Wait a year before grafting new persimmon rootstocks?

I ordered five native persimmon seedlings to use as rootstocks to try grafting. They should come to me about 18" long. What I’m wondering is, can I plant them in-ground on arrival - probably this month (March) - and then graft them when the sap really starts flowing, I guess in May (for zone 6b/7a)? Or would I do much better to just plant them in their permanent places, let them grow there undisturbed for a year, and next spring try grafting? I get the feeling that as a newbie who has never grafted yet, I would likely have more luck with a bark graft than one of the more sophisticated kinds. That would seem to require a larger diameter stock than I am likely to receive. Thoughts?


I bench grafted mine to great success. The extra control over temperature helps a lot. Whether you can or not will depend on how thick your rootstock is. I would also recommend practicing grafting cuts on a bunch of twigs pruned from neighborhood trees. Better to make your mistakes on those. Try whip and tongue, it’s actually much easier than it looks if your knife is sharp. Also chip budding is pretty easy.


Make your decision on the size of the trunk and the roots. Persimmons grow tall fast so an 18” tree is going to be pretty skinny and some of them need time to develop roots. Another year is going to give them a lot of growth time. Do some research on chip budding. It’s a really good way to graft and leave your rootstock intact in case the graft does not take.


18” That’s probably pretty skinny, on one hand that can be somewhat difficult to graft and there may not be many roots with it. On the other hand it can be a lot easier to bench graft with smaller stock because you can rotate it around much easier than if it’s actually in the ground

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I’ve done both options you’r proposing-

  1. planted small diameter 1-2 ft persimmon rootstock in the late winter and bark grafted onto them as soon as they started leafing out in the spring of that same year.
  2. planted small diameter 1-2ft persimmon rootstock in the late winter, let them grow for a year to establish themselves, and then bark grafted on to them the following spring.

Both options generally led to successful grafts, but with option #1, the scions generally only grew 6-8" the first year, and sometimes didn’t grow that much the second year either. With option #2, I typically get 4-6’ of growth the first year after grafting, so in my opinion that’s the better way to go over the long term.

My theory is that it’s better not to do two major stress-inducing procedures (transplanting and grafting) in the same season if you don’t have to. It allows the tree more time to recover from the transplanting and establish some roots in the ground before you graft the following year. But both options can succeed with persimmons.

From what I’ve heard and read, some fruit trees are easier to graft with reduced vigor because there is less sap flow to flood the graft, i.e., mulberries. So in that case, it might make more sense to plant and graft in the same season (either by bench grafting bareroot trees or planting them in the ground and grafting a couple of months later). But that hasn’t been my experience with persimmons. Full disclosure, I’ve never successfully grafted a mulberry in half a dozen attempts, but I’ve successfully grafted several dozen kaki and hybrid persimmons to D. virginiana rootstock.


Hey, folks, thank you for the replies! I will have to see how thick the rootstocks are when I get them. I’m leaning mostly in the direction of what @ncdabbler suggested, to plant the rootstocks when I receive them and let most of them grow out for a year. I will read up on the chip budding technique and try that with a couple of the rootstocks. Trying bench grafting doesn’t seem practical for me right now, given my current state of amateurishness! :grin: If a wait for a year, that will also give me a chance to decide what scions I would like and request them before they are all spoken for! Two I already know I’d like to try are Giombo and Rojo Brillante.