When to Plant Paw Paw Tree or Holly

edlincoln(6A)March 6, 2013

When I go down to visit my parents I like to have a little project to keep me occupied.

I plan on planting two Paw Paw Trees, an American Holly, and an English Holly.

Should I plant them when I visit for Easter (March 30) or Mother's Day (May 22?)

The Holly are tiny potted trees. I haven't received the Paw Paw yet, but I think one is a seedling and one is in a quart pot.

My parents live in Massachusetts (Zone 6) on the coast in an area with acidic soil that is a mix of clay and sand.

This post was edited by edlincoln on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 14:15

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I'd plant them during your March visit. Late May is too late for the trees to start becoming established before having to face the hot stressful summer months. You could plant them during the later visit, but it would require much more/better aftercare. Also, someone would have to baby them, in pots, until they were eventually planted.

Take time to carefully review the link below. It has a lot of good info that I think you may find helpful. The only thing that I can think of that's not really directly covered in the link is detail about preparing your pawpaw root system for planting. If you receive pot-grown pawpaws (or really, even no matter how you get them, for that matter), be sure not to leave a j-rooted taproot. Pawpaws are much more sensitive to having their taproot cut than almost any other commonly grown tree I can think of, but it's still important to address potential root problems at planting. If your pawpaw was air root-pruned, you might not have as much of a problem to deal with. If you have to chop the end off of the taproot, which is likely, do it with a good sharp clean knife. Cut just above any kinks/bends in the root. Cutting smaller diameter roots, where possible, is preferable to cutting larger ones. So, for instance, if you had to cut a root near a split, it might be better to cut off the roots after the split than to cut off the root before the split (of course this is almost more theory than practicality, because you don't always have that much choice of where to cut, in real-life).

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting a Tree or Shrub

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 7:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I assume that March 30th on the Massachusetts coast is still well before the last frost date?

As long as your trees have not broken bud yet, plant at Easter. If they are (or will be) in growth by Easter, protect them from frost and wait until May to plant. A May planting will require more summer irrigation but on the New England coast, I don't imagine the summers are too hot and stressful.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 9:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

if the paw paw is dormant.. go for it..

but if it comes from a warmer clime.. and is leafed out.. it might need frost/freeze protection ...

since they are small.. take along a couple boxes.. and tell ma to cover them.. if frost/freeze is predicted ... and to remove the boxes when the temps climb late the next morning ...

the others.. if mail ordered.. should be properly hardened off at your place.. so they are ready to go outside ...


    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 9:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Hmmm...well Smivies post got at least one more of my brain cells turned on. Massachusetts does have a fairly broad range of climate (much more so than I would have guessed for such a small state). Some areas, especially in the northern and western parts of the state, stay cold for much longer than I imagined. I should have looked before posting, but was lazy (or enough brain cells weren't firing).

Pawpaws have fleshy roots that tend to rot if planted and left dormant for long. That's why you'll always see advise against planting pawpaws in fall or winter (unlike many other types of trees). Even though Smivies seems to have caught my off-timing issue, I'm not sure the instructions on when to plant were stated as meant. If the pawpaws had broken bud at Easter, then you should plant them then; they would have already began their growth. It's if they haven't that you might wait until your May visit. Another way of addressing timing would be to consider where in the state your parents live and plan that way. If they live in the eastern part of the state or around Springfield, plant during your first visit. If they live in one of the colder areas, you might be better off to wait until that second visit. Your goal should be to avoid letting the fleshy roots lie dormant in wet soil for an extended period of time but to also get them in the ground in time for them to become somewhat established before hot weather.

See the map linked below. The last frost date isn't what determines root survivability, but it will (in the case of fleshy-rooted plants) give you an idea of when it's too cold for the necessary growth to occur.

Here is a link that might be useful: Massachusetts Last-frost-date Map

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 12:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Other way around Brandon....if buds have broken, don't plant at Easter unless prepared to protect from frost/freeze. Otherwise, Easter is ideal.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In response to some of the questions...

