Persimmon Triage

The persimmon tree shown has significant beetle (?) damage. The top of the tree (>40 ft) is leafed out so it is alive. I expect it to go into decline but is there anything I can do to prolong its life?

Also last week I was excited my year-old persimmons were in leaf. The cold spell we had burnt all the leaves off the small plants. The location is on a ridge in zone 6B.

I’d wait till you see some actual decline to do anything. May not work because of age, but you could cut it down and graft the stump later.


I’m guessing those are sapsucker holes. They are quite fond of persimmon. I wouldn’t sweat it if I were you. They aren’t as big an issue as they might seem. Ive seen extensive sapsucker galleries here on a particular persimmon whose trunk is only 3” diameter or so. It hasn’t affected yield or tree health noticeably in the last 3 yrs or so since I noticed it. I’m sure they will be covered over as the tree increases in diameter, too.

It’s also possible, looking again and noticing the strip of missing bark, that there is a section of dead cambium (for whatever reason). In that case, the holes may be from other small woodpeckers (downy, hairy, etc.) Perhaps you’re more concerned with the apparently dead strip of wood than with the holes? I think it’s likely they are two different phenomena. Have you probed that area at all to see if it is living or dead ?

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Yes I am more concerned about the dead area. To the right of my hand is heart wood (no cambium). The picture doesn’t capture it well it’s about half the tree. Would it help the tree to paint with some type of sealant? But it would be good to know what to do for any other trees before it gets this bad.

I see. Yeah, it does look like it may begin to hollow out with time. Lots of trees in a forest environment do that for one reason or another, and it needn’t be a limiting factor in a tree’s life. Persimmons are very tough trees. I still probably wouldn’t sweat it much, unless it’s within striking distance of your house. The trunk will be weakened somewhat as the wood decays. The tree will be doing its best to heal it over, and may eventually, though it’ll take a good while.

hobilus. Thanks! (my house is 200 miles away so I’m good in that regard :slight_smile:

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Your small persimmons should be fine. They are very good at releafing/reshooting if they need to.

ElindaUP. You were right they came back. They grew back, however from several it is unclear that they are the named variety or from the root stock. I guess I may know in about 7 years.

On the triage question. The tree is about 10" in diameter. If it is a male and I cut it down to ground next year will I get root sprouts or will it die? Trying to understand when cutting down causes mortality.

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Nice. Very glad to hear it, hope they take off for you. My seedlings are not coming up again this year. I murdered them with a overly liberal application of Urea. Now I know better. It is part of the journey I guess, and the last couple years have really been a learning experience for me. I am more seedlings coming up, and I am excited to get back on the horse. I now have more room for the grafted varieties I’m getting in. I’m still just ecstatic to be able to experiment with them in my region. I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge from people on this form, but now and then I still have to learn things the hard way.