Agrilus fuscipennis (persimmon agrilus) and Sannina uroceriformis (persimmon borer)
It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or an arborist) to see that the young persimmon tree at left probably has been invaded by borers. Two holes are clearly marked by the blackened gum around them. I think these are entry holes, but I suppose they also could be holes left by a woodpecker going after the borers.
After seeing the holes in this tree's trunk, I did a little reading about tree borers and learned that two types attack persimmons: Agrilus fuscipennis or persimmon agrilus, and Sannina uroceriformis or persimmon borer
These holes are located at about 4 or 5 feet above ground level. That makes me think that persimmon agrilus is at work.
The persimmon agrilus is active in the lower trunk of the persimmon tree as well as the taproot. Forestpests.org offers this:
Dissections [of persimmons infected with agrilus] reveal that galleries [long holes made by the borers] are most prevalent around the root collar and commonly occur 1.2 m up into trunks and 0.5 , down into roots. However, a few galleries have been found in trunks to 2 m and in roots to 1 m.
The adult persimmon agrilus is a beetle, and it apparently lays its eggs on the trunks of persimmon trees near the ground. Damage to persimmon trees by the agrilus larvae usually does not endanger the tree's life, but it does decrease the value of its wood as lumber.
The adult persimmon borer moth usually lays its eggs on the lowest portion of the persimmon trunk, rarely over 60 cm from the ground and usually much closer to ground level. She may lay eggs on the ground around the persimmon as well.
The egg-laying sites are near the ground because the freshly hatched persimmon borer larvae need to find their way to the persimmon's root system. They will spend the next year or two eating their way through the roots and creating tunnels as they go --hence their name, "borer".
The persimmon's roots can become so weak from the activity of persimmon borers that the tree falls over.
Don't dismiss persimmon trees just because they sometimes get borers. Many trees are attacked by borers.
If you think your persimmon or any other tree has borers, your county extension agent or university extension service is one of the best sources of specific information, available without charge.
More about persimmon trees
More about persimmon agrilus
More about persimmon borer
Damage to persimmon roots from persimmon borer
Tree borers of the world