My parents live near the coast in an area where last frost is between April 11 and 21. We've been getting a lot of winter rain and snow lately.

The Holly (leftover from Christmas) is currently living in a glassed in porch that has become an unheated greenhouse...but doesn't actually go below freezing. That's likely where the Paw Paw will live until I plant them. Realistically stuff left there gets watered sporadically.

What is a "J routed taproot"?

This post was edited by edlincoln on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 14:20

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"Other way around Brandon....if buds have broken, don't plant at Easter unless prepared to protect from frost/freeze."

Oh, I see (another brain cell lights up), you are thinking that the tree would have broken dormancy prematurely. We don't know where Edlincoln lives (which is something Edlincoln should probably fix in his member profile) or when and where the tree is coming from. I would recommend addressing the issue to start with by taking this into consideration during purchase arrangements. It sounds like the glassed in porch would not be the best place for the pawpaw. Pawpaws are very cold hardy, with most cultivars able to withstand zone 5.

"What is a J(-rooted) taproot?"

When a root is grown in a container and hits the bottom, or hits an obstacle when grown in the ground, the root will grow by defecting away from the barrier and will have a kink or j-shape instead of it's normally rather straight path. This tends to stunt growth and lead to a poorly formed root system.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

brandon7, I'm also in Massachusetts, but the Paw Paw is coming by UPS from Virginia. (I try to buy plants that are grown locally, but usually the only sources I can find for unusual plants are in the South.)

The glassed-in porch is the best place I have access to for temporary storage of the Paw Paw if I don't plant it immediately. (I don't have space for it in my apartment and outdoor locations at my parent's place it runs the risk of getting forgotten or accidentally thrown away...)

My ultimate goal is to plant some Paw Paws in the shade of some dying pine trees. While the pine trees are alive the Paw Paws should survive the shade and maybe provide some undergrowth as a privacy screen, when the pine trees die the Paw Paw should replace them...and we'll have fruit as a neat bonus. I could put them in the mulched area around the tree or in some abandoned flower beds with excellent soil but no shade. Since I don't live there, they will get minimal maintenance/care. (My strategy is to buy plants cheap, plant and pray...a strategy that has worked well with Holly in the past but not much else.)

This post was edited by edlincoln on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 17:57

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"...at my parent's place it runs the risk of getting forgotten or accidentally thrown away..."

Yikes! That doesn't sound promising for good aftercare. They will need some attention (proper watering) until they start becoming established, especially if planted later in the season.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For the record, the English Holly is doing fine. It's hard to know if a deciduous tree is alive in the winter, but the bare-root paw paw had leaves in August. The potted paw paw fell victim to either rabbits or lawn mower people, and the American Holly was stored on my parent's porch for a while and died from lack of water. I planted a couple more American Holly just a couple months ago.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 6:44PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best thorny shrub to plant in front of window?
I am looking to plant a thorny shrub in front of my...
Ryan Kelley
Want to make a VERY small boxwood hedge/garden border
Really love the very small boxwood hedge/borders that...
Loropetalum issue
Hi- I'm posting again about another shrub at our new...
Illicium simonsii - anyone have experience with it?
I just came across Illicium simonsii at a local nursery...
Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA
Sponsored Products
Cactus Round Up Kit
$8.99 | zulily
Up on a Wooden Pedestal
| Dot & Bo
Room Magic Zoo 4 U Window Valance - RM14-ZU
$36.99 | Hayneedle
Green Small Bucket Planter/Vase
$9.99 | zulily
Uttermost Wren Round Garden White Iron and Marble Accent Table - 24292
$433.40 | Hayneedle
Jaipur Coastal Living Wave Hello Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug - RUG117540
$66.24 | Hayneedle
Vineyard Cast Iron Hanging Plant Bracket - Black Powdercoat
Signature Hardware
Small Tulip Check Travel Pouch
$32.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™