Persimmon grafting question(s)

So I’ve got seedling American Persimmons, 3rd year about 3-4’ tall. I’ve got Kaki wood (thanks Bob!). I’m going to bark graft in a couple weeks once the rootstocks are more leafed out like this:

Now the question…what height should I cut the rootstocks to? They are branched at about 2’. I’m thinking about 8-12" off the ground?

I graft persimmon high to avoid deer damage.

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I like to top work it at 4 feet tall with a larger diameter rootstock for a more balance and vigorous growth.


Ampersand. I noticed you quoted David’s article in QW. What is your application for the grafted trees?

I guess my application is eating? Just for my mini orchard.

The highest you can where the stock is still thick is probably a good guide. Some people claim better hardiness with higher grafts.

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My application is a bit different. Mine are out in the field and I’m grafting persimmons for wildlife. Persimmon forage is fairly low on a the deer preference list although they love the fruit. Typically trees have grown quite a bit by the time they fruit which will be in the third leaf after grafting if all goes well. The problem is that deer are curious and sometimes they will mess with a graft if it is near the ground. While they can stand on their rear legs and reach them at chest height, they usually don’t.

Many American persimmon varieties fall from the tree so that is what I generally use, but Kaki do not. Once they start producing fruit, if you have a dwarfed tree and you have deer in the area, they will try to eat them. If you don’t have issues with deer, this may not matter.

By the way, I started by using David Osborne’s method for bark grafting from that article. Here is a thread with lots of pictures that document my first year or two bark grafting. Again it is focused at wildlife as an application, but the techniques are the same.

Sorry, I forgot to include the line. Here it is: Sex Change Operation

(NOTE: The QDMA forum shut down. I move the thread to another forum and just updated the link above.)

Great thread forestandfarm, thanks! I’ll read through it all today.

Interesting that grafting higher would promote cold-hardiness, as I’ve often heard that a graft union has LESS cold-resistance, and can be subject to die-back at that point due to cold-injury if the cultivar/species is marginally zone tolerant. It wasn’t related to persimmons, but other fruit trees I think.
I want my graft unions to be under the snow for winter cold snaps, and possibly under the ground for self-rooting unless on dwarfing rootstock(this is just a general statement, not persimmons).

My small inground seedling american persimmons from two sources seem to be okay with limited tip die-back after this past winter’s -22F. I’m sure all our snow helped out as well!

I was wondering about the graft height, too, Jesse. I recall reading some people bury the graft union of grafted Kakis in marginal zones in case of dieback. I’m not super worried about dieback here. Even in the last 2 bad winters we’ve only hit -1F for about an hour, which is pushing the boundry for most kakis but I’m comfortable with the risk.


Nice take on those D.V… Are you going to graft some of those Nikita’s Gift scions on bigger understock too? NG has a beautiful flush green leaves with super sweet, firm ripe, and reddish 2.5-3" fruits.


I think the logic of the high graft is you get a very hardy main trunk. If I recall it was @Lucky_P who mentioned the technique over on GW.

forestandfarm (Jack?): that thread is super, thanks again for sharing it. Read most of it at lunch today.

Had kakis grafted low, for several years running, that froze out here in z6 KY - just north of the TN line.
Grafted Great Wall - which is one of the more cold-hardy kakis in its own right - about 8 ft up in a vigorous D.virginiana seedling. It fared well there for about 10 years… but woke up dead last year.
Still waiting to see which persimmons are going to have survived the winter just past - I’ve got a lot of other stuff dead outright or killed back to the ground - or wherever the snowline was when we got subzero temps - that came through winter of 2013 virtually unscathed.
I’m thinking that Saijo was about the only kaki that made it through winter 2013 here, and it was damaged pretty badly. The hybrid, Rosseyanka, appears to be dead… fruited heavily last fall, but also looks like it’s had a major borer strike; same for Geneva Long. Oh, well, back to the ol’ drawing board.

