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PawPaw in your Food Forest

 
Steven Feil
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Location: South Central Idaho
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How many of you have PawPaw trees in your food forest. Please tell me about them if you do.

I have tried for a couple of years to get a couple going but my source is REALLY crappy (Burgess). I am looking for a better source now and think I may have found one. I would appreciate your input on this as well.

If you happen to live where they are native and might be able to get me a couple of trees THAT would be PHENOMENAL!
 
John Saltveit
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I have grown Paw Paw in both of my food forests. I think they are a great plant for food forests. I live in the PNW and they are not native here, but they grow well near Portland, OR. We need to make sure they get water in the summer because we are very dry in the summer, as opposed to where they are native, in which it rains in the summer. Planting pawpaws requires being very careful about the tap root. Choose your site carefully. They often die when moved. Move them only when young and during their growing season. Move a huge root ball if possible and either at the very beginning of their growing season (early spring) or at the end (late fall). Pollination is tricky with pawpaw, but once established they are delicious, nutritious, beautiful, and extremely productive.
John S
PDX OR
 
Steven Feil
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I have been told that the flowers have an INTERESTING (offensive) smell. Is that true?
 
John Saltveit
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Yes, they are a downward facing, meat colored flower designed to smell like rotten meat, because evolutionarily, when they evolved, there were no bees, so they had to be pollinated by flies.
JOhn s
PDXOR
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I got two 9inch potted plants plants last year from onegreenworld. They did really well last year and they have leaved out this year. They are tiny, hopefully I can get fruits off them in 2 years.
 
John Saltveit
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I got a Wells from Miller Nursery that I was happy with and a Sunflower from I think Burnt Ridge that I was happy with. I was happy with my seedlings from One Green World that I had at the other house. One tasted much better than the others. Make sure that you have your deep hole already dug out, watered and ready before you remove the pawpaw from the pot so it has a minimum of adjustment to its new home.
John S
PDX OR
 
Andrew Mateskon
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For PawPaw, and supply of edible perennials you can't find anywhere, I came across www.oikostreecrops.com. They are located near Kalamazoo, MI.
 
p skrypek
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Stark brothers nursery , several varietys to choose from, I have native trees ,but have a friend that swears by stark bros his property looks like a catalogue for them
 
Jay Grace
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I searched on craigslist in my state (Alabama) and a ton of other pawpaw prolific states. Finally found a man in Ohio who had some for sale. It was toward the end of the season and I asked him if he would just fill up a flat rate box for me. I sent him like $40 for close to 15lbs of fruits a lot were named varieties and a few were of wild origin. I ended up with a sandwich bag full of seeds after all was said and done. I currently have over 30 two year old plants. Most of which were planted directly into the spots they are to fully grow out in. Most took a full year to sprout.

All in all for what some people are paying for one or two grafted plants. I ended up with an entire orchard of them and the fruits to eat also.

And yes they have extremely long tap roots. I dug one plant up it was less than 5 inches tall and the tap root went down over 20 inches.
 
Renate Howard
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You may need to protect them from slugs too. I hear the slugs really like the leaves on young paw paw seedlings. A ring of coffee grounds around the plant should help - caffeine kills slugs.

I hand-pollinated the wild pawpaws on my property and didn't detect any scent to the flowers. At first glance, they are very ugly for flowers, tho.
 
Brian Vagg
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Location: Northern California - Zone 9b
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I purchased three Paw Paw's (different varieties) from Rolling River Nursery in CA. All three were planted in Feb and are doing well. They appear to be slow growing and I hear that they do well with shade for the first few years. I planted a good amount of cover crops (peas, fava, and vetches) as well as sun chokes. So far so good.
 
David Goodman
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I have four pawpaws in my food forest. They're only year-old seedlings, but they're happy. Two are Asimina parviflora, one is an Asimina obovata, and I think the last one is Asimina incana.

I also found some Asimina pygmaea recently while walking around a fellow's property

None of these are the Asimina triloba species you all are probably talking about, though. There are eight varieties that grow here - most of them are shrubs rather than trees.

There's a woman named Terri Pietroburgo who runs a native pawpaw nursery (Pietro's PawPaws) here that agreed to an interview for my blog a few months ago. I had no idea the pawpaw rabbit hole ran so deep.

Interview w. pictures: Pt. I: http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/2013/03/floridas-amazing-native-pawpaws.html
Interview w. pictures: Pt. II: http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/2013/03/floridas-amazing-native-pawpaws_8.html

Another thing about pawpaws: they don't transplant well at all. You have to dig down 6' to get the whole tap root. Fail at that and they die. If you can get some fruit, plant the seeds in place around your yard and I'll bet they beat the living daylights out of transplants from Burgess. The plants are really tough when established in situ.
 
Cortland Satsuma
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Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
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@ Steve

Hello, We are in central virginia. Pawpaws are native here; but, the dickens to find! (None of my neighbors, born & raised here, have ever even heard of them). I did find a family at a chicken swap with preserves