Desperate Decision → Piddly Persimmon

September 15, 2021

No one in their right mind would buy a Persimmon Tree from Home Depot. Or would they … if desperate enough?

We ordered an Izu from a well-known nearby nursery in 2019. We received the bareroot tree in March of 2020 and made a nice home for it along the west fence.

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Oddly, by June, it still had not leafed out. I scratched the bark and there was green cambium so I gave it more time. By mid-June, I could tell the tree was dead. The rootstock lived but the graft did not take. Rats. Lost a year.

I was very anxious to order a replacement tree the following winter. The same nursery shipped one, again bare root, and it arrived February 26, 2021. Bare root indeed! It had no feeder roots whatsoever! Refund.

Here is where the desperation set in. I said to my self, “Self, you have to find a persimmon!”

Nobody had Izu. And, in late spring, most nearby nurseries didn’t have much in the way of persimmon at all … except … Home Depot. Can you believe it? I ordered a Fuyugaki Diospyros kaki from Home Depot. Shipped from Florida to Seattle. We called it the Florida persimmon. It seemed to shiver when we planted it. Well, at least it had roots.

Leafed out fairly quickly! Then, slowly but surely, the piddly persimmon was dead by July. Not that we were really expecting more.

But why did it die? Enter investigator West and investigator Lee. They carefully dug out the failure. At first, it seemed to be very well rooted, as there were large roots holding it down.

“Wait!”, Lee began, “Those sturdy roots don’t belong to the persimmon!” In fact, the roots belonged to the big American Elms nearby.

Lee and West didn’t really have to be careful. Once they cut the persimmon free of its entanglement with the elm roots, the Home Depot special pulled right out.  The tree never really got started. It leafed out based on the carbohydrates already stored in the plant. Clearly the roots were not in great shape because they never really connected with the soil to start any kind of flow.

Roots find water and the Elm roots deliberately jumped the fence and slurped up the available water we had been applying to the new tree.

So, as always, it’s not clear. Could be a combination of, trip from Florida was just too hard on the Fuyagaki and/or the fact that it had severe root and water competition from two 50-foot Elms.

I just picked up a new Maekawa Jiro from Burnt Ridge Nursery. Not an Izu, but we will treat it with the same respect. Once it is in the ground, please come by and speak sweetly to it.


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