About Pawpaw Trees: Tips For Planting A Pawpaw Tree
Pawpaws are a type of evergreen shrub or small tree native to Asia. They have been cultivated for their woody stems and leaves since ancient times. Their popularity grew when they were introduced into Europe during the Renaissance period. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that they became popular in North America due to their adaptability and low maintenance requirements.
Pawpaws are known for their ability to withstand harsh winters and hot summers. Because of this, they make excellent houseplants. Some people even like them so much that they keep several plants in different rooms of their home. Other than being cold hardy, pawpaws are drought tolerant and require little water or fertilizer. They tolerate temperatures from -20°F (-4°C) to 140°F (60°C).
The leaves of pawpaw trees are very succulent looking. These leaves are usually dark green with white stripes running through them. The stem of a pawpaw tree is thick and sturdy. The bark of a pawpaw tree is smooth and light brown in color. Most species grow up to 30 feet tall, but some varieties reach up to 60 feet high!
Pawpaw trees are usually propagated through seeds or cuttings. Their seeds are often difficult to germinate and take a lot of time before they begin to grow. However, taking cuttings is the best way to get new plants quickly. Cuttings should be taken in spring or fall. They should be placed in damp rooting media until they begin to develop roots.
Before placing the cuttings in their permanent containers, it is critical to harden them off by placing them outside during the day and bringing them inside at night.
Pawpaw trees grow naturally in rich, fertile soil. It is best to plant pawpaw trees in soil that has been improved with organic matter. However, they can adapt to poor soil as well.
The most important part of soil preparation is drainage. Pawpaw trees cannot be watered regularly. They should only be watered enough to keep them from wilting. If the soil is not well drained, the roots may rot.
The second most important part of soil preparation is acidity. The soil where pawpaw trees are planted should have a pH between 5 and 7.
Soil mixtures containing peat moss or pine bark make good soil amendments for pawpaw trees. These can be purchased at most garden centers. Soil mixtures containing vermiculite or perlite are also good. These ingredients help to improve the water drainage. Some gardeners prefer to use only sand as their soil mixture.
This should only be done if mixed with peat moss, as pure sand will not retain water well enough.
After the soil has been prepared, it should be removed from its container and carved into hills. Hills should be shaped like bowls and several inches high. This will help to prevent water from running straight through the soil. The soil should be firmed before planting.
Pawpaw trees can be planted at any time during the spring or summer months. However, they should not be planted in the fall, as they require time to acclimate before winter comes. They are best planted directly into the ground, but can also be started in small pots or containers and transplanted later.
Pawpaws are not as picky about their spacing. It is best to plant them 18 to 30 feet apart. However, if the trees are close together, they will provide more shade for each other and keep each other healthier.
After the pawpaw trees have been planted, water can be added to the area. Do not over-water. The tree will soak up all the water it needs from the soil within a few weeks. Add just enough to keep the soil moist, not wet.
Fertilizer is not necessary for pawpaw trees because of the nutrients provided by deep, well-draining soil. If high amounts of nitrogen are added to the soil, it may cause the leaves to become discolored and large yellow spots to appear. This will not kill the tree, but it may result in a fruitless year. If it is planted in a container, it is best to add fertilizer every few months.
Within two to three years, pawpaw trees should be large enough to produce fruit. If more than one tree is planted, they will not flower or fruit at the same time. All trees of the same gender should be planted within the area so that they can pollinate each other.
Pawpaw trees are not bothered by many insects or diseases. They are also able to tolerate most extreme temperatures. The only main concern with pawpaws is a condition called “iceme paralytic”. This is a condition in which the leaves of the pawpaw turn dark purple or black and appear to be frozen. There is no known cure, and the tree will have to shed its leaves and grow new ones the following season.
Over 50 different types of animals have been known to eat the fruit, including mammals, birds, fish, insects, and even humans. Some common types of mammals that eat the fruit include raccoons, opossums, foxes, squirrels, and black bears. Most types of birds, such as cardinals, woodpeckers, robins, and blue jays also eat pawpaws. Other types of animals such as deer and rabbits will not eat the pawpaw unless nothing else is available.
