SDS (Sudden Death Syndrome) Kaki Decline


I have not been on here for some time, but wanted to share some thoughts on this. SDS (Sudden Death Syndrome) Kaki Decline or whatever you call it. I took note of someone’s comments of never being able to re-graft Kaki to Virginiana rootstock that had prior been lost to decline. I like to take advantage of established root stock so when I lose a tree always allow 3 or 4 trunks on regrowth from lost plants so I have multiple graft attempts and later cull to a single graft I normally have a very high percentage graft results but on these regrowths I was having no success some over multiple years regrafting Kaki. I grow a lot more Kaki but this year grafted 1 Virginiana to each of the 4 trees I was having trouble with in prior years. I was 4 for 4 on the Virginiana and probably like 0 for 12 on Kaki. If you take into account the prior years I am more like 0 for 50 on these Kaki to died back re-growth. When grafting Kaki to virgin rootstock have never kept actual track but I would guess over 80% on initial takes. I much prefer growing Kaki, so now I need to decide to either pull the entire tree after losses and go back with Kaki or dedicate that regrowth to Virginiana grafts.



I had the same issue. I kept on re graft the large rootstock with the Kaki and Hybrids. The scions took and grew for about a foot and dark veins appeared on their leaves and died. After three consecutive years and I decided to pull it and planted a new rootstock.



That’s interesting that hybrids failed too. I was thinking that hybrids would make a great cold hardy and potentially semi-dwarfing rootstock that wouldn’t have SDS issues.


I was surprised about the Hybrids rejection as well since 1/2 are American persimmon.


I sas wrong about it. I posted in the hybrids subject.

I also car failures by grafting on hybrids.
But also virginiana on virginiana.
Thé khaki will always keep its mystery ready


Interesting occurrences, great info.


I too have noticed this phenomenon .
90+ percent takes of grafts of kaki scion on young seedling D. Virginiana root
95+ failed on “older” D. Virginiana root suckers.
And these have not seen kaki before
Wish I knew why ?..


The way I do grafting on astablish tree,s , if you topwork a tree,i cutdown the rootstock as close to the ground and wait for waterspouts. I would not do anything, you might get a dozen of them. Next spring I will clean and only keep the ones for grafting. In the old days when I do apple topworking, I usely barkgraft 4 or 5 on the rootstock, why, because it would heal so much better, just keep the strongest one, it would callest up the rootstock nicely in a couple of years.


Just saw this old thread. Hillbillyhort, I’m wondering if your seedlings are from the same gene pool as the older root suckers. For example, are your root suckers from native wild trees and your seedlings grown from seed that came from somewhere else?


Yes , most root sprouts that have had kaki fail are from older native trees here. And some of the young seedlings that took are from here, some from other sources ,
I just seams like the age has something to do with kaki rejection , older Virginiana Rootstock stock , more often reject kaki , regardless of source .
Young seedlings, ~ 2yr old from seed ,I rarely have rejection.
But really not sure what is going on ?
Need more trials/ observations
I do know that I cut down some older male virginiana, they sent up many root sprouts , most all kaki grafts failed , most Virginiana varietys took, , most kaki grafts took on two year old potted seedlings


I have an old male D. virginiana in my yard that puts up a lot of root suckers, but I’ve never had any success grafting kaki scions to those root suckers after trying dozens of times. The grafts always look like they’re taking and then die back after a month or so. I’ve had good success grafting to the root suckers of purchased kakis grafted onto D. virginiana.

Some of my purchased kaki trees succumbed to what looked like SDS (sudden wilting on portions of the tree, blackening veins in the leaves prior to wilting, spreading throughout the tree). Whenever I tried to regraft to the D. virginiana rootstocks of these trees that died back, those grafts also failed. The rootstock suckers never showed any of the symptoms, but maybe it’s some kind of disease that D. virginiana can carry and transmit without exhibiting any of the symptoms. Perhaps most of the older trees in your area (and maybe in my area too) have already been exposed to the disease and carry it, but it doesn’t get passed on through the seeds. Just a theory.


Yes. This is what I feel is going on as well !


Not that I’m necessarily inclined to believe it, but do you think it’s at all possible that those suckers could be rejecting your grafts for the same reason that a rootstock will reject a graft, especially a kaki graft, if you don’t eliminate competing growth from below the graft. In other words, could the big male tree be doing the same thing to those suckers that growth from below the graft (but on the same stem as the graft) does to grafts?

A lot of the volunteer persimmons I’m grafting onto come up in clusters, and I assume they’re typically all coming off the same root system. The last couple years I’ve gotten the very rough impression that my grafts seem to do better if there aren’t other little suckers nearby (within three or four feet). In the past I’ve sometimes left those extra suckers both because it didn’t really seem to matter and because they seemed like back-up rootstocks I could graft onto the next year if the initial graft I did failed, but now I kind of suspect they can make a difference in the success of my graft.


I wondered about that initially too, but I see the same graft failures when I transplant the root suckers from my native D. virginiana and let them grow a year in the new location before grafting. I agree with you that persimmons seem particularly sensitive to competition below the graft, but there must be something else going on as well.

With my successful grafts onto non-transplanted root suckers, I’ve always tried to sever the connection to the mother tree with a spade inserted into the ground in about a one foot radius all around the sucker/rootstock and about a foot deep, usually in the late fall when they go dormant when I plan to graft in the following late spring,. An added benefit is that it makes them easier to eventually transplant the next winter.