Lucky (or others), is there a tree age at which borers cease to be a problem? In other words, do they affect trees of all ages/sizes? I noticed that almost every tree I grafted onto this year had borer holes at the base, but the trees seemed to be growing fine anyway. I’m surprised the trees can survive that kind of damage at all.


I tried grafting the NG scions you sent me last year to my large rootstock in the field. I stored them just like all my other persimmon scions, but they got mold. When my persimmon grafting time came (about 10 May most years), only one NG scion had green when I did the scratch test. I used it but it must have been too far gone and didn’t take.

To solve that problem, I brought some of my containerized persimmons in after they had enough chill hours around Christmas and warmed them up under lights. You were gracious enough to send me more NG scions. I used them all grafting to the containerized rootstock. If I had any left, I would give them a try but I don’t so I can’t graft NG to my natively growing field stock this spring.

My plan is to grow these containerized grafted NG through the summer in the Rootbuilder II pots and let them go dormant and plant them in the field this fall. I will then wait until next spring. I’ll wait until the very last minute before bud swell and prune them to collect scions. Hopefully the shorter the period I have to store the scions, the less chance of mold issues. Then next spring I’ll try to bark graft to my native rootstock in the field.

It is funny. I have gotten American persimmon scions from all over the country including from you and none have shown any indication of mold. There must be something about the hybrid that makes it more susceptible.

At any rate, thanks again for the scions and I’m looking forward to tasting the fruit. While my primary focus is for wildlife management, I’m not at all above eating my fill :smile:


Glad you enjoyed the thread. I have since modified David’s technique a bit and improved my success rate even more. I no longer scrape the bark off the back side of the scion. I found that if I’m slightly too deep I break continuity of the cambium. Instead I make a small shallow back cut. I got this from Dr. Shengrui;s video on bark grafting Jujube: Grafting Jujube. The other thing I do is to make a very slight shave of the bark from one side of the grafting cut to expose the cambium on one side. I align that side against the cambium of the rootstock under the bark flap. This gives me 3 points of potential cambium contact, The front (rootstock side of scion) because there are still cambium cells left on the wood, the one side that I shaved where I have cambium alignment, and the back side of the scion where I make the Dr. Shenguri cut under the flap.

I also learned how important pressure is when bark grafting larger trees in the field. I use electrical tape because it stretches and gives me a lot of pressure. I found that not all parafilm is the same when wrapping the scion. I have fallen in love with Parafilm-M. It comes in 2" sizes but I usually cut it in half to make one inch strips. I’ve also learned to wrap the scion before grafting, not after. When I wrap after, it causes movement in the graft. I use bamboo with cable ties to keep birds and such from landing on the scions before they are solid. I’ve also learned that sealing cuts on larger trees can be a problem. It is a large wound to seal, but a liquid like Doc Farwell’s or latex paint can run down into the graft. I usually wrap a small piece of parafilm at the base of the scion before sealing it to keep this from happening. I’ve also recently started trying wood glue for sealing scions. That seems to work well but you still have the runniness problem. One final thing I do is to use a little rooting hormone on the scion where the cut portion sticks above the rootstock. I’ve seen conflicting studies on this, but I think it promotes callusing which the graft needs to knit.

With a couple years under my belt, it is now pretty rare for a persimmon bark graft to fail on native rootstock between 1" and about 5". My success rate has not been that high with bark grafting to small diameter container grown rootstock. I did get about a dozen to take this year.

Here goes nothing! Whip and tounge held with grafting rubbers, all wrapped in parafilm. 3 Izu and 1 IKKJ on one tree, 2 Saijo on the other. I know to remove any competing buds that may leaf out, but ahould I remove any lower branches? The tree I grafted Saijo onto has a couple of small branches below the graft points.

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On my persimmon grafts, I usually cut all the branches off. I want all the sap flow to feed the grafts only. You will get more vigorous growth without the limps below the grafts.


Thanks Tony, that’s what I figured. I’ll remove them too.