Pawpaws ripen in late August or early September, and will remain on the tree for two to three weeks after ripening. Each pawpaw will be of edible quality for about one week.
Pawpaws are at their best just before they are fully ripe. At this time the skin will be a dark green and may have some yellow spots. When gently pressed, the pawpaw will give slightly, but not too much. It should not be soft or mushy. The pawpaw is ready to eat if it gives out a sweet custard-like odor.
Some people like pawpaws past this ripe stage, but they do get softer and often taste more like a banana.
Pawpaws are best eaten fresh, or cooked in desserts or breads. However, pawpaw can be canned or frozen for later use. Pawpaws freeze well and can be eaten directly from the freezer or thawed before eating. Canning is also a good way to preserve pawpaws.
It is said that pawpaws were the third most important crop harvested by Native Americans (after corn and beans). They used every part of the plant for food, medicine, tools, clothing, and shelter. Pawpaws were even used as a peace offering between hostile tribes.
Pioneers heading west would often stop at lush valleys filled with pawpaw trees and leave a few behind in remembrance of their journey.
Pawpaws are a very important part of American history. It is hoped that this nutritious fruit will once again grow in popularity along all Midwestern riverbanks and backwoods in the near future.
In this article we discuss also about Growing Pawpaw Trees. The Pawpaw is under attack from numerous forces, but it is hoped that with proper care and knowledge, the Pawpaw will survive to provide for wildlife and people for years to come. It is also hoped that this information will be used to help restore the Pawpaw to some of its former range.
If you have any questions, please post them on our forum !
You can also find other techniques and tips on how to grow pawpaws.
Here is a short list of things that can be done to ensure the survival of the pawpaw:
Plant seeds you harvest from ripe fruit.
Grow them near your home or in your garden.
Grow them in as large of containers as possible.
Share seeds with friends and family.
Remember, everyone can make a difference!
You can grow pawpaws from seed!
Pawpaw trees are insect pollinated, so ensure you have both a male and female to produce fruit. Pawpaws are also not self-fertile, so two different trees are needed. It is always best to plant more than one in order to increase your chances of getting fruit. In addition, male and female trees need to be at least 20 feet away from each other. Different varieties can be planted closer together.
Pawpaws can grow in many types of soil, but they prefer a rich, loamy soil with good drainage. They will not tolerate water standing around their roots. They also prefer acidic soil. You can add crushed limestone or wood ashes to the soil before planting.
If you live in an area that gets spring frost, plant pawpaws in a sheltered location and keep them well watered until they are well established (at least 3 years).
Pawpaws like full sun, but will grow in partial shade (especially afternoon shade).
Pawpaws do not do well when transplanted, so it is best to plant them while they are still small. They can be container grown or direct seeded. Container grown plants are fine to plant out directly in the ground. If you decide to sow the seeds, just be sure to plant them as soon as possible and keep the seedbed moist (sprinkle it with water daily).
Pawpaws can also be germinated in a damp paper towel in a sealed plastic bag. Check the towel daily for cracking of the shell. Once it appears, place the pawpaw in some soil and keep it moist until it is able to survive on its own.
Sources & references used in this article:
The pawpaw regional variety trial by KW Pomper, DR Layne, RN Peterson – Perspectives on new crops …, 1999 – hort.purdue.edu
Incident irradiance and cupric hydroxide container treatment effects on early growth and development of container-grown pawpaw seedlings by KW Pomper, DR Layne, SC Jones – Journal of the American …, 2002 – journals.ashs.org
Papaya (Carica papaya L.) biology and biotechnology by JAT Silva, Z Rashid, DT Nhut, D Sivakumar… – Tree and Forestry …, 2007 – library.wur.nl
The pawpaw regional variety trial: background and early data by KW Pomper, DR Layne, RN Peterson, D Wolfe – HortTechnology, 2003 – journals.ashs.org