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paw paw hardiness

mk7290 Hatfield


Joined: Apr 29, 2010
Posts: 1
I know native is not the prime motivation when picking plants, however, I would like to know whether anyone knows if paw-paw trees grow well in Wisconsin.  I am about 20 miles from Lake Michigan and it looks as if I am on the edge of the hardiness zone.  I have prairie planted for grazing horses and would like to do at least partial natives in my forest garden.  Still in the planning stages.  Also, any suggestions for permaculture planners around Waukesha, WI?
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    4
I have honestly never been to Wisconsin, but I know that Jung seeds offers Canadian strains of PawPaw that are supposed to be more cold hardy.
Oblio13 McCoy


Joined: May 03, 2010
Posts: 34
The paw paws I've planted here central New Hampshire are thriving. We have a good micro-climate (southern exposure fronting on a lake), but we're in zone 5A.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
mk7290 wrote:
I know native is not the prime motivation when picking plants, however, I would like to know whether anyone knows if paw-paw trees grow well in Wisconsin.  I am about 20 miles from Lake Michigan and it looks as if I am on the edge of the hardiness zone.  I have prairie planted for grazing horses and would like to do at least partial natives in my forest garden.  Still in the planning stages.  Also, any suggestions for permaculture planners around Waukesha, WI?


We picked up two Paw Paws today from our local native plant nursery.  The nursery carries plants and trees from American Beauties native Plants, www.abnativeplants.com  Their hardiness is listed as Zones 5-9.  We are 5-6, so they should grow well here. 

We only recently got interested in permaculture, having been inspired by Gaia's Garden, and are using native edible plants exclusively for our erosion control on our slope and its bottom area.  We have what might be a very good microclimate for the Paw Paw, so we are hopeful.  The area we are dealing with is forest edge.

Good luck in your forest garden planning and planting.
                        


Joined: Jan 28, 2010
Posts: 175
I am in Zone 8 Alabama and Ive tried to start paw paws several times without success.  I don't think hardiness was the issue though.  They like to start as understory (shade) plants and then grow through to the sun.  Mine were either getting too much shade or too much sun.  Some people suggest making a little tent to grow them in for the first few years until they are established.  Good luck - these are great trees and the fruits taste wonderful.

I don't see why native would not be a high priority in selecting plants for a food forest.  Most native fruits are under-used.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
in Michigan i've tried them from seedlings and from seeds so far no luck.


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Zone 5
So far no luck here either on the seeds.  I hope maybe there is a seedling in my peonies.  That would be shade to grow up through.  My seeds in pots have not come up yet. 
                        


Joined: Jan 28, 2010
Posts: 175
http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/pawpaw.html

Here's some information.  You might be able to find cuttings from a National Germplasm source.
bunkie weir


Joined: Nov 05, 2009
Posts: 108
Location: eastern washington
    
    1
we purchased two paw paw seedlings (bare rooted) from R.H.Shumway, and they're doing nicely in pots in our unheated greenhouse at the moment.
Richard Kastanie


Joined: May 26, 2010
Posts: 60
Location: Missouri Ozarks
    
    1
I have family in Southern Minnesota, (zone 4, an hour south of the Twin Cities) that have planted several pawpaws over the last seven or so years, and a good deal have survived, although they were all seedling ones. All the grafted ones they tried died, although some sprouted back from the rootstock. I saw the largest one they had over last winter and it was almost 6 ft tall, looking healthy, the question is whether they will have a long enough summer to ripen their fruit, since they haven't fruited yet they don't know. They probably will some years but not others.

