[NAFEX] Multigrafted fruit trees (i.e. persimmon) vs high density planting (i.e. grove) - opinions?

Steven Covacci filtertitle at aol.com
Fri Feb 25 17:52:24 EST 2011

Dear group:

I was thinking of making 3 multi-grafted persimmon trees:

1. Asian persimmon (many cultivars)
2. American persimmon (many cultivars)
3. Lotus persimmon (using scion wood for multiple seedlings - experiment to find a better-flavored fruit; most say D. lotus tastes horrible, but a few have said otherwise, particularly if dried).

In all these multi-grafted trees, I would wait until the tree has a couple main branches and then at the tips start grafting, so that no cultivar completely dominates too heavily, since the frame and structure of the tree would be, in each instance, from one single cultivar, before branching off into different cultivars of varying vigor, leaf-structure, etc.

However, INSTEAD of doing this, I was considering planting a patch/grove of persimmons for each type.  

In nature, unless when seedlings falling from the mother tree form a grove, most persimmon and paw paw patches are umbilically linked via their roots, being clonal-suckers, so that the trees with the least access to direct sunlight are able to receive nutrients from those in direct sunlight, as they all share a mutual root-system.  If they don't, I suspect those with the poorest position don't do all that well as in the initial scenario.

Say, in a 10' x 10' spot for each, planting around 8 different cultivars; the trees would grow thin, congested between each other, and maybe would be less productive, putting in a lot of energy to growing tall in competing with each other for light, as they would also compete with each other for nutrients.

Yet, I think that a 10' x 10' patch of 8 persimmon trees (each a different cultivar) would produce more then enough persimmons, and perhaps around as much as a single tree would that is multi-grafted to fit 8 cultivars, being difficult to maintain the shape and balance of.

What do you think about this idea?  Both solutions look unnatural: a multi-graft tree = Frankenstein invention; and a grove of persimmons which contrast in, of all things, fruit size and shape doesn't look all that true to nature either.

Maybe I could take a 30' x 30' area and plant around 24 persimmon trees - mixed/unsorted in distribution: comprised of 8 D. virginiana, 8 D. kaki (on D. virginiana), and 8 D. lotus.  That might be an interesting horticultural look forgetting natural altogether, since no two of the 24 would look identical, being of different cultivars among the three species.



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