Persimmon grafting question(s)


I wonder why some persimmon grafts (particularly kaki on virginiana) really take off like that and others just barely grow all year. I’ve bagged all my grafts with row cover material the last couple years, which leaves about 6" of space for new growth. Some of my grafts outgrow the bags in no time and have put on several feet of new growth by the end of the first season, and others never even fill the bags, including some grafts on large, vigorous growing rootstocks. Is it some kind of mild incompatibility? Or is it a poor graft union that just isn’t ever overcome? If there’s enough of a union for the scion to survive, shouldn’t the union be able to expand from there? Could a poor union explain a graft that survives all season but never grows vigorously? Is there something else that could explain the differences?


What hasn’t worked well for you? I recall reading virginiana does not graft well on kaki, but works the othet way.


I can’t really account for the differences I just described in this thread at all. Some grafts just take off and some put on very weak growth but don’t die (or not before winter anyway.)


I wish I had a good answer. Here are some of my statistics from bark grafting in the field:

2012 - My first year of bark grafting. I grafted 9 native male trees in the 2" to 6" diameter range with scions from a prolific local female tree. All trees accepted scions and grew vigorously.

2013 - We had a huge cicada crop. Ass of my grafted trees as well as native trees were hit hard. I grafted a lot of native male trees that spring with native female scions but they all failed because of cicada damage most likely. Someone sent me a prok and a 100-45 scion that I grafted later than the rest. They had no leaves when the cicadas were abundant and when they leafed out, they had no damage. These two trees survived. Growth was good but not as vigorous as the native trees the previous year.

2014 - I grafted 49 scions to 23 trees most in the 1" to 6" diameter class with a few smaller. 34 scions took on 22 trees. These scions were a mix of named varieties I bought from Cliff England, and scions from native and named trees from across the country I traded with others. None were Kaki. The only tree that failed, failed because an animal knocked out the scion.

2015 - I grafted 40 trees with 40 scions. Only one was a larger diameter tree grafted with multiple scions. Most were in the 1/2" to 1 1/2" diameter class. The scions came from trees grafted the previous year that had not produced fruit yet of course. Only 10 trees accepted scions. I will also say that this was a very odd year for my native persimmons. They leafed out very late, the leaves were smaller than normal, and they appear to be battling something. Regular producers were late to bloom with very few flowers that lasted a short time. I have yet to see persimmons forming on my native trees but with this weird year it may be too early. The Prok and 100-45 are in their third leaf. Both flowered and the Prok has 2 small persimmons on it.

Some years with some trees, when I cut down a persimmon to bark graft it, it is like I just cut someone’s arm off. It just spurts out sap like blood. Other years with other trees when I peel back the bark it is green but not particularly moist.

Rootstock condition due to weather, insects, timing, etc., graft union quality, scion vigor, compatibility, 60 vs. 90 chromosomes, who knows. I’m sure they all play a role. There are lots of variables. We can probably improve graft union quality. I found pressure is key and I like electrical tape for that. I’ve learned that liquid sealants can leak into the graft and destroy the contact. Parafilm-M does a great job of keeping the scions from drying out giving it time to bond. We can probably improve scion vigor by more careful selection of scions. We may be able to improve timing a bit but we are always at the mercy of mother nature…


I grafted my backyard Fuyu this year with Hachiya because I like Hachiya better. Out of 8 grafts, 7 are doing well. But what’s interesting to me is that there was a spot I wanted to graft onto, but it was NEW growth, not last year’s growth. It was a fresh twig. Being stubborn, I grafted onto it anyway, and…it’s way ahead of the other grafts!


The good:

The bad:

The ugly:


Saijo looks great:


Looking good! Now do your best to help it harden off before winter- I find persimmons just don’t know when to quit growing up here in z5! Tip die back has been common the last couple winters, but they are contending with -15 and colder here.
I am still trying, there are some mature bearing trees, Meader and Prok that I know of in my zone. I hope to top work some seedlings I have in ground next spring.


Thanks Jesse, I was surprised to see almost all of my persimmons pushing new growth this late. Haven’t fertilized lately or anything. Maybe the hot weather and 2" of rain the other week pushed them, who knows. My Tam Kam from EL I planted in June (not shown) is flushing out too. Should be at least 2 months til frost (hopefully) so we’ll see how they harden off.

I’ll plan to graft some 1 year seedlings in the spring, I hope they are large enough to take a scion!



Persimmon had two growth periods, one in the Spring and one the middle of Summer.



Didn’t know that, thanks Tony!


