Midwest Permaculture

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Does anyone have experience with paw paw trees? What types of conditions do paw paws like best? Would other species do they like to grow around?

I have a small maturing oak/maple "forest" on my property (tree guy from the tree service company's description, he also told me to buy a chainsaw for the boxelder trees). I was wondering if a couple paw paw trees would do well at the southern edge of a small stand of oaks that has had a substantial amount of the scrub taken out.

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I'm growing a few. I found that they need some partial shade in the first year, either natural or artificial. I used a section of plastic snow fence that I staked up around them. I planted two from Peterson Pawpaws a few years ago, and I added a third this spring from Oikos Tree Crops. I had planted a few more earlier, but I lost them because I didn't know to protect them from the sun. I had flowers on the two Peterson trees last year but they were killed by a late frost; I'm hoping for some fruit this year. There is a huge amount of information at the Peterson Pawpaws website here: http://www.petersonpawpaws.com/CulturalAdvice.php

Thanks Bryan! I will look up the link. 

I have a sad story to tell on this subject. I had a grand idea to interplant a bunch of paw paws in the young woods above my home. I bought a bag of 100 starts (rooted twigs) from the Kentucky state dept. of Agro forestry. (They actually run their own state nurseries.) They shipped in a plastic lined paper bag. (I also bought 100 persimmons...)
 I planted them all over, with care even, using a mycocellial inoculation on the roots. I am pretty sure they all died. Can't find any live ones, even two years later...
I came to the conclusion that if I were to do this over, I would have planted them in a nursery situation, with protection over the winter while they were so young, and then transplanted again in a few years when they were of a sturdy age.
Maybe one of the more experienced members (Bryce, Bill ?) can tell me where I went wrong on this, but it was a very disappointing waste of a lot of time and money...

About 12 years ago we started growing paw paws and persimmons. We purchased bare root stock of 3 of each from Musser and after 2 years had only one paw paw left. We repurchased 10 persimmons and three paw paws from a different nursery in Nebraska and after another year had a total of three paw paws and still only one persimmon. At this point rather than give up I purchased seeds of persimmon from Horizon Herbs. They germinated quickly in pots and were set out in the pots when the weather warmed. For winter we set the pots in the ground so they would get covered by leaves and snow. The following year we pulled out the pots and again set them in a shaded area near the compost heap. In autumn we carefully removed the trees from the pots and transplanted the young trees into the ground. All seeds had germinated and all but one transplanted. The one that was not I had accidentally broken. 5 years later the trees from seed are about 5 feet tall , well branched , and will catch up with the other tree within two more years. We are also trying to germinate Lotus persimmons which are hardy here hopefully but so far no germination after two months.

   Paw paw seed is also available from Horizon. Last year one of our paw paws did bear fruit. We saved the seeds of a fully ripened fruit and planted them in pots in the unheated greenhouse last November. So far no germination but we are hopeful. The trick with these plants is to get them into the ground with as little shock as possible. That is not possible apparently for even the small transplants bare rooted as the success rate is miserable. Some nurseries will sell potted small plants of paw paws and persimmons. Tap rooted trees even when small have a low success rate for the average grower. Start from seeds and the results will be better. The only problem there is that you will be unable to grow a named cultivar grafted on a rootstock but will be growing wild seedlings or self rooted unnamed cultivars from the seeds of named varieties.

Thanks Bryce. I haven't ordered anything. I will try to get some seeds and experiment.

I picked up four paw paws from Forrest Keeling Nursery  (fknursery.com), two grafted and two native.   I made the mistake of putting into almost full sun but they survived the first year after dropping all their leaves and going dormant.   Its now been three years and all but one is doing fine.   The one died off on top but resprouted from the roots and is still growing back.   I have given them no special treatment, just normal rainfall on their own.


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