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Found paw paw tree-now what?

Posted by thecityman 7a/6b (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 1:53

I'm so excited...after months of asking practically every human I come into contact with for more than 2 minutes if they know of any pawpaw trees, I finally ask a 82 year old man who casually says "yea, I've got 2-3 out in the woods behind my house but animals always get the darn fruit"!!!
He also says he would allow me to get a cutting. So I walk off feeling all giddy, until I get home and start researching the best way to propagate a new pawpaw tree from an old one. I know, should have looked into that BEFORE searching the local countryside for a tree. Anyway, from what I've read so far, air layering, mound layering or other methods are said to not work, and I haven't seen anything that does except maybe seeds which will take until fall and is very unlikely then.

So you know why I am here: Can anyone tell me how- if any way- I can root a cutting or cut scion and graft to something else or ANY WAY THAT I CAN USE MY NEW FOUND TREE TO CREATE A NEW TREE AT MY HOUSE???? Also, I'm an inexperienced fruit tree hobbyist so keep that in mind before recommending some kind of really hard, complicated process. If it just isn't possible, let me know that too. Thanks all.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

TCM.

The best way for you is to find some root suckers from the 3 trees and dig up as much roots as you can while the tree is still in dormant stage and plant it at your place.

Tony


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

thanks, Tonytran. Hate to sound like an idiot, but how do I find the root suckers? I think root suckers result in very small tree-looking growths growing out of the ground at the base of the tree? Are you suggesting that I dig one of these-if there are some- up and cut them away from the tree with as much root as possible? If not, do I just dig down and try to find some suckers? I know this is dumb question but I'm new to all this. Thanks.


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

I think Pawpaw will spread out their roots a distance from the mother plant.Hence the lyrics in the song about the Pawpaw patch.Possibly look for these smaller shoots or plants in the vicinity of the main tree(s).Remember though,that these most likely will not pollinate each other and finding another patch a good distance away to collect more will improve your chances.
If they get fruit like the old guy said,then there are two different varieties in that area.
Yes,get as much root as possible. Brady


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

Thanks Bradybb. I, too, thought it was a good sign that the property owner said his trees make fruit every year, even though animals get them. I was thinking maybe I will try to net or bag some this year so I can taste them and see if they are good enough to try and recreate. I also appreciate the reminder about needing 2 varieties to get fruit! I hadn't thought of that. The good news is that I have a susquana and a Shenandoah on order from a nursery. I hope they will help pollinate the wild one if I'm able to move it???? thanks.


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

Yeah, try and find a sucker growing from the known trees and take that.

If you can't find any suckers, I'd take a look around the nearby wooded areas to see if there are any other ones growing that your friend might not know about. If the animals are eating the fruit, they seeds will most likely be coming out the other end and there may be some smaller trees in the area that you could take.

If not, bag a fruit and use the seeds, but research it, because I recall them needing a long and fairly specific cold stratification period before being ready for planting.

Also, they are slow growing until they reach a certain maturity. So, if you go seed route, you're probably 6 years from getting any fruit. You can buy them online for like $20 and all things considered, this might be your best option, because most will be a couple years old already. It makes economic sense, too, (3 years of water and fertilzer and care is probably less than the $20 you'd spend to get a 3 year old tree).


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

lawanddisorder- thanks. You made some incredibly good points. Afterall, I only paid $25 for the 2 Peterson paw paws I ordered (which I suspect will be far superior to the wild ones) and are said to be 4-5 feet tall already, so no doubt they will put me way ahead. And 6 years seems forever to wait for fruit that may/may not work or may not be any good to eat. But for reasons I can't explain, I just love the idea of finding my own tree in woods just a mile from my house and turning it into a producing fruit tree. Feels a little like rescuing an endangered species (though I know its not!). So, I'll keep my order for the 2 petersons and also try to dig up a wild one or two. Thanks.


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

I hear ya. I've actually read a few threads on here from people saying the wild paw paws they found in the forest are better tasting and overall better than some of the named varieties they ordered, so maybe you'll find something exciting. Good luck!


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

There are probably seedlings scattered about his big trees, though it will take a sharp eye to find them. You have a good chance of transplanting young seedlings if you move them in the Spring.

Look closely at the terminal leaf buds on his trees so you can recognize the morphology. Now look around on the ground for small seedlings that show a similar terminal leaf bud shape. If you think you found one, look at or just below the surface where the seedling is coming out of the ground, and there is a good chance you will find the remnants of the seed...they are quite large and distinctive in appearance. First year seedlings will probably be 6 inches tall at most. Alternatively, take a good close up picture of the candidate seedling(s) and post here.

Alex


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

Speaking for myself I would try it before I went to the trouble of trying to propagate it. Some are OK and some are really OK and some are Great!


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

As always, thanks for the help. I really learned a lot from Alexander3 in terms of how to identify a seedling before it leafs out (via terminals buds), so that's great. KYyada, you are right....they may not be worth fooling with since no one has ever tasted them according to the old man who has owned the property for 50 years. But as Lawanddisorder stated above, I have that small hope that I will hit the jackpot and discover some incredible regional variation pawpaw that I can share with the world...though I know the odds are way, way against that. But I've got plenty of room in my small "orchard" so I figure I'll be a year closer to fruit if I go ahead and transfer one now, and if the fruit is terrible this fall, I can always cut it down (as hard as it is for me to cut down a tree!). I'll keep you all posted.


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

Or,it could be grown and used as a rootstock to graft other desirable varieties onto.England's Nursery has numerous scions available. Brady


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RE: Found paw paw tree-now what?

I just wanted to update this thread in case someone finds it on a search and wonders about transplanting pawpaws. I ended up digging up 4 wild pawpaws and moving them to my property. Two were just about 18-20 inches tall, one was about 3 feet, and one was about 4.5 feet tall. I dug HUGE root balls up with them...approximately 30 inch x 24 inch. In spite of this, all 4 trees had roots beyond that area and a very large tap root going straight down under the tree. Even the small ones had a tap root as big or bigger than the diameter of the tree itself. The big ones had about 3/4 inch or bigger tap root. There were also large roots running perpendicular to the trees about 12 inches below soil line. So in spite of my very large root balls, I still had to cut large tap roots and large horizontal roots, so I had little hope of survival. The trees were all dormant when I dug them up. I wrapped root balls in heavy duty plastic for travel. In my orchard I dug very large holes and mixed the topsoil about 1/2 and 1/2 with 1 year old wood mulch that was pretty well broken down. I used this top soil/composted mulch mixture under, around, and on top of the large root ball of soil I dug up with the trees. Guess what? It has been almost 5 weeks since I moved the pawpaws, and in spite of all the root cutting I had to do, they ALL ARE ALIVE AND WELL! Even the 4.5 foot tall one, which I had almost no hope for. All 4 trees have now leafed out and have more leaves coming every day. Of course its too early to know if they will make it long term, but it has to be a good sign that they have leaved out and continue to grow-all after being moved. Thanks to all of you for your help and suggestions. Hopefully they will produce good fruit-I'll be going back to the patch this fall to (hopefully) try fruit from others in the patch these came from. If its good I'm a year ahead of the game, if not, I can either dig them up or-as Bradybb suggested, use them to graft onto. I have 2 Peterson's due any day now, so maybe one day I'll create something worth sharing! :)


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