I wonder if that explains these two new persimmons- I went about 2 weeks between mows of my lawn and I noticed they had popped out of nowhere. I didn’t even know that Persimmons sent up new growth away from the base of the tree (these are 3-4’ away).


That is what it looks like happened to me. Here is one of the NG grafts I did this winter with the Scions Tony sent:

After the graft took, it really took off growing. You can see the bottom growth spurt has dark green leaves and the stem has hardened. They seemed to stall for a while in the spring and then suddenly took off in the summer. You can see the second growth spurt where the leaves are lighter green and the stem is still green. By the way, that pick was taken on July 11th and it has grown significantly since then.




Nice growth! Were those 1 year old seedlings that you used for rootstocks? Very vigorous.


They were kind of in between. They were started in rootbuilder 18s in early Summer and transferred to 1 gal rootbuilder II containers in late summer. I tried waking up some early and bench grafting them but they were too small much less than pencil diameter. I grew the rest for a second summer and then let them go dormant and woke them up early indoors under lights and bench grafted them with the NG scions. A few are about pencil sized in diameter but most were a little on the small side.

The rootstock was started from seed of northern strain persimmons I got from Cliff England. Tony provided the NG scions.


just to add onto this conversation… pretend you have American persimmon rootstock and you just grafted a nice American variety on top…
American Persimmon I’m guessing aren’t like plums/peaches/apples/pears etc where you have rootstock for a purpose, like dwarfing or disease-resistance or better in certain soils like clay… We just use the persimmon seedling rootstock cause its easily available/cheap/or easy to grow via seeds.

Why not just bury the newly grafted persimmon plant below the graft-union so if the tree ever gets damaged (by cold or tree gets girdled by a mouse, etc), then it will grow back from the top-most roots which will eventually after a year be that variety you grafted versus the seedling rootstock. or is that risky because you are putting the main roots very deep in the ground, and the persimmon may not create roots higher up until a long time (so your plant may not get too much nutrients if the roots are very deep/low in the ground). Just an idea if you guys can follow along.


Tony buries his graft unions deep for this reason. If you look through his posts it works well.

As far as I’m concerned, if they aren’t hardy enough to survive normally I’m not interested in growing that variety!


No need for this. Once well established, you can cut down a persimmon and it will bounce back. The stump will sucker and the root system will put up new sprouts. One can just remove suckers and bark graft to the stump or graft to one of the root sprouts.


Sorry again. That form was shut down but I rescued the thread and moved it here: Sex Change Operation - AKA Bark Grafting


I’m bumping this old thread. I performed a persimmon sex change today. The tree was fully leafed out, so the time for grafting was now. I grafted Giant Fuyu to a male D. Lotus rootstock today. Props to Donny ( @brownmola ) for the scion wood. I was a bit compulsive with protecting the graft. I’ll outline the details below and report a few progress updates here:

  1. D. Lotus understock trunk is about 3 inches in diameter. I cut the trunk at about 4 ft.
  2. I made the standard single vertical cut of a typical bark graft, lifting the flaps on both sides of the graft – rather than trying something like a Texas inlay graft because my scions were on the smaller side
  3. Scions were about a 1/4" wide with 3 or so buds per scion.
  4. I wrapped the scions first in parafilm tape w/ the tape cut to a 1/2" width.
  5. Scions were cut on exposed ends using the standard cut for bark graft, i.e. longer inset/notching cut on one side and a smaller cut on the other side to complete the wedge shaped tip for easier insertion into the bark flap.
  6. Inserted scions between bark and cambium, with long notched cut facing the center of the trunk with the middle of the scion down the center of the bark cut, until about 1/2" of the cut face remained above the top of the top of the roostock surface.
  7. Wrapped the trunk and bark flaps with parafilm in 1" width tape.
  8. Applied toilet bowl wax to the cut surface of the stock, filled in gaps in the bark flaps, and covered all exposed surface cuts of scions, also applied wax to tops of scions where a scion had been cut to length.
  9. Wrapped over the parafilm very tightly with black electricians tape with the sticky side facing outwards.
  10. Wrapped even tighter a third time with green vinyl tie tape.
  11. Applied a layer of tin foil (shiny side out) over the cut stock with notches cut out for scions to protrude.
  12. Applied a clear poly produce bag over the the entire rootstock with holes poked in it for scion to protrude.Secured bag around stock with rubber bands.
  13. Cut the bottom four corners of a paper lunch bag then applied the bag over the top of the stock and scions, securing the bag around the stock with some vinyl tie tape.
  14. Insure that the bag is not making contact with any of the scions underneath.
  15. Attached a stick with tie tape that was taller than the scions to serve as a bird perch.

And done.