Persimmon rootstock arrived today - how to hold?

My persimmon trees that I plan to use for grafting arrived unexpectedly today. I thought I had ordered for late winter/early spring shipment. I am in zone 6 and we are going down to 15F in a few days (I will most likely hit 5F). What should I do with these to hold them until I get my scion wood? These are American persimmons from Womack.

Heel them in outdoors. That is, lay the rootstocks on their sides (can be in a bundle) and cover the roots completely with several inches of soil.


I haven’t done my full research on how to graft persimmons. I vaguely remember some graft dormant, some while growing. How long would I leave the rootstock in this heeled in state? It looks like you are near my region. Do you pull them out and pot up at some point in late winter? Any issue with them being frozen solid in the ground?

if you want to use scoinwood from plants that are outside. it might be an advantage to put the rootstocks indoors as they start budding, then you can graft dormat buds from outdoors straight onto them

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there’s issues with them now being bareroot to frozen solid. they’ll all die.

cover them; put in buckets with soil that you can regulate or even pots with drainage. I have an ‘emergency’ and for general use cattle whatchamacallit against a sliding glass door. If you try to graft and when the scion does decide to push and there isn’t very abundant and strong sunlight the scion peters out and dies.

Your final option is to graft them; place them in a refrigerator until it’s warm outside (not freezer) and pot them after all spring frosts. For about 50 bucks probably (it’s more expensive than the 35~ish I paid), you can build a hot callus device. Just put the roots in the cheapest bags you can find on AmazonEtc- and use either paper towels or get it done and over with and fill with soil. Use that soil at pot-up time. For a fridge and a lot of grafts, that’s where damp/“not soggy” paper towels come in handy to put a few hundred grafts into a beer fridge.

You may certainly also put the trees in your beer fridge/fridge as long as you have enough soil around the roots and bagged in the bag them came in or a mesh bag covered in a kitchen sack and then into the fridge. You may not need to add any mix/media whatsoever because they might have come that way - properly.

Cut the rootstock short and into the fridge. You cut them 6 inches off the root flare line.



@Barkslip Dax, I’m not sure that I understand. Can I heel them in outside like ZombieFruit suggested, or is it too late in the season to do that (especially with the 5 to 15F temps in a few days)? These rootstock are gorgeous and huge. Right now my beer fridge is full of beer and beets, but I might be able to find space if I trim the rootstock drastically. I do have a crawl space that stays about 50F. Would it be better to pull them in a pot with soil and place in the crawl space? They did come nicely wrapped with spagham moss(?) and mesh. Of course, I just took it apart.

If the ground has already frozen it’s too late to heel in bareroot things. You’ll probably lose all of them.

An exception might be exceptional roots that look like Cousin It from the Adams Family vs. probably the typical bareroot seedling with barely enough root clinging to make it look like a few extra 3-10 thread of hair. There’s reason those seedlings are kept above freezing for years at a time in walk in freezers. Had you dropped those in the ground a month or two ago, you’d of been fine.

Myself, I’d probably chop off all but 6 - 8 inches and take the whole bundle and dig a hole 24" deep and bury them until spring.

That’ll work.

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They are more of the Cousin It look! Very nice rootstock. I talked to Womack and you can request a March shipment, but I failed to do that this year. I’ve potted them up and placed in my crawl space area, which is actually nicer than I remembered and about 4.5 feet tall. It is staying 45-50F. If they don’t make it, they were not that expensive. I might order more for spring as a back up. Thanks!

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Personally, I’d have heeled them in, dumped some mulch on top and had no thoughts but that they’d be just fine until next spring - but since you’ve potted them up… that one’s out.
But… I would not keep them in that ‘heated’ crawlspace, long-term. Once this extreme cold spell passes - it’s gonna be back up into the 60s here in a week. I’d sink those pots in the ground, or at least pile mulch up around the pots and dump some leaves over them.


piling mulch, that’s smart. I totally thought that one too as a suggestion. I know John at the old Nolin River Nursery used to lay his next-years trees directly on the ground and have piles of leach mulch at least six-feet tall to not-have-to, worry. That’s how he’d sell all his trees. He’s have them previously dug the Fall, before.

They taught me at the nurseries and I’d hear the same thing years later from the old guy locally I used to bargain with for trees for “40$ bills” he’d put in his pocket and tell me to take his tree home… everybody says, “if it’s in a container and the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant it.” I really never payed any attention to what bareroot trees were supposed to be done with here in zone 5. In Portland OR or even here at the nurseries I worked for, we’d pot everything up and they were always-always much larger trees and we’d do it at the right-times.

Hey Lucky is there a time not to plant and/or heel-over bareroots if the ground can be punched thru? Say a few inches of frozen only? What would a person living w/o electricity and a cold-storage place or anything other than a little cabin do in zones 6 or 5?

How long would I leave the rootstock in this heeled in state?

I would put them in the long term, in-ground location in March, when the soil thaws and before the rootstock breaks dormancy. Alternatively, you could put them in pots this year. The persimmon can grow quickly, outgrowing small pots quickly.

Any issue with them being frozen solid in the ground?

My young persimmons are in the frozen ground right now. That being said, I would avoid having the roots exposed to the air or with a thin layer of soil/mulch on top.

I haven’t done my full research on how to graft persimmons. I vaguely remember some graft dormant, some while growing.

Last year I cleft grafted to rootstocks that were in the ground and had broken dormancy, when the temperatures were approaching highs of 80 F (in May). The scions were dormant when I grafted.

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Thanks, Lucky. They are more heeled in a pot, than potted up. Just one pot. Our temperatures are not going to get as warm as yours will. At least during the extreme cold, I’ll leave them where they are. If I can find more leaves and a spot that isn’t frozen solid, I may move them (or maybe some of them) out. The ground is already pretty hard.