Saijo persimmon questions

Hello, I’m new here and I’m hoping to learn more about persimmons.

In spring of 2020, I ordered a Saijo persimmon along with some other trees at I knew nothing about persimmons, but it seemed like something cool and interesting to try growing.

The plant died back after the first winter but grew back from the roots. I thought it was doing ok and would eventually fruit, but now that I’m learning more, I suspect the Saijo was grafted onto an American rootstock.

Here’s a photo of it this spring:

The main leader attached to the bamboo pole appears to be completely dead, but the other branches coming from the roots are starting to leaf out. It was probably this way last year as well, but I wasn’t paying close attention to it.

Can I assume that the Saijo part of my tree is dead?

If this is the case, what is the best-case scenario for making this a fruit-producing tree? Since I don’t know if the rootstock is from a self-pollinating tree, I’m thinking of getting another American persimmon variety and planting it nearby for cross-pollination.

you can probably get some asian persimmon scions and graft in one of the new growth (american persimmon) branches

Agree with Kim, the grafted variety has been overtaken by the rootstock suckers. Suggest picking 2-3 of the strongest suckers to graft with a variety that might ripen in your climate. Once grafts take you can cut off all but the strongest one. With this rootstock it suckers profusely so you have to keep rubbing off the sprouts below the graft to have any success, otherwise, you just grow suckers.
An alternative to consider would be to use this rootstock to grow a number of graftable one year old rootstocks by layering each of the suckers. To do that scrap off the outer bark down to the hazel green cambium layer about 2-3 “ in length just above where they emerge from the mother. Then bend each one over to a level nearly touching the ground and tie them down, cover the scarred portion you scraped bark with 5-6” deep garden soil and mulch it well. Water once a week during the growing season. By this fall you can the uncover the newly rooted shoots and pot them for next years grafting. This would give you many more chances of getting a viable plant if you are new to grafting.
Kent, wa

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Thanks Kim and Dennis! I think I will go the grafting route, but look for an Asian scion a little hardier than Saijo. It seems to be borderline here in SE Michigan (6a/b).

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From the picture, it looks like the middle limb, tied to the bamboo, would be the original grafted variety, and the others likely rootstock.

Is the tied one completely dead?

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I don’t think you’ll have much luck finding a Kaki persimmon that will survive your winters, but you could try Inchon or possibly one of the few others known to be extra hardy. If you can find it, you will be better off with one of the American/kaki hybrids for the increased hardiness. I think the favorite these days would be JT-02, which is proving very hardy and has a reputation for great taste. Mine has buds this year, but is probably too small to keep from dropping the fruit, so I expect I won’t get a taste until next year.


@murky yes, that was the original graft and it is completely dead.

@zendog Thanks for the suggestion, after looking into more Asian varieties I couldn’t find anything that I would be confident would do better in that location than the Saijo.

I ended up ordering a Rosseyanka scion because it’s one of the few hybrids I could still find online this season, and I was impatient to get something going this year, lol. It might be a bit too late for the graft to take but we’ll see.

I might try another Asian variety in the future in a more protected location on my property.

Great. I think that is a good choice as well, particularly for your zone. I think you have plenty of time to graft. I’m in 7A and just starting my persimmon grafts now. I’ve bench grafted rootstocks before, but these are in containers or in ground rootstocks and everyone seems to say they are best grafted later than most trees.

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Good to know - thanks!

Have you cut into the saijo stem with a knife ,down to the wood,looking for any sign of green,to confirm it’s dead ?

If you wait a month Cricket Hill will have Jt-02 in stock. They said to me they will be taking pre-orders around June for the fall season.

@Hillbillyhort yes, and just today I cut it off completely. It was definitely dead.

@elivings1 thanks for the heads up!