The American persimmon appears on lists of trees that tolerate coppicing, but being a slow-growing tree native to a region where coppicing forestry practices are rare, it doesn't seem to actually get coppiced very often. I'd like to hear from anybody who has coppiced (or pollarded - pollarding might make more sense in deer country) these trees. I'm particularly interested in finding out whether old trees will send up shoots from the stumps when cut, or whether it only works on younger trees.
I ask because I've got a surplus of male Persimmon trees, but they are mostly older trees in dubious condition. My thinking is that coppicing could give me a good supply of easy-to-reach leaves (to harvest for tea and medicinal purposes) without me having to strip them from my fruit-bearing trees. I'm hoping to start some seedling trees this spring, but I don't know how successful that will be and I want to use any successes as fruit trees or grafting stock for fruit trees. If I can rejuvenate an old male tree that's not doing much for me now, why not?
I have enough trees that I can afford to experiment even after leaving plenty to provide pollen for my female trees. So, as an experiment, I'm currently contemplating cutting one of the old male trees before its winter dormancy is gone (so, fairly soon). Anybody got any experience doing this? (Or, heck, speculative opinions, I'm easy.) What I'd really love to see are some photos of coppiced persimmons, if anybody can find any; I sure can't.
Cris Bessette wrote:
Question for you: How the heck do you tell male from female? I've started dozens of persimmon trees from seeds and planted them all over the yard- but they all look alike to me.
Well, my understanding is that you can't tell until they flower. I'm going by this link:
Fruit, of course, is a dead give-away that you are looking at a female persimmon. Absence of fruit doesn’t necessarily mean a tree is a male. It could be a bad year for mast production, the tree might be in a location with poor resources (sunlight, soil nutrients and moisture), or it could just be an immature female that isn’t producing fruit yet. You can also safely “sex” a persimmon in spring, when the trees are bearing flowers, as each sex produces a distinct flower.
If you happen on a persimmon tree in the spring, check for flowers. You’ll find them on this spring’s new growth that is emerging from one-year-old limbs. The flowers form in the axils of the new growth – that’s the angle between a leafstalk and the branch the leaf is attached to (see the photo in the gallery below). Female flowers are slightly larger than males, and they are attached closer to the branch, because as the fruit forms and becomes heavy, a strong anchor to the branch will be necessary (again, more photos in the gallery). In contrast, male flowers dangle on a stem and almost appear like tiny bells (I promise I’m trying to keep this G-rated). Male flowers also have a “calyx” (the leaf-like cup that holds the flower) that is smaller than the flower. In females, the calyx is roughly equal in size to the flower. Finally, male flowers occasionally, but not always, form in clusters of two or more hanging from the same axil. Female flowers do not. If you see dangling persimmon flowers in a cluster of two or more, it’s a male tree.