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Protecting pawpaws from birds and squirrels and pruning.

 
Posts: 1
Location: Milwaukee, United States
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Hi Michael!
I  have two pawpaws in my very urban plot in southeastern Wisconsin.  I planted them about ten years ago and for the last couple of years, they've had a ton of baby fruit in the spring that disappears before it grows into actual pawpaws.  At first I thought it was the squirrels, so this year I netted the trees, but still had problems because I think the birds were getting the small fruit.  I'd like to have more netting coverage, but that means I'm going to have to prune the tree so I can fit the netting around it.  Will pawpaws fruit on new growth and how much pruning can they take?  I live in the city, so I like little fruit trees (i have a triple-grafted apple, a cherry and two hazelnuts).  I have a neighbor about three blocks away who does not have any problem with birds and squirrels in her pawpaws, so I'm wondering what I can do to get more fruit for myself and less for the critters.
 
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Location: Frederick, Maryland
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Susan Nusser wrote:Hi Michael!
I  have two pawpaws in my very urban plot in southeastern Wisconsin.  I planted them about ten years ago and for the last couple of years, they've had a ton of baby fruit in the spring that disappears before it grows into actual pawpaws.  At first I thought it was the squirrels, so this year I netted the trees, but still had problems because I think the birds were getting the small fruit.  I'd like to have more netting coverage, but that means I'm going to have to prune the tree so I can fit the netting around it.  Will pawpaws fruit on new growth and how much pruning can they take?  I live in the city, so I like little fruit trees (i have a triple-grafted apple, a cherry and two hazelnuts).  I have a neighbor about three blocks away who does not have any problem with birds and squirrels in her pawpaws, so I'm wondering what I can do to get more fruit for myself and less for the critters.



Pawpaws generally respond well to intense pruning. I like to keep my trees at 8-10’ tall and laterals 3-4’ in length for many reasons I expound on in the book but one is that fruiting occurs on 1 year old wood. The pruning encourages lots of 1 year old wood and keeps the tree invigorated - potentially extending its productive life.  This can be in your favor should you decide to net.

Early fruit drop can also be a tree’s defense if it does not have adequate nutrition..
 
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