[NAFEX] Persistent persimmon keeps trying to regrow

Bassem Samaan bassem at gardener.com
Tue Apr 17 06:39:44 EDT 2007

Here's a great article on the Persimmon, in the pittsburgh tribune.
Question: After removal of two mature persimmon trees four years ago,
we've been getting dozens of shoots from roots that grew under the grass
and into our main yard. They are impossible to kill. We have tried
everything, even Roundup, which killed all the grass in the areas
sprayed. If we burn out the stump, would that help to kill off all the
roots that are trying to sprout new trees? Thanks for your help, this is
a really bad problem that seems to have no solution.

Below are two solutions to the problem noted above from two adjunct
faculty members of Chatham College's Landscape programs, William C.
Paxton II and Robert Palmieri. Paxton also provides some interesting
facts about persimmon trees.

Answer: There are a number of trees that have the unique capacity to
sprout from leftover roots once the main tree is dug and removed. For
instance, it seemed a real boon in the nursery business to dig and sell a
sweetgum tree and then wait a year to have as many as six to 10 sprouts
to replace it. It also is a common forestry practice to harvest a woodlot
and experience a second cutting from stump-sprout regeneration.

Regarding your question of how to get rid of a tree that continues to
sprout, I suggest a stump-grinder removal unit that will get all of the
main stump and most of the roots, at a cost that varies with the size of
the stump.

Click Here[IMAGE]

However, what I find most interesting is that it is a persimmon that you
are trying to deal with. In Western Pennsylvania, there are few to be
found natively and even fewer planted in landscapes. I know there is a
very nice one on the historical site of Old Compass Inn in Laughlintown,
Westmoreland County, and I found one just last year on a logged-over gas
well site in Greene County. This marvelous species with its very chunky
bark and its delicious game and people food (only after frost) to me
would be a treasure to have rather than a pest to get rid of.

The wild species is Diosporus virginiana and the one whose fruit you
purchase in the market is Diosporus kaki from Japan. Diosporus, by the
way, translates as "fruit of the gods." It seems to have very few pests
outside of the persimmon root borer and several other minor insects.

In the woodworkers world, it is very closely related to ebony and is
identified in the lumber pile by its black streaks from the heartwood. It
is most popularly remembered by older golfers who knew persimmon wood was
the head of drivers, as it was so hard and tough.

It is the food host, along with hickory and walnut, to the largest
caterpillar in the country, the beautifu,l but dragon-like, hickory horn
devil, larvae of the royal walnut moth. It is found in the regular diet
of the following birds and mammals: turkey; six song birds, including the
yellow-bellied sapsucker; nine large mammals, including the red fox and
raccoon; two mice; and white-tailed deer.

I remember vividly learning about the "after frost" admonition. I had
eaten and enjoyed the sweet fruit given to me by a friend on a Boy Scout
survival jamboree. When I spotted them on several small trees near home
the next year, I eagerly picked one and plopped it in my mouth. A
spoonful of alum could not have turned my mouth inside out quicker. Then
I read that generally after frost the fruit ripened on the tree.

If you would really like to love a persimmon, I recommend the chapter
called "The Sugar-Plum Tree" in Euell Gibbons' "Stalking the Wild
Asparagus." It is six delicious pages long, but I would like to quote the
very last paragraph:

"Finally, I must point out that the persimmon with its shiny green
foliage is an exceptionally beautiful small tree and should be planted
more often as an ornamental. It belongs to the Ebony Family and the dark
wood can be turned on a lathe into beautiful bowls and other ornamental
objects. If you are looking for food and drink, beauty, goodness and
health, why don't you go 'simmon hunting?"

--William C. Paxton II was one of the first registered landscape
architects in Pennsylvania as well as a forester. As part of Chatham
College's adjunct faculty, he has taught planting design and ornamental

Answer: In coastal Virginia, I had success with eradication of bamboo
runners from a 25-foot-high bamboo mass planting by cutting the main
stalks to 18 inches and pouring Round Up solution directly into them
during the growing season.

Similarly, drilling deep cores about a half-inch in diameter into the
persimmon trunk and pouring Roundup into the cores during the growing
season is worth consideration. Because the persimmon trunk is not freshly
cut, the depth of the core may need to be drilled several inches deep to
reach live wood.

--Robert Palmieri, another landscape architect, will be teaching in the
Chatham College Landscape Programs this fall.
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