what I had in mind

It seemed like a good idea, some fifteen years ago or so. Plant a couple of persimmon trees, be patient, harvest the fruit.

So I waited–patiently–long long past the five-year mark by which time I should have been seeing flowers. Nothing. Not a blossom, not a little green fruit. Just plenty of leaves and suckers growing up throughout the yard.

Persimmons Have To Go

Last September, so about ten months ago, I brought in Clayton’s Tree Service and got rid of the persimmons, along with some other trees. At least I thought I did. The tree guys cut them to ground level and drilled the stumps and the larger, exposed parts of roots full of holes and spread pink salt over them. That salt should have speeded demise and decay.

But it didn’t.

Around the middle of June I finally got the chance to inspect the garden—I had entirely missed the bloom of iris, the best of the golden ragwort, and barely had noticed the dogwood tree. April and May are definitely my showiest months and I had been distracted.

Persimmons Aren’t Leaving

suckers everywhere and in clumps

There were suckers coming up everywhere. Some of them were a couple feet tall, some were growing in large clumps and they all were absolutely hideous. So I called the tree guys back—I had a cypress that had to be removed—and consulted with them about the persimmons. Tim, the supervisor, couldn’t explain the explosive growth, but he drilled more holes and spread more pink salt.

In the meantime, I got to work digging around the suckers and tracing the root systems. Where I could I started severing and removing chunks of root. This activity, as it turns out, required more than a good pair of pruning shears, the pitchfork and a shovel. It required that I bring out the reciprocating saw. Both of them, in fact. And buy a packet of replacement blades for both.

Finding The Roots

hacking at the roots

Let’s see, I’ve been extracting roots for five, no six weeks now. Every few days I scrutinize the backyard and look for those stinking green shoots. So far—including this morning—I have always found them. They grow among the hellebore and the ragwort, coming up through the borders of white rocks, twisting through the low stone walls that terrace my steep back slope, peeking through the grass of the yard.

Removal is a process. I dig around it and try to expose as much root as possible, although as I gleaned from my Internet research, the root systems of persimmons are complex and can lay three feet underground. Suckers come up still around the edge of the persimmon stump and those I gnaw at with the saw; then I saturate the cut area in herbicide.

Death Wish

I mean, why won’t the damned thing just die? Those roots, large and small, look green and healthy when I cut them. They no longer seem reliant on the tree that produced them originally and the more I take out, the more motivated the remainder are to survive. Nay, to thrive!

I hope the University of Maryland Extension Service can offer some advice.