The one thing they do have is a little tip dieback every winter and since it doesn't seem to matter whether it was a cold or warm winter, I think it's from the fall rather than the winter. Down where I am in Missouri, the pawpaws we have their leaves turn yellow and go dormant like they should, but up in MN they stay green like summer right until the first freeze which blackens them, so I think they don't go dormant in time with that short a season. However the growth each year they got has been way more then any dieback on the ones that have done well.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
have recently ordered some other garden stock from two new nurseries, one fairly local and the other in Ohio..so i'll see how their stock arrives (Mich due to deliver today) and if their stock appears to be good quality i might try some paw paws from them this year.

i really hate to continue to buy things that just aren't going to make it here though
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
An update on our Paw Paws.  Our two were planted about eight feet apart on the  basically south facing slope, separated by a small bump, or vertical berm, between them.  The westerly most Paw Paw received more sun than the one to its east and was not fairing well.  Also the eastern one had a small youngblood maple and slight influence from a mature one, as nurse trees.  We moved the western tree to a position about eight feet to the east of the better growing one and within 24 hours you could see the difference.  It is under a fully mature youngblood's canopy and is getting three hours less sunlight than before.  Afternoon light seems to do them well.  I have seen Paw Paws growing on the sides of roads here that I never noticed before and they are all at the edge of the woods.  None seem to be in more than 10 or so feet from that edge and grow up through the understory.  Some appear to be quite large but remain inside the canopy, even those at the very edge.

I believe these are trees needing nurse trees their entire life cycle.  At least in upstate NY zone 6, that is how they appear in the wild.  I would assume the large leaves can gather enough solar energy to survive without being in direct sunlight, and may be to delicate for intense sun unprotected.

Only my observation and opinion, but the 24 revival did give me hope that it is happy where it is now.  Just a 16 foot move put it in the correct microclimate.  We will see how they survive during the winter.

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
i don't know if it is accurate or not but I just read in an old rodale gardening book, that paw paw seeds take 2 years before they sprout..at least mine still might, i planted them last summer.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Brenda,

I wouldn't at all be surprised if they take two years to sprout.  These are primitive looking trees.  Kind of like lost island flora.  Strange, but intriguing.
serj McCoy


Joined: Feb 02, 2010
Posts: 21
Paw Paws will sprout in 1 year as long as you plant the seeds in the fall so they get cold treatment.  They don't sprout until late in the season anywhere from june-august(they send down a good tap root first).  The key is the seeds can not be allowed to dry out.  It actually helps to plant the seeds still in the paw paw instead of by themselves(cut the paw fruit in half and just toss it in a hole).
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
i actually planted both seeds out of and in rotted paw paws..several of them..and they haven't sprouted yet..but i'll give em some time
Trevor Newman


Joined: Jan 28, 2010
Posts: 42
Pawpaw seeds need a 6-8 month stratification. This can be achieved by planting them in the fall in a coldframe or outside, in pots or situ. Or, you can put the seeds in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with some moist peat moss. It is very important to keep the seeds moist- if they dry out they will lose their viability. I have had good success this season with the fridge method, my tray of 38 has had a high germination rate..although it takes a couple months for them to show themselves as they grow a deep taproot before any aboveground growth. Supposedly Pawpaw seedlings prefer partial shade in their adolescent stage- I have not verified this with experience.

If you want a quicker fix then buy a grafted Pawpaw tree. For superior cultivars with larger fruit and more flesh/less seeds, check out the work of Neal Peterson. Happy Pawpaw growing 
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
my trees came today and 4 were "sold out" which of course included the 2 paw paw that I ordered, naturally, the third or fourth time i've tried to plant them and nope..not gonna happen..maybe my seeds will sprout yet someday..they are still in the ground
christhamrin McCoy


Joined: Nov 08, 2010
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
Ever since I heard about Paw Paws I've been wanting to grow them, but I live in MN.  I finally found evidence of someone growing them here:

From Edible Landscaping Online:

Note from a customer in Northfield, MN
"I live in Northfield, Minnesota, and my experience with paw paws is
pretty easily summarized:

1) Grafted cultivars do not do well; they tend to die off or grow
poorly (I've tried Davis, Pennsylvania Golden, NC-1, and others)
2) Specimens grown from seed do just fine, but tend to experience some
winter kill

The problem with seedlings is that there's no way to know if they'll
fruit early enough in Minnesota to be useful. You just have to plant
them, let them grow, and see.

Ditto for the taste. No way to know.

I have no fruiting plants right now (one tree is just getting to the
point where it could bear).

My largest is about six feet tall and has been in the ground for two and
a half years (planted when it was maybe three feet tall).

There's no magic bullet in zone 4. You just have to try things.

I wish I had a half acre I could just plant with these and other
interesting/marginal trees and let nature take its course, but in fact
all I have is a small lot in town.

I am enjoying myself, though."
RG
Ben Falk
Author


Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Posts: 54
Location: Mad River Valley, VT
    
  20
Paw paw along with persimmon are about the only plants we've tried that don't seem to cut it here.
We're in central VT - been zone 4 historically, more like 5 now.  I am not at all sure we've found the most hardy strains though.  Have some from Cornell that I started from seed last year and will transplant this year.  We'll see...
Very edge though.

Whole Systems Design
Mariah Wallener


Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Posts: 144
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
I keep reading about pawpaws in my permaculture books. Anybody know if we can grow them in the pacific northwest? I'm in zone 7-8 ish, I believe.


Permie Newbie. ruralaspirations.wordpress.com
catchthewind McCoy


Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Posts: 27
L8bloomer, I want to try them too. Tropic.ca sells them and they are in Delta, so I may order a couple. I found another Canadian place that sells them too but I think they're in the East. I'm on my iPod so can't remember the website, Henry's maybe?
Ben Falk
Author


Joined: Feb 02, 2011
Posts: 54
Location: Mad River Valley, VT
    
  20
Paw paws grow in many zones 5-7/8 or so, think Appalachia, but you need some real heat to ripen them I would think - pacific northwest in places.  Checkout One Green World nursery for stock in that zone. 
Ben
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 348
    
    2

pawpaws do respond to warm summers. here in west. pa , 2 years ago we had a cool summer(very few days > 90F) and i had fruit still green at the end of  October. this past year we had a warm summer (several days >90F) and all the fruit ripened by the first week of October.

when planting seed  outside in the fall in cold climate one has to be concerned about freezing the seed. this can also do them in. but i have had seed germinate this way
I stratify my seed in the fridge over winter (Oct-March)
stratified pawpaw seed planted in the ground are slow to germinate in cool soil. they usually respond better when soil temp is close to 70F. starting them in pots in a warm place gives them a better chance for northern growers. deep pot 10 in or so, to allow for that taproot.
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
Does anyone have a good source for grafted Pawpaw cultivars? I've been trying to find a few but so far its a very sporatic market.
christhamrin McCoy


Joined: Nov 08, 2010
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
I have come across them in my pawpaw Internet travels.  I can look it up when I'm on my computer.  Btw if you are zone stretching grafted trees are apparently not the way to go.
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 348
    
    2


in my opinion, "named grafted varieties" of pawpaws are over hyped. I bought seedlings from Edible Landscaping, in Virginia 20+ years ago. The fruit is as good or better than some fruit I tasted last year from "Peterson's named varieties" I think seedlings from trees that produce good fruit will produce OK
they not taste exactly the same but will be good.  part of the mystique  of pawpaws is the variation of flavors from tree to tree.
If you want monotonous consistency, plant red delicious apples
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
I'm still working on getting some established here in N Central LP of MI..I have one that lived of the ones I planted and it is super tiny..the seeds I planted have still not grown, but I haven't given up on them as the book said 2 years and it will be 2 years this summer..so I'll wait patiently to see if they come up..

I really would love to have them growing here..but not going to spend more $ on plants.
Brian Bales


Joined: Jan 13, 2011
Posts: 90
I am fine with grafted cultivars, no one turns their nose up at all the other fruit trees that are all grafted cultivars. The "mystique" aside I don't want to wait 10 years to see what grows on the tree. Long term planning is great and a few mistery trees is fun but I dont want to wait that long on a hit or miss proposition.
Papa Shane


Joined: Apr 24, 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Asheville, NC USA
Kentucky State University has done tons of research on Paw Paw. Here's there site:
http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/KSUstory.htm

I like the idea of using a nurse plant to shade them in the first few years. Been thinking something like goumie that you can later copice and will fix nitrogen.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5862
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  88
Nice site.  More pawpaw info there than I have seen elsewhere.
Sabin Howard


Joined: Apr 18, 2011
Posts: 19
Well kind of an old question but someone asked for a source of grafted trees.  http://www.hiddenspringsnursery.com/plants.html Awesome company from East TN.  They have several varieties of Paw Paw and many other rare shrubs and trees.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4432
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    4
ok trying again this year...I got two more baby paw paws, these looked questionnable when they arrived (are guaranteed so we will watch closely)..they appear to be TAP rooted with no real side roots off of the tap root, they got planted and marked well and we are to have rain for just about forever in the forcast so they'll get watered regularly to be established..our ground is about saturated now.

the ones I put in from seed never sprouted and the one that I put in 2 years ago from a tiny little plant is still "alive" ..but still very very very tiny
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 348
    
    2

hi Brenda,

i've been digging up (with my hands) some seedlings to give to some friends. they sprouted from some fruit that ended up in a flower bed. seeds planted may sprout in the second year if the first year was too cool and the second year nice and warm.
roots of pawpaw seedlings start out looking like carrots, one big taproot with a few side shoots. the problems are  the root is easily broken and a lack of root hairs. the root hairs only start forming in the spring when the plant starts growing. that's why transplanting in summer or fall is iffy. any roothairs damaged are not replaced until it starts growing again in the spring.

the seedlings are sometimes slow to show any topgrowth the first few years. the roots are establishing themselves first. a good mulch with decaying leaves and wood to provide fungal friends will aid in their growth
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Does anyone know where you can buy the fruit from? I want to try some before I buy 2 trees, but our local grocery stores don't sell them.


permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5862
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  88
Once picked, pawpaws only last a day or two.  Therefore, most stores do not stock them.  Your best bet would be to try farmer's markets.
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Thanks, that is what I figured. Has anyone here had pawpaws? Any particular variety? Im curious how they taste, and I dont want the nursery definition, I want someone with an unbiased opinion that has experience. They are native to PA, so I know they will do well, but its a hard sell to the wife without tasting them.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 943
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
And my question is, if I had paw paw trees and lots of paw paw fruit, is there any way to preserve the fruit for future use, or is it pretty much a 'fresh-only' proposition?

Kathleen
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 348
    
    2
hi Rob,

i've been growing pawpaws for about 20 years here in west pa (north of Pittsburgh)
pawpaws remind people  like a lot of things banana, mango , mellon, pear, pineapple, but really  taste unique.
each tree (unless grafted) tastes different. the mix of flavors may be more mango (some varieties even use the name) while others favor banana or some other flavor. but they all taste like pawpaw.
Pawpaw are members of the custard apple family. the texture of a pawpaw is custard or pudding like. I tell people "it's banana pudding on a tree" and when they're really ripe, that's a good description.
they ripen like a banana and people may or may not like them depending on degree of ripeness. imagine trying to sell bananas to someone who has never had one and all you had were overripe black bananas.
some people are also turned off by the "pudding like texture" and richness. (who can each a bowl of banana pudding pie filling?)
making things like ice cream, smoothies,pies ,etc allow you to dilute them but still enjoy the flavor.
freezing is the favored way of preserving them,as the pulp freezes well with little loss of flavor. I froze a number of them whole last fall and were giving tastes of them and free seeds to plant at the local Earth Day this past weekend. (about 300 people found about the word "hugelkultur" for the first time also)
I give talks at local fairs promoting pawpaws as the perfect backyard fruit tree, no spraying, little pruning, not bothered by pests, small managable tree for backyards
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 5862
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
  88
AND, since it is an understorey tree, it can prosper in the shade of bigger trees.
 
 
subject: paw paw hardiness
 
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