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Paw Paw guild

drew grim


Joined: Oct 27, 2012
Posts: 49
Location: pleasant garden, nc (zone 7A)
Does anyone have experience growing paw paw trees in zone 7? any suggestions for a guild for them?
Dennis Mitchell


Joined: Sep 28, 2011
Posts: 48
I know pollination is an issue. Bees don't pollinate them. I guess a fly does the pollination. I'd be interested in any plant that would help pollination. I've also read they like shade for the first few years so maybe a plant that would shade.
Amedean Messan
pollinator

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 871
Location: Burlington, NC, USA - Woodland, Clay - Zone 7
    
  28
There are two flies that I know of which pollinate pawpaw: the carrion fly (left) and the dung fly (right).



Sadly pawpaw does not attract bees to pollinate the flowers. I have heard of a person who would hang rotting meat on the limbs of the trees to attract flies but I do not know how successful he was. I hypothesized on merits of using animals like cattle who and heavy eaters to attract flies in possible pawpaw orchards but again I have not heard of any cases which employed these techniques.



The other route is to plant foul smelling flowers the attract these flies looking for decomposing material. Voodoo Lily comes to mind. You have to be sure that the plants bloom at the same time as the pawpaw tree.


Those who hammer their swords into plows will plow for those who don't!
Dennis Mitchell


Joined: Sep 28, 2011
Posts: 48
Being in the heart of dairy land, I have no shortage of flies. 1000's and 1000's of the little beasts. Unfortunately they are not dung or carrion flies. Guess I'll find out here in a few years if the tiny little twigs I planted survive the winter.
Bryan Mets


Joined: Oct 31, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: SE Michigan, 6a
I'm working on developing a pawpaw guild myself right now in zone 6a. From my understanding they grow best in partial shade when young but produce best in full sun once mature. it's my 1st guild and first year so I wouldn't mind suggestions either.

The plants in the guild so far are

2 pawpaws (for pollination)
1 red currant
1 gooseberry
comfrey
daffodils
coral bell
sweet woodruff
kale
cleavers
garlic (this is a temporary item, I'm making use of this being early stage as there is a decent bit of sun in the area still)
morel mushrooms (not sure if they'll take - I mixed quite a bit of ash into the sheet mulch but only time will tell. This is one of my higher likelihood of failure experiments)
raspberries (planted slightly further out)

I plan on having the ground cover a mix of leafy greens. I'm going to add more fruit bushes as well.
One of my weaknesses is knowledge of perennial plants, so I'm mostly trying different things and seeing what works.

You can see more at my blog sumacsemantics.blogspot.com, but I'm not sure it is very helpful to you as I am just learning as well.
Maybe it will help facilitate some more discussion about what might work and what may not. My thought right now is that this is a sort of guild
one designs out of curiosity but the pawpaw itself is not all that practical as a food source.
Steve Flanagan
volunteer

Joined: May 06, 2012
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
    
    8
From what I read Pawpaws are not effected by walnut. You could always butt up your pawpaw guild next to your walnut guild, or just add pawpaw to your walnut guild.
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 397
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
    
  13


I grow pawpaws here in west pa, zone 5a
I have some growing just as a "patch" of just various size trees
I also have them growing in "food forest beds with berries, flowers, herbs, etc
they do not mind their head in the sun as long as their roots are in the forest
i mulch heavily with leaves, sticks, twigs, wood chips, etc to give them forest soil conditions
I tend to keep them the canopy layer here as sunshine here in cloudy pa can be the limiting factor

a good website about pawpaw growing is
http://www.integrationacres.com/story.html
Alex Brands


Joined: Jul 25, 2011
Posts: 53
Bryan Mets wrote:My thought right now is that this is a sort of guild
one designs out of curiosity but the pawpaw itself is not all that practical as a food source.


Why do you say that? The named varieties can be quite productive. The short shelf life is a downside, but the pulp can be frozen for use in baking and in smoothies. Fruit that are just starting to soften can be kept in the fridge for a couple weeks. With a couple varieties that ripen at different times, you can have fruit for a couple months.

I have only seen a couple wild stands, and the only herbaceous plant in the vicinity I recall was mayapple.

Since they are pest free, insectary plants for attracting parasitic wasps et al are probably not as high a priority in a paw paw guild as they would be for other fruit trees, unless you can come up with something that attracts the flies that pollinate pawpaw flowers. They can be slow to get going, and can take several years to reach fruiting size, but respond well to nitrogen, so N-fixers should be a priority. Pawpaws want to grow a deep branching tap root, so if your soil is dense, add plants that are good at breaking up soil.

Alex
Bryan Mets


Joined: Oct 31, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: SE Michigan, 6a
Why do you say that? The named varieties can be quite productive. The short shelf life is a downside, but the pulp can be frozen for use in baking and in smoothies. Fruit that are just starting to soften can be kept in the fridge for a couple weeks. With a couple varieties that ripen at different times, you can have fruit for a couple months.

I have only seen a couple wild stands, and the only herbaceous plant in the vicinity I recall was mayapple.

Since they are pest free, insectary plants for attracting parasitic wasps et al are probably not as high a priority in a paw paw guild as they would be for other fruit trees, unless you can come up with something that attracts the flies that pollinate pawpaw flowers. They can be slow to get going, and can take several years to reach fruiting size, but respond well to nitrogen, so N-fixers should be a priority. Pawpaws want to grow a deep branching tap root, so if your soil is dense, add plants that are good at breaking up soil.



As I said, I'm learning so it was just a thought. What I mean more is that I wouldn't design it as a staple crop. At least in my zone.
My only experience though is with wild paw paws and the yields in the strands around here (southeast Michigan) are not very good.
Maybe specific cultivars could increase that but I do not see it becoming a large portion of a diet
To me it would make more sense to use the pawpaws a part of a guild designed around another plant/plants, or after you already have other perennial food systems in place.

Thank you for your tips; they've definitely got me thinking a little more. I'm going to have to go back to the wild strands with a camera in spring and take records of the other plants in the areas.

I like permaculture, it makes me feel stupid in a very good way.
Steve Flanagan
volunteer

Joined: May 06, 2012
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
    
    8
Here are some articles on the nutritional value of Pawpaws:

http://www.petersonpawpaws.com/Facts.php
http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/cooking.htm
 
 
subject: Paw Paw guild
 
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