Persimmon seed starting ?

Scott Clearman

New Member
Last fall I purchased persimmon seeds. As soon as they arrived I put them in the refrigerator and they are still there, should be ready to pull out. It's February 20 here in Texas, I'm about an hour south east of Dallas. Today is should be in the middle 60's. Basically with the possible exception of a cold spell lasting a few days here and there, winter is basically over. I want to get the persimmon going around the place but I also want them to live through summer. When July and August gets here we will likely have temps in the 90's to 100's and no rain for weeks at a time. I don't have the ability to water trees in the field if planted.

The seeds were put in the 'fridge without any scarification. SO, first question is do I need to, or will it benefit them to scarify at this point when I pull them out?
Second, I have 2 options; direct seeding now and hope for the best, or plant in pots and replant in fall after the brutal temps are done.

I have some 4x4x12" planting pots that I'm using for chestnuts. I can plant the persimmon in those and try to keep them going until fall and replant. I'm not sure if they need that large of a pot like I understand chestnut does.

I'm open to other suggestions as well.


The problem with regular pots is you will get j-hooking and circling of a tap root. While these trees look OK when young, eventually the root constrict themselves and a few years down the road you have a stunted tree if it survives. It is possible to hand prune j-hooking or circling roots, but that more than offsets any gains from potting them and giving them good care the first year. If you want to use containers, you will benefit from a series of root pruning containers like rootmaker.

@mattpatt is in Tx and grows a lot of chestnuts in root pruning containers outdoors. Scarification can improve germination rates, but if you have more seed than you need trees, you can get by without it. One option for direct seeding is to start the seed in deep containers of any kind in promix lightly covered. 6" is deep enough. Persimmons start by putting a root radical out from the seed that goes down. Soon after that, it tries to lift the seed out of the soil. The seed opens, falls off, and the first leaves come from inside the seed. So, As soon as you see a seed beginning to lift out of the promix, you can use a little plastic fork and dig up the young plant. You can direct seed this tiny tree. You are digging up the seedling before the tap root can hit the bottom of the container and j-hook or circle. This method eliminates going to the trouble of planting and protecting seed that never germinates.

The advantage of using a series of root pruning containers is that root pruning causes a dense root system and increase the amount of both root development and top growth significantly. The down side is that in arid environments, you might need that tap root during drought. If you go the root pruning container route you will want to start with 18s and transplant once or twice ending with at least a 3 gal container. I know @mattpatt uses them in Tx, but Tx is big and has a lot of different climates. The other advantage is that it is easy to care for trees at home in pots compared to in the field, so that first year they get a great head start.

I have persimmons growing natively on my place. While I have planted some, most are native trees. They are dioecious with male and female. Only female develop fruit. So, I bark graft trees when they hit about 1" in diameter with female scions.