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I want to get advice on how to prune my persimmon tree. As the photo shows, many of the branches are growing upward. They are thin and at a very acute angle against the main trunk. Particularly, the top part of the main trunk (right photo) has many branches going upward.

I planted this tree about 4 years ago when it was 5 years old. Since then, I haven't done any pruning, but several thick lower branches have been accidentally broken. All these upshot branches came out this year.

The tree seems to need a proper pruning after this winter but I have no idea how to shape this tree with all these upward branches. I would appreciate if you can give me some guidance.

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  • I am out learning a bit more before helping you prune this tree. How old is this guy and could you share a picture of the entire tree including the bottom of the trunk? Are those leaves able to be shook off or brushed off? Is this tree about 7' high with a 1 1/2" caliper trunk? Or 2"? The diameter? Do you have an excellent pair of by pass pruners (Felco 2 would be outstanding) cleaned with alcohol? – stormy Dec 10 '17 at 20:55
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I don't fully agree with stormy (second time this month).

Persimmon trees (kaki trees) are similar to peach trees, but not so extreme. They have strong apical growth, and quick death of non apical buds, so pruning is very important, or the tree will go out-of-control, without recovery options. (This is unlike apples).

What does this mean? The persimmon tree tends to make such "suckers" which grow tall, and to lose lower branches. You should prune many of these suckers, or shorten them, when they still have buds on lower part. Always look and make sure that there are enough buds and branches on the lower part, before you prune.

But contrary to peach trees, such suckers could still be useful. The fruits are heavy, and in general the tree tends to take a form similar to crying willows. These suckers will tend to bend down, except maybe the most vertical one, which will also have the stronger apical dominance, so prune them.

In this specific case, you have a lot of branches. I would prune many of the top ones, (keep the ones with better buds on the lower part of branch), and maybe also the lowest one if you have wild animals around you. This lowest branch will also bend down in autumn, and touch the ground.

In my experience, the branches are not very strong. They tend to break with snow, with heavy wind and with many fruits, so try to have fewer but stronger branches, and prune after the last chance of heavy snow.

  • I was hoping you'd answer! Are these upright branches regular air suckers? Or do these produce fruit? What do you think of training over an arched trellis? How is pruning the suckers helping to make more fruit on the lower branches, for instance. Deciduous trees lose their leaves so they aren't susceptible to the weight of snow. Do we know where this tree is being grown? Grins, Giacomo, I can't figure what 'you disagree with second time this month'...let me know!! – stormy Dec 11 '17 at 10:00
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There are two options I'll put out here; one would be cutting the tree back to the junction where there is a lot of vertical growth. If necessary I could draw a cut mark on your pictures. For now it is 1 1/2 inches up from a little to the left of middle of the bottom of your SECOND picture. On the first picture it would be 2" down from the top of your picture a little to the left of the center of the picture. I would also consider the next junction down the tree if I knew more about the scale. These branches worry me as being 'air suckers' that in some circumstances do not produce fruit. But so far I am finding that shortened, vertical branches on persimmon produce more fruit...akin to blueberries. I need to know persimmons better than I do. For now, as you've got some time, just be thinking about getting rid of that errant branch/leader where the weight of that leader and branches on a thin trunk bent it over. The tree will straighten up. You want your tree to be maintained at a height where you can reach the fruit, not have to use a ladder anyway.

The second is just an idea I had that I still don't know if it would be good for a Persimmon tree. This idea is simple creating a cool arch structure that the top of your easily curves over and continue sort of like a vine? Like an arbor? Archway? It would keep your very vital tree at a height that you can pluck persimmons when they are ripe as well and make it easy to prune for maintenance forever. Not to mention beautiful.

If this does not make sense, I'll send better more visual instructions. Gotta see what is happening with the trunk and soil connection. If an arch at that spot doesn't work then you should just cut your tree back to either of those junctions. Leave at least 1/4 inch of tree above the branch you want as the new leader.

We've got some great orchardists and those that have actually grown persimmon trees I hope will give you more experienced answers.Persimmons how to grow and prune

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