American Persimmon Grafting Questions

I am getting ready to graft D. virginiana rootstocks to selected D. virginiana cultivars for the first time and I have a few questions. The rootstocks are almost 4 years old and most are about 3 feet tall. They are all still currently dormant.

My assumption is that I should go ahead and prune the rootstocks while dormant to prepare for grafting. Is this correct?

The method I plan to use is the barn door graft and wrapping with poly tape as detailed by Tom Wahl of Red Fern Farms.

Will poly tape break down sufficiently or will it need removed to prevent girdling? If it does need removed, how do I determine the graft is ready for me to do so?

Also, should I wait for bud swell/break to graft or go ahead with grafting while the rootstocks are still dormant?

I live in central Kansas and we regularly see temperatures above 100F and 30 mph+ winds during the summer. My trees are in a somewhat sheltered location but I am concerned with grafts dessicating/breaking before they fully take. Any helpful tips around this?

P.S. I am a beekeeper and have access to lots of beeswax and propolis. I have heard of these being used to aid in grafting. Any experience around that?

Thanks in advance!

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Cutting the rootstock now would be ok , may help the tree conserve resources.
Poly tape you will have to keep a eye on .it may constrict .
About 2 months after grow begins you can slit tape vertically with a knife .
The earliest I field graft persimmons, is when the buds are starting to push growth , through when the leafs are a inch or so long.
A warm forcast is important , they need warm ~75 F + temps to heal .
With your windy area , loosely tying the new growth to a stake will help to keep it from getting blown out .( breaking )
Welcome to the site.
Good luck

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I graft my A persimmon very late … maybe early to end of May. since they wake up kinda late for me in zone 7 Philadelphia (think I read you want leaves to show a “squirrel’s ear worth of growth” before you graft which is maybe what other poster implied as well).
I do just regular whipNtongue or bark grafts at the top.
Never tried a barn-door graft, assume your rootstock is very thick and need to do a graft like that (or a chip/bud graft)?

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One of the most complicated way of grafting for the first-timer…with persimmon you have to be real quick and this seems to be so very slow.

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I’ve been grafting persimmons for 25 years…there’s no way I’d go through all those gyrations…I’d probably cut my fingers to ribbons in the process and bleed all over the orchard. Might need a transfusion!

Anymore, I do almost exclusively a simple bark graft, after the rootstock is actively growing and bark is ‘slipping’.
First persimmon grafts I ever did were just simple whips…sloping cut on scion & rootstock of similar diameter, match the cuts together and wrapped with budding rubber, overwrapped with Parafilm M…got 100% takes.
Polytape…you’ll probably need to at least slit it later in the season, to prevent girdling constriction, but I’ve never used it, so maybe not… Beeswax…I’ve also not used, so can’t comment on it.

I see no reason to whack back rootstocks like TW had done in that video…but I’d never use that technique, either… maybe you need to if you’re doing that one.

Most important thing with persimmon grafts is aftercare… you HAVE TO keep rootstock shoots rubbed off at least twice a week for the first growing season…persimmon is exceedingly persistent in trying to push growth of rootstock shoots at the expense of callusing in and growing scion variety.

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Agree with Lucky P. Wait till the rootstock is actively growing. I learned this from Cliff England who knows a thing or two about propagating persimmons.

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What part of Kansas are you from?

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Welcome to the forum! I’m fairly new here as well, but this forum is absolutely AWESOME. There is so much knowledge, generosity, and resourcefulness here. Anyway, enough mushy talk, which varieties of Persimmon are you trying out? Just curious.

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Hello another Kansan here! Yeah watch for poly tape to constrict… I use parafilm tape with white masking tape on top. Electrical tape works good to keep the graft tight together, but you must put white masking tape over it so it doesnt heat too much, and watch electric tape it will constrict, after about 2 months you can slit it vertically to let the graft swell(and cover slit with masking tape).
Speaking of heat, kansas warms and buds sooner than PA zone 6b so you can graft when buds start opening small leaves, sap is flowing and it should be warm enough when leaves are 1/4" to 1/2" (around first week of may), (sap must be flowing good for persimmon) but dont wait too long because too much of this intense kansas sunshine & heat will make a young graft fail so early may is ideal(near Hutchinson, further north may run later). Night temps below 50 or day temps over 80 with full sun are not good for grafting, so kansas grafting is more tricky than the eastern states. By late may it is usually too hot. It is a good idea to shade a young graft if temps are getting above 85 a few weeks after grafting which is normal in ks lol.

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I have heard nut trees can be extremely challenging, but i dont find persimmons to be much harder than apples as long as the rootstock is growing. Which means for ME, looking at his understock and starting scion, i would bark or cleft graft that in a heartbeat and save the time.

There can be reasons to bud as far as time of year, etc. but if it WAS spring active growth i would do either of the other grafts out of comfort—persimmon grafting isnt exotic enough to fall outside the general rule “the best graft is the one you can do well”

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Agree. Other than needing a little more in the way of warm temps to get good callusing, and the need for diligent aftercare rubbing off rootstock shoots, my success rates for persimmon are comparable to most other stuff (but way better than pecan/hickory/walnut).

Maybe there are other reasons, but the only case I could make for that barn door/mega-chip bud graft is if scionwood was in short supply and I was trying to ‘stretch’ it by using only one bud per graft. Even then, I think I’d take my chances doing just a simple bark graft with a one-bud piece of scionwood before I’d go through all those gyrations.

First time I saw that technique was about 25 years ago, when a visiting Chinese horticulture professor was at Auburn University for a year or so, and advocated it especially for chestnuts, and they adapted it to pecans with some success, as well.

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Yes. And it’s important to rub off any new buds that try to pop out below the graft. Persimmons try to find all sorts of ways around accepting their grafts.

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Southern McPherson County

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I’m in southern McPherson County, just north of you. Do you grow persimmons there?

I am definitely a bit worried about our erratic weather and wind.

Will the masking tape break down sufficiently or do you end up cutting that as well?

Thanks for your help!

I have a request in for 11 varieties from England’s. They’re checking to see what they have left. I also have some Early Jewel (H-118) from an individual grower shipping out Monday.

Most of my rootstocks are 3/4" to 1" in diameter. I have one that is only about 1/2 inch and a couple more that have been set back due to rabbit/dog damage and I’ll probably wait to graft those two.

I am open to trying different methods. Since I’m new to grafting I planned on doing at least 2 grafts per rootstock since some will undoubtedly fail.

I have heard that shade can cause persimmon grafts to not take, which is why I assumed he cut his rootsocks back so hard. Have you experienced this?

Also, I would think the auxin buildup below the pruning cut may help the graft take as well?

What would you recommend for pruning prior to grafting?

Most of my rootstocks are 3/4" to 1" in diameter.

Could you further explain how you stake your new growth?

Thanks!

Staking new growth…
This would depend on what materials you have on hand .
Could be a good stake Metal or PVC driven in the ground ,tied loosely to the trunk and loosely to the scion .
Or a piece of bamboo or a stick tied to trunk and scion.
Tie such that it won’t constrict rootstock or scion , ok if it moves a little, just don’t want the wind ,or a bird , to be able to knock the scion off. Many ways to do this .
Strips of fabric make good non contricting lashing .

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Yeah I am in SW reno county. I have a friend at Partridge with big americans that do just fine. And I gathered info from someone an elderly gentleman growing in McPherson, for over a decade, Prok did great for him. Nikitas Gift and Saijo did well for years but in 2011 or so that low of -12 or so damaged them heavily but they recovered. Those are borderline though, as are most kaki. I would recommend the nice Americans and Cliff England’s hybrids like Kasandra is doing very well for me, and Davids Kandy & JT-02 are younger but doing greatso far for me and Tony reccommends JT-02 as the best for Omaha so it sounds very well suited for the plains and zone 6. and a list of others are very promising for our climate like NB-02, Rosseyanka etc.
One thing I am doing is graft low on the rootstock so that if damage occurs it is less likely to die back to the rootstock. Some of my young ones I am grafting low in my grow bed and then in a year transplanting out and planting deeper so the graft is burried 3"± below the surface. Same with jujube. And fig it is also good to plant, perhaps a foot below grade to protect trunk and roots.
The american and hybrid persimmon are a very hardy tree and seem adapted to our climate and since they bloom late they should prove more dependable than some of the earlier bloom fruits like peach and pear. I am trying some hardy kaki too. A few kaki can take to -15 or so. But many hybrids are significantly hardier.
Persimmon handles the wind well, much better than elm.
Yes the masking tape breaks down in the sun pretty decently.
Sure, let me know if I can share info and scion in the future. Glad to see another kansas persimmon grower!

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