You asked me in a PM if you cna direct seed Persimmons. I was out of town bowhunting this week so I just sent you a short answer....yes.
I thought I'd post the longer answer here so others could benefit from it as well.
Yes, you can direct seed persimmons at the location you want them. This method can have advantages but also disadvantages. If you do nothing but direct seed persimmons, here is what will happen. I have read that some folks think the distribution of male/female is 50%. Well, that may or may not be true when cultivated, I don't know, but in my area, it is not even close in nature. When I surveyed my property for naturally growing persimmons, I found about a dozen male trees for each female tree. So, out of the hundred seeds you plant, even if all survive, you might get 10 female trees. If you do nothing else, you can expect some fruit in 8-10 years. Since persimmons are not "true to seed", they will not necessarily have characteristics similar to the tree you got the persimmons from. So even if you got your seed from a prolific tree, odds are some of those female trees will be poor producers.
If you want some good background information on persimmons for wildlife, I suggest you read this article: http://www.wildlifegrowers.com/persimmons_with_David_Osborn.pdf
My plan for persimmons for deer is this:
1) Change sex of my naturally growing male trees to female using scions from prolific trees with drop times covering our hunting seasons. This can give you fruit in the third leaf after grafting.
2) Plant persimmon seedlings only for future rootstock.Direct Seeding:
The key here is to work out the timing for your area. If you plant seeds in late spring, in my area, the seedlings would likely die during the summer heat unless you can keep them watered. Another issue is competition. When a seedling is young, it is competing for resources with everything around it. You can certainly direct seed and walk away if your timing is good, but success rates may be less than desired.Growing then planting your own seedlings
One advantage here is the flexibility in timing. You can start seedlings indoors in the winter and get a jump on spring. You can also start seeds in late spring or summer and plant them in the fall. This is possible because it is easy to control the sun and water in containerized seedlings.Root Pruning Containers
The containers you use are important. Containers can be a problem causer or problem solver. Normal solid containers, (5 gal bucket, pot, etc.
can be a source of real issues down the road. When tree roots hit the sides of typical container, they can circle the container, or turn back (this is called J-hooking). Down the road, this can cause real issues as the roots get large and the sharp bends limit nutrient flow.
With proper containers, roots can be pruned. Air pruning is one method. When the root tip is exposed to air, it desiccates and encourages root branching. In nature, a seed and plant expends a lot of energy sinking a large tap root. Some folks think this is to anchor the tree, but that isn't really the purpose. The purpose is to ensure the tree gets adequate water if a drought happens during establishment. The tree does this at the expense of root branching. Keep in mind that nutrients are delivered through the root tips, so the more branching, the more resources the root system can deliver to the tree. As long as you can provide adequate water during the establishment of the tree, a tree with a well-developed root system with lots of branching will outgrow a tree with a long tap root with little branching.
I've been using Rootbuilder containers but I'm sure there are other brands that do similar things.
Having said that, there are risks with growing seedlings in containers. When you have lots of trees together, it makes it easy to water and control sun, but if you get an insect infestation or disease, it move quickly from tree to tree. For example, I planted some Dunstan Chestnut trees that I started in containers last winter. Some were planted in the spring and others were kept in root pruning containers through the summer and planted in the fall. The Japanese beetles his us hard this year. The trees planted in the spring got hit but not nearly as hard as the trees in containers that were grouped closely together.
I think the key is trying to find the right balance. I tried several methods with my chestnuts last year and plan to make adjustments for next year. My target will be to wait and start my chestnut trees from seed about 12-16 weeks before my last frost so they can be planted directly out of the rootmaker cells. That seems to give me the benefit of root pruning while minimizing the work and risk.
If I plant persimmon rootstock again, I'll probably do it the same way.