Hoping a persimmon tree takes root

The sticklike persimmon tree is supposed to benefit from deep watering via the PVC pipes surrounding it.

A dragonfly perched atop the persimmon tree gives a hint of the fruit's color.

The persimmon tree looks like a stick planted in the ground, and I feel a little silly watering it because it’s been sitting out there in the “back forty” for  a month and still shows no sign of life.

The fuyu-variety tree is five feet tall and clipped at the top. There are a number of nubs on it that I assume are buds waiting to emerge as graceful branches. The tree is  supposed to grow to more than 20 feet high. I envision it  casting a cooling shade over the garage, which turns into a furnace in the summer.

 The tree was billed as bare-root specimen, and I felt confident that I could get it to grow because of past success with bare-root roses. The gardening expert at Green Acres nursery in east Sacramento said I could simply plant it in the container and then cut away the cardboard. I didn’t need to build a mound in the hole and carefully drape the roots over it.

 The plant even came with the encouraging quote “Bloom where you are planted” printed on the sales slip.

Two weeks ago, on yet another trip to Green Acres for new plants, I checked out the bare-root persimmons and was encouraged to see one that had some green growth near the base. I asked one of the experts if my tree might soon emerge from the nether world. He assured me that mysteries of growth were silently unfolding behind the scenes, and I would soon be rewarded.

To give the tree a boost, he suggested deep watering the roots because persimmons like to get a strong hold on life before showing their true colors. He recommended that I insert a few pieces of PVC pipe into the ground around the root ball and then drip water into them.

I rounded up some old PVC pipe, cut it into one-foot lengths and drove the three pieces into the ground. I was amused to see a nightcrawler emerge from depths and was reminded that I had used a similar technique to rustle up worms for fishing when I was a kid. Apparently, worms don’t like to have the serenity of their homes disturbed by shock waves.

Instead of a drip system, I patiently poured water from a watering can into the pipes. I’ve been doing this for two weeks, in addition to some surface watering. I had hoped the recent heat wave would unlock the tree’s life force. I thought I saw the slightest of swellings yesterday on one bud, but I could be hallucinating.

I remain optimistic that the roots will take hold soon and get the life process unfolding. However, I was told the nursery has a one-year, money-back policy on failed plants. The clock is ticking.

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