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When to transplant sad seed tray pawpaws?

 
pollinator
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These are one-year seedlings in a seed tray. They are stressed and their leaves discolored, unlike those that were transplanted several months ago. I know that pawpAws have sensitive root structures that don't like being transplanted, so my question is what would be most stressful for these little trees: leaving them in the trays, or transplanting them now?

Sure, trees should be transplanted in early winter when dormant, but I am worried these won't make it until then... And since 80% of root development takes place in fall, wouldn't it be better to transplant these before winter?
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pioneer
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I'm not sure about transplanting, but are those paw paws in shade?  They look like they may be sunburned to me.
 
Fredy Perlman
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Hi Trace, that is a good point. They are in partial shade, but probably still getting too much sun, because they look like the schisandra vines I have growing out in too sunny an area. figuring out how much sun constitutes full sun is still confusing me. at the height of summer these probably got five hours of full sun a day.

poor lil ones. Now I have to ask what can be done for sunburned plants ? Aloe? :P
 
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If those were my pawpaw seedlings I would transplant them asap so they can stretch their legs and get those roots heading outward.
 
Trace Oswald
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Fredy, I would just move them into the shade.  I have burned paw paws and the new leaves came in fine.  Aloe can't hurt :)

I don't know much about transplanting paw paws.  I have one in a container and I heard they are pretty hard to do and that they have to be moved while dormant, but James probably has more experience with this than I do.  I'm going to wait and move mine when it is dormant, but mine is still tiny and is in a big pot.
 
Fredy Perlman
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Thanks all. I am inclined to transplant them because they are young and in my experience young trees (like young...everything) recover quickly. Even putting them in rotted sawdust, as I usually store trees, is probably better than keeping them pigeonholed in seed trays any more. I'll put some in sawdust, some in tube pots (the long thin ones that encourage taproot development), some in soil in regular pots...but not leave any in the seed tray.
 
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