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Pawpaw cuttings (heard its usually unsuccessful but I'm stubborn)

 
Jp Learn
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Hi there,
Below are pictures of a few varieties of pawpaws which had cuttings taken from them. I've read that rooting hardwood cuttings from pawpaw are generally a very poor means of propagation. But, then again, usually unsuccessful and never are not the same and I had some time, and figured why not give it a go - considering they are 4 really nice tasting varieties.

I popped off what I thought were the flower buds on the cuttings and transplanted them into a good soil after treating them with rooting hormone. From the pictures below, can anyone share anything that else that I might do to give these guys a better chance? Any big errors I made here in technique along the way (aside from the stubbornness)?



Much obliged.
 
Julia Winter
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Did you use rooting hormone powder?

(You can make a rooting hormone solution by cutting willow twigs and putting them in water, I've read.)
 
David Goodman
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I just did a two-part interview on my blog with a gal that grows 6 different species of pawpaws here in Fl. She only grows them from seed, in deep pots to accommodate their tap roots. I asked her about cuttings - no dice. But if you're anything like me, that won't stop you from trying! Hope at least one takes for you. Bottom heat may help.
 
Jp Learn
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Julia - yes, I did.

David, thank you. That's more of what I've read, to be honest. Seems like seeds and/or seedlings, grafted, etc. are the choice for propagation, but as you surmised, I'm at least a bit like you, so going to leave them be, and hopefully something roots!

I'm in an urban area of new york, so pawpaw seeds (that would be fresh and viable) are non-existent locally, unfortunately.

At this point, I was pretty sure my work was done, other than watering them and checking maybe for some root growth in a couple weeks or month or so.

Do you have perspective on whether the cuttings look decent? I was just using my very minimal knowledge of cuttings from other trees and trying to apply it here, so what I thought was good to do was to remove the flower buds. I didn't make a top cut for the cuttings, trimming off the flower buds, I just popped them off of the cutting.

Also, I was pretty sure, but not certain those are vegetative buds at the top of the cuttings and that they could be safely left on without compromising the trees' required energy concentration to (possibly) get some roots growing. Anyone know?
 
David Goodman
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To add extra help in keeping moisture in, I'd put a plastic bag over the top of the pot. I do that with my cuttings and it's definitely increased the strike rate. If you're worried about mold, etc, you could take that cover off and mist them as you think of it, then put it back on. The extra humidity is a lifesaver.

 
Jp Learn
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David Goodman wrote:To add extra help in keeping moisture in, I'd put a plastic bag over the top of the pot. I do that with my cuttings and it's definitely increased the strike rate. If you're worried about mold, etc, you could take that cover off and mist them as you think of it, then put it back on. The extra humidity is a lifesaver.



Thanks David! I've read that and it slipped my mind, most definitely. I am concerned about mold - I've had issues with mold on almost all of my seed starts this year - I'm starting indoors in seedblocks in a basement - 60F degrees temp & 40% humidity, steady, all the time. I have an oscilatting fan but I've found that I've had to water them with a dilution of 10% Hydrogen Peroxide to try and alleviate some of the mold issues.
 
David Goodman
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Yeah... mold can be an issue. You could make two sets of cuttings, cover one and leave the other uncovered.

Another thing: you might take cuttings at different times of the year. I've noticed at some points I get nearly 100% success on some plants... then next time I try, I only get a few - or none.

(Note to self: take better notes.)
 
Jp Learn
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...and so it goes...we shall see what happens!
 
Jp Learn
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Here's some pictures from today - it looks like they make have took to me, from what looks like new leaf-growth at the tops...


 
David Goodman
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Looks promising.

I had mulberries do the same thing once... without producing a single root. Two months they sat, leafed out, then wilted and died.

When figs leaf out, though, it usually means they've taken.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping your pawpaws are more like the latter!
 
Jp Learn
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David Goodman wrote:Looks promising.

I had mulberries do the same thing once... without producing a single root. Two months they sat, leafed out, then wilted and died.

When figs leaf out, though, it usually means they've taken.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping your pawpaws are more like the latter!


Thanks again, David! Had the thought, do you think fertilizing with something like bio-tone - Endo & Ecto Mycorrhizae - would be benficial?

Much obliged!
 
David Goodman
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From my understanding of propagation, adding any kind of fertilizer is a bad idea. You want them to work for it a little. Low nutrition is supposed to increase root growth.

I'd stay the course - they're not dead yet.
 
Jp Learn
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Understood...thanks again David.

I appreciate the help.
 
David Goodman
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I just found this: http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/PDF/geneve03.pdf

"Unfortunately, in a systematic study using over 1200 stem cuttings taken from mature flowering trees only one cutting produced an adventitious root..."

Real encouraging stuff.
 
Tom Davis
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maybe try soaking willow branches in water and using that as your water.
have used that successfully with herbaceous cuttings of plants that can become woody stemmed.
it might be worth trying some in only willow water as the medium until roots form.
we would use a cuttings tray with clear plastic lid to avoid desiccation and the scions would be propped up/suspended in the willow water until roots formed.
change water daily.
room temp was in the low 60's F.
scions placed on bookshelf in dark hallway.
 
Jp Learn
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David Goodman wrote:I just found this: http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/PDF/geneve03.pdf

"Unfortunately, in a systematic study using over 1200 stem cuttings taken from mature flowering trees only one cutting produced an adventitious root..."

Real encouraging stuff.


Haha, yea, David. I read that and was like "Wow. Hmm. Okay."

One of the interesting differences in this study and what I personally tried was that I definitely did not have cuttings from flowering trees. They were dormant when the cuttings were taken, I do believe.

I think just the same I may very well order a couple of grafted varieties, just the same. Want to have guaranteed yield...
 
John Layland
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It's been a few months, and I'm really curious if you had any luck? I'm looking to grow PawPaws in zone 4b and from what I hear grafts don't survive our winters, so my only options would be PawPaws started from seed, or rooting a cutting from a known hardy and early ripening specimen or preferably two.
 
Jp Learn
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John Layland wrote:It's been a few months, and I'm really curious if you had any luck? I'm looking to grow PawPaws in zone 4b and from what I hear grafts don't survive our winters, so my only options would be PawPaws started from seed, or rooting a cutting from a known hardy and early ripening specimen or preferably two.


they all died...i have 2-3 seedlings (from seed) and 2 grafted varieties that I purchased, which all seem to be doing well.
 
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