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Growing PawPaws in Northeast Oklahoma (Zone 7)

 
Posts: 95
Location: NE Oklahoma
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I've had the privilege of eating a pawpaw fruit once and that was enough to know that I want to make it a regular part of the rest of my life.  I have, unfortunately, never seen pawpaw trees growing in the wild here during my foraging forays.  What is the best way to get started growing them (i.e. - seed vs. root-stock) and will they thrive in my area?
 
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Location: Frederick, Maryland
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Vernon Inverness wrote:I've had the privilege of eating a pawpaw fruit once and that was enough to know that I want to make it a regular part of the rest of my life.  I have, unfortunately, never seen pawpaw trees growing in the wild here during my foraging forays.  What is the best way to get started growing them (i.e. - seed vs. root-stock) and will they thrive in my area?



I don’t know a darn thing about northeast Oklahoma but zone 7 sounds promising for paw paws. That seems to be their sweet spot around here. Moisture and wind protection are the variables to design for. The paw paws big leaf evapotransporates moisture quickly so keeping it out of drying winds and consistently moist yet draining sites. If your area is dry you can imitate these needs with grey water basins (see Brad Lancaster’s work) and remember full sun = full fruit.
Seed is ideal because the paw paw grows a tap root very quickly. I germinate paw paw seeds in the spring in 12 inch deep tree pots and try to plant out the same fall. Hard to get purchased seedlings that don’t have compromised roots.
 
Vernon Inverness
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Thank you so much, Michael.  I appreciate the input!
 
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Vernon, according to people in the Oklahoma Native Plant Society group on FB, there are only a couple of counties right hard up against the Arkansas border where pawpaws grow wild in OK.  If I could be more specific, I would be -- but people tend to be vague about the locations of their favorite pawpaw patches.

However, with proper care, they are said to be growable throughout much of the state.  Fair warning; germination from seed is tricky and/or slow; I've currently got my fingers crossed over seeds from a generous Permies member further east.  (I am storing them in peat moss until spring.)

I can report that there is a lovely pawpaw tree in the Cherokee Nation Heirloom Garden in Talequah.  I haven't been there to see it in fruit, but it is a large, healthy, on-the-young-side-of-mature tree.  
 
Vernon Inverness
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Understood, Dan.  I don't tell anyone where I harvest my elderberries even though they grow right out where anyone can see them.  I'm hoping to get some started here.  Best of luck with the seeds you received recently.  I plan to keep my eye open for some <law of attraction and all that ;) >.  Have a great day!
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