I have been quite unsuccessful in getting persimmon trees to establish. There are (> 50) existing, huge, adult trees on my 61 acre property so I thought it would be a simple matter to start smaller trees.
I planted 20 seedlings last year. They are mostly alive but all the leaves have black spots.
I bark grafted a 4" wild tree this year (sacrificing a tree that was bearing fruit) with early jewel. The graft took but then died.
I planted about 2400 seeds in groups of 16 collected from several places. Roughly about 2/16 sprouted. Most have the same black spots (fungus) and are very weak.
So back to the drawing board. I’m thinking of getting 40 x 4x30-treepot (https://stuewe.com/product/4-x-30-treepot/) and start seeds and grow them for 2 years in a half potting mix half perlite mix. Then plant them at the site and let grow for a year. Then w&t graft the following year.
Is this the best way to go?
I have also had a more difficult than expected time getting persimmons growing in the amounts i want. I first bought various grafted ones from various nurseries, over half of those have died or are barely happy. A few are starting to produce after 3 years in the ground.
I then bought 100 small seedlings planted them somewhat carelessly thinking they would be as i read and hold their own. started seeds also and planted those out after a summer in small pots. These both had also a bad success rate 75% roughly. Some of those are starting to grow well now though. Now I am feeling more informed and familiar with them, I have planted another 100 small seedlings and after their arrived in the post I had little hope for them. I have basically written those off and will replant that area and till the rows first. I have had more success now with planting very young sprouts out into the ground and given seedling a large pot to start growing from the beginning. I even tried some seeds in no drain hole bins which are the best for size so far this year.
Key point I have learned and seems to be accurate is this, The young sprouts really don’t like their tap roots being interrupted. The failures i started and purchased had pots with a few inches of depth. Pots with 6 inches are ok, 12 inches of soil depth are impressive. I will plant them this fall and see more roots and have a better understanding, but so far it is pretty conclusive.
Small pots and Air pruning with persimmons, not interesting.
Getting a longer tap root safely planted is the next challenge.
Planting seeds in the ground is a challenge, planting sprouted seeds, is going well so far.
Those 30 inch pots look great. I would still try to just grow them for 1 year in those mostly, i have some 20+ inch pots and the roots made it to the bottom in the first year, august, with transplanted sprouting seeds and short seasons.
Grafting i also have found much more difficult than other plants, maybe again because of short summers and this year we had a cold spring. and summer.
Key point for grafting is that temperatures are above 70F for a few days and the growth is active, people say (Before or around?) squirrel ear sized leaves.
Actually I just save my larger plastic bags that dried fruit comes in for growing seedlings like persimmon and pawpaws, both having longer than normal sensitive tap roots.
I typically stratify the seeds in moist spagnum moss to prevent mold in my refrigerator for 90 days. Then as they sprout I plant them in these taller bags with simple mix of compost and garden soil. Neither require any special mix to do well. I grow the pawpaws in morning sun only the first year then second year begin to give them gradually more sun. The persimmon seedlings love sun so I just water them a few times weekly and they seem very happy.
I buy seedlings from MO and plant them in 4x9 treepots and 2 1/2 x16 deepots, or standard 2-3 gallon pots if they have an especially wide root system. They grow pretty well for me in those containers. Soil volume seems to matter more than depth, so long as you have at least 8 inches of depth. I think 30" would be overkill unless you want to grow them out for more than a couple years in containers. Anything from 9-16" is perfect for a more typical 1-2 year stay. The treepots do a decent job of air pruning and have much less circling roots than the ribs containers. I graft either the same year or the next with good results. If I can keep them warm enough, I’ll bench graft them and heel in the roots in damp newspaper for 10 days or so while the grafts callus, then pot them up. I had 80% takes my first year grafting doing this. A hot callus pipe would likely do even better. Grafting to potted trees in late spring/early summer has a slightly lower success rate.
@snowflake claims 24"+ of growth from seed in ground in one year, but he’s got much more heat, and is better about weed suppression and putting his nursery beds in full sun than I am.
Half perlite is way too much unless you want to water them constantly. I find somewhere from 15-20% works well for me.
*Edit notes: I had previously said 10" on depths, but I remeasured my pots and realized I had 9" treepots.
I’m not convinced that persimmon can be grown very well in my location unless the taproot is established undisturbed… at least not without standing over them with a hose for much of the summer (and even then I think they won’t grow as well). I’m not able to physically attend to them that way, so I have my approach When the taproot starts to establish is when I think the growth really takes off.
I think I posted this pic here somewhere. It’s a persimmon I pulled out when the ground was extremely saturated. I was lucky and got most of the root out so I could see how long it was. The top was a bit more than 1’, and the root was nearly 3 times as long. That’s just about the height when their growth really takes off here.
Thanks! Yes good prices. A few others things on their order form that are of interest.
I’ve got several persimmons growing in 5 gallon containers. It is overkill, but the trees are happy.
Yeah, it’s amazing how long it can grow a taproot when it has the space. And they certainly don’t enjoy it being severed. But they seem to do OK without it if grown in an air-pruning pot, especially if they start out that way. The tap root will basically grow as far as you let it. If you have a shorter pot with at least some air pruning, you get more of a branching root system that’s easier to transplant.
I bet they are happy with all that soil volume! I try to maximize production of saleable/giftable grafted trees in a small area (my “nursery” consists of a few milk crates stuffed with treepots), which is a little different from getting the biggest/happiest containerized tree. So that’s where my recommendations come from.
Most persimmons gets black spots at some point in the summer but it doesn’t seem to affect their growth long term. I’ve had the same poor results planting purchased grafted trees and seedlings. My approach now is to keep an eye out for persimmon seedlings from varmint scat growing up in a useful location. I mark them with a stake or step in fence post so we don’t cut them down and then graft them when they reach a good size. At least at my location it seems persimmon seedlings eventually come up everywhere. My persimmon grafting has been hit or miss so I try to graft a bunch and do it twice a year in case my timing is off. It’s a numbers game and I end up with a few more grafted trees most years. Probably not the most efficient way but it works for me. Best of luck with it.
Thanks for the advice.
I like the milk crate idea. Also helps with transporting them. Last year I started a bunch of persimmons and paw paws on heating mats in my basement. I then set them outside to harden off when about 4" high and a hail storm came through and shredded them (a little bit upsetting).
I don’t quite understand why the tree pots are so expensive (?). Specialty price for specialty item. It seems like 20" is a better choice for me. The 5 gallon pot is interesting but digging the holes in the transplant location would be quite the chore.
The black spots definitely seem to be hurting the seedlings. I planted a few out here in NE Ohio and they don’t have any spots. Not growing fast, it’s been a mild summer. I’m thinking of spraying the seedlings with daconil next year to see if the fungus can be under control. Maybe the fungus will also be better if we have a hot dry summer next year. On the positive side my apple transplants have done very well.
They’re quite affordable for what they are. At Greenhouse megastore, they stock up to the 16" size (Treepots – Greenhouse Megastore) which costs nearly double per pot as the 14" size. I think a lot of it comes down to the smallest container they can ship them in and the amount of dead space. Larger containers = higher shipping costs. The larger ones also might require thicker plastic. I honestly don’t think you’ll see much difference in growth between a 4x9 pot and a 4x16, so why spend the extra money? I could convince myself to shell out for 4x14’s, as I do currently have to root prune a few of my purchased seedlings to make them fit. I want to get away from plastics, though. Considering trying these out in a milk crate:
Zipset Plant Bands – Greenhouse Megastore
Or some of the newer, more durable fiber pots.
Whichever you go with, 9 of them will fit perfectly in a standard milk crate.
Just saw the prices at Stuewe that you linked. At those case prices, it’s comparable to a standard pot of similar volume, maybe a bit cheaper. Stuewe charges much higher shipping rates than the megastore, though…
I am basically cheap, especially when I’m not assured of success.
I really like the idea of the biodegradable Zipset Plant Bands. You should be able to cut a few slits and plant directly, I would think. I tried a handmade version out of cardboard but they were too “biodebgradable”. Any idea how long they hold their structural integrity. Maybe 1/4" ply around the edges to help keep them from sagging?
Stuewe claims 12-18 months for the heavy-duty version:
Which sounds about perfect for personal use, but not quite as long as I’d like for my “business” model where I’m getting grafted trees through their first winter before I gift or sell them.
I think there’s a seller or two on eBay that sells small packs of more sizes of those. A bit pricier per each, but reasonable for a trial run.
Me too. The nice thing about the treepots is that they’re quite reusable. Some of mine are on their 4th trees, and they’re still in great shape.
If you’re looking for assured success, you’re in the wrong hobby!
Getting back to your original post, I wouldn’t give up on your in-ground seedlings just yet, either. The black spots are pretty normal and don’t seem to affect the trees’ overall health much. I don’t know where you are in 6A, but depending on the local genetics, the growing degree days you get, fertility, and whether you’re performing the proper blood sacrifices to the elder gods, your seedlings just might not put on much top growth the first year or two. I find in my location, they spend a lot of energy on a tap root, and only put up a few inches of growth above ground. 3 years later, I have some graftable size trees. That also probably would have been faster if the bunnies didn’t nibble them to the ground every fall. I haven’t done any seeds in pots yet, but I suspect I’d get much more top growth due to warmer soil temps and less energy going into a tap root.
Overall, outsourcing the seedlings to Missouri works out well for me. I’m pretty sure I’d get more robustly growing grafts if the seedlings had been grown in-situ from the get go, but I’m grafting a lot of trees that I intent to pass along to others anyway.
Oct 2021… I ate some rich tooie persimmons and then planted 3 seeds in a 16 inch wide x10 inch deep planter. I put that planter in the edge of my woods… it was mulched with pine bark mulch and i piled some fall leaves on.
The next spring… 4/25…
All 3 germinated… i removed the one in the middle. They grew well that year… with the larger one making 42 inches. The other was smaller.
Over winter… i left them on the south side of my home and piled some wood chips around that planter.
When we had that extreme cold spell just b4 Christmas… i brought them in the garage for a few days… until that past.
This spring early Feb… i planted them in my field… and then after they budded and started forming leaves… i grafted Kassandra on the larger one… and Nakitta’s gift on the smaller one.
This is what they look like today.
Kassandra is a beast… got to be over 8 ft now.
Nakitta’s gift is much smaller… notice it low right… but it is looking happy and healthy.
PS… after being in that container over winter… some roots had grown out the drainage holes in the bottom. Tap roots ??? Not sure… but when i planted them i took it real slow and those roots came out the hole in the container… and got planted with the trees.
I got lucky and made that 10 inch deep container work. Something deeper… 14, 16 inch… probably better.
They are twins… big twin and little twin.
I did not want to risk breaking a lot of roots off in trying to separate them… so i just planted them together. We will see how they do. So far pretty good.
Here is a slight twist on the 5 gallon bucket idea. I used some of the leftover polycarbonate from the greenhouse to section it off.
These have been grafted over to Chuchuapka,Okja and Inchon.
I have fair results with persimmon, there are requirements, do not dry seed, damp stratify at 35-40F for 3 months minimum with plenty of fresh air, oxygen. Not in freezer bags. The seed will not germinate well with constant temperature , it must vary like the suns heat on soil, then at night it cools, 60-80F 12 hours each works well. Plant 1 1/2 -2 inch deep. If the seed coat is on the emerging plant you did not plant deep enough. How you grow them depends on your plans. For transplanting, growing in pots is by far the best however field planting can be ok but if not cared for well after transplanting they will suffer. My favorite , germinate in vitro, grow 16 plants in 10 gallon pots 12 inches deep one year, second year place one each in 5x5x12 pots or plant in field. Nothing magical about the tap root, I trim to 10 inches then grow in 5x5x12 pots or other 12 inch 3-5 gallon pots in commercial potting soil. Do not add field soil or lime. 10% perlite is enough . Fertilize lightly in pots EC 1000uS pH 5-6
Proper care can increase growth considerably, depends on soil type for in ground but in pots stop fertilizer 6-8 weeks before frost. In ground stop fertilizer 3 months before frost in sandy or silty soils In clay stop fertilizer 3 1/2 - 4 months before frost. Water during dry spells. Plenty of high N fertilizer early 2 weeks before bud break in spring will stimulate growth, then possibly fertilize again after heavy rains or in 4 weeks. You can use straight N 21-0-0 to save money 10-20 lbs will do 100 trees that are about 10 feet tall. High N will cause fruit drop in bearing trees especially after leaves are out however if applied 2-3 weeks before bud break not as likely to cause fruit drop. Too much N will cause ammonization, long stringy lush growth, curly skinny tender green twigs but unless very excessive they will grow out of it. Use less next time. In central Indiana 1-3 feedings each year is plenty. Heavy rain washes the N away but lack of rain it will not be effective and if you then get heavy rain later the N moves into the root zone. I just carry a bucket of 21-0-0 and count closed fist fulls , one for small tree scattered in 3-4 feet circle, 2 fist fulls for medium scattered over 6 feet or so diameter , 3-4 closed fist fulls is extreme even for a 15 foot tree. Don’t cheat only apply what can be held in closed fist try for same every time, you should be able to wave fist around and none will fall out. Or go scientific and measure. You can judge by growth and size of leaves , as large as a shoe sole and dark green is maximum , watch out for ammonization. Never fertilize bearing trees after leaves are out. First feeding in field every year use a complete fertilizer or half 12-12-12 and half 21-0-0, Urea 46-0-0 is Ok too but since it is 2.5 times as strong use much less. 50 lbs of 21-0-0 is far far too much in a year for 100 trees 10 feet tall , half that or less each year is more correct and in clay soil might be too much causing late growth and dieback due to freezing in winter.
Bestseed. Excellent description of the practical approach! Thanks
My issue isn’t fertility. It’s that my yard is part sun at best, or that I’m using bare-root seedlings that need to reestablish. Especially the first year, they will rarely put on more than 6" of top growth per season. Once they’ve decided it’s time to stop growing for the season, no amount of additional fertilizer will entice them to grow.
I would also argue that late summer/early fall is prime time for fertilization. N is much more available at the warmer soil temps at that time, and the tree is busy storing up nutrients of all sorts in it’s root system.