treat them like a combo pear tree. Have folks had luck doing this?

I’ll follow this thread with interest. I have some persimmons with more than one variety on them. They are young. Generally they are Kaki on Virginiana with more Kaki added to the Kaki.

@tonyOmahaz5 has some multigraft persimmons.

My persimmon experience is still limited, but there is no reason you couldn’t do open center or keep to size with pruning. I have seen some nice espaliered persimmons online, as well.

Here is the photo of my 6 yrs old multi grafted American persimmon tree. Early Golden, Geneva Long, H-118, H-120, WS8-10, Meader, MB#3, Knightville, and 100-43. I pruned my tree to 10 feet and balanced so no branch shredding so far.




I can’t make out the trunk details, out of curiosity how high up did you topwork it?


I topped the rootstock at 3 feet and let it branched out like crazy for one season then bark grafted all those varieties in the following May when the temp was in the 70’s for several weeks. Grafting was easy but the aftercare was harder. Rubbed off new growth under the union every 3 days. Braced the grafts from birds and wind…


Here are some experiences that you might consider. I start all my trees indoors using a root pruning container system. I typically plant them in the field after one or two growing seasons in the container system. American persimmons respond well to the root pruning container system.

I had an interesting experience with Jujube (Tigertooth specifically). I planted a few of these in the field years ago. They grew well vegetatively but have not produced fruit even yet. I was trying to figure out why they were not fruiting. I thought maybe it was weather in our area or a pollination issue (even though they are supposed to be self-fertile). I was corresponding with some experts including a professor who specializes in Jujube. At any rate, I happed to be trying to propagate some more from root cuttings since these were not grafted trees. I few of the cuttings produced trees and I grew them on my deck in the root pruning containers. Jujube are slow to grow from cuttings. Cuttings taken in the winter often don’t produce any top growth until June which was the case with these. So, they were small and in 1 gal rootbuilder II containers. By September I had fruit on these small young trees! This happens repeatedly for me with Jujube’s.

The professor suggested that my trees in the field were simply not mature enough to fruit and that the reason the much younger trees fruited in the containers was because of the containers. The root pruning not only produced a dense fibrous root system but forced the trees from a predominately vegetative state to a predominately fruiting state. He suggested that if I planted those trees in the field that they will revert to a vegetative state again until they are mature enough.

I’m not sure if this Jujube experience translates to all trees, but it is a data point. I’ve also grafted other varieties of Jujube to these containerized trees and had them fruit in the containers the same year grafted.

One more thing I will say is that you can grow quite large trees in small root pruning containers. This is because the system creates such a dense root ball with so many secondary and tertiary roots that there are a lot more root tips per cubic inch of container than in smooth containers where the roots wrap.

When trees grown in root pruning containers get close to being root bound, they be come hard to top water. I’ve taken to submerging the entire container into a Rubbermaid type tub full of rainwater and letting it soak in.

I’m not sure how persimmons would respond if you both topped them and grew them in these containers but please report back if you give it a shot.


I think this is common observation of those using root-pruning pots. Those root pruning pots are quite the commodity in the “Quality Deer Management” community, where folks are growing nut and fruit trees to attract deer. The ability to induce early fruiting is cited in the patent by Forrest Keeling Nursery.

I also am curious about how best to prune Persimmon. Not a lot of experience here. Probably I will opt for a central leader because I keep seeing it recommended but I wonder what would you recommend Tony for someone starting out with persimmon? (Right now I have a Nikita’s Gift in the ground, basically a whip about 5 foot tall with some very minor branching)

This might be helpful info to some:

(Note that it’s from Australia so the seasons are reversed - for growing in the Northern hemisphere add 6 months to what’s stated.)

Yes, I’m a regular on the QDMA site. Unlike many who are growing trees for attraction, my application is wildlife management including deer. I’m intent is to use mast producing trees to provide a long-term low maintenance permaculture that allows me to reduce the agricultural food sources over time. For me this means both a wide variety making foods available over a long time period and volume. A few trees provide attraction but an insufficient volume of food.

It was too expensive for me to buy seedlings give the volume I wanted. As I looked into starting trees myself, I found the research on root pruning container systems. The earliest stuff I found was by Dr. Whitcomb at Lacebark. He is the designer behind Rootmaker Brand which is what I’ve been using. There are now a lot of similar products on the market that seem to have different levels of effectiveness based on reports from friends who have tried them. I generally recommend that folks read some of Dr. Whitcomb’s papers and whatever brand they buy, make sure the design supports the underlying principles. Dr. Whitcomb has done a good job of summarizing much of his research in papers targeted at the layman. The 4" rule and Growing Tree Seedlings are two good places to start.

It took me a couple years to really get the process down. I think I have it pretty well. Last year I started a chestnut indoors under lights and did 2 transplants through root pruning containers. It was over 6’ tall and 3/4" in caliper when I planted it in October last fall.

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Here are Nikita’s Gift grafted to an American seedlings:


The were grafted indoors under lights the winter before the picture was taken. As I recall, a couple produced small persimmons and then aborted them. They were planted in the field last fall.

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Here is my Nikita’s Gift photo from last year. I topped off the Nikita’s Gift whip at 3 feet tall and it branched out real well.


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There is no branch bending on your NG. Is it because it’s harder to wrap if branches were bent?

Just wonder with such horizontal branches and large leaves, will there be an issue of sunlight not reaching fruit in the inner part of the tree?

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I pulled all the branches together before I wrapped it and all the branches molded in the upright position. This 7 yrs old Nikita’s Gift will get a Rojo Brillante Bark graft on several locations next month.


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Your tree has such a sunny location. Your place is so sunny and open. Mine is very hard to find a place for full sun.

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