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Planting persimmons in the powerline pasture

Persimmon seedlings

I wrote in July that I was going to repot our seedling American persimmons this winter, let them grow another year, graft Asian persimmon tops to them the following year, and finally plant them out the year after that.  However, I got to thinking that my original method would be a lot of time in a pot and multiple transplantings for a species that has personal space issues surrounding its roots, so I decided to change gears.

American persimmon seedlingsAnother factor to consider is winter hardiness.  I want to graft Asian persimmons onto my American persimmon rootstocks because many varieties of the former are naturally dwarfing (so they can go under the powerline) and since I've heard the flavor can be better than wild persimmons.  But Asian persimmons are only moderately winter hardy here in zone six.  Many people push the envelope by letting the American persimmon rootstock grow four feet tall before grafting on the Asian persimmon, figuring that the coldest air will be right near the ground where the hardier native persimmon can handle it, and I plan to follow suit.

Planting persimmons

Which is all a long way of explaining why I planted ten little persimmon seedlings into various chicken pastures over the last few weeks.  I'm glad I did --- the persimmons had developed a remarkable amount of root growth during their first growing season, with many roots already running around the bottoms of the pots.  If I try this again, I should probably plant one seed per container into small but deep pots, but hopefully my seedlings will forgive me for the one root-mangling episode.

Now I just need to give the seedlings a little love as they overcome the trauma of transplanting, and wait for them to get tall enough to graft on Asian persimmon scionwood.  We're highly unlikely to see any fruits before 2018 (with 2021 more likely), but the sooner we start, the sooner we eat.

Our chicken waterer is the clean solution for the backyard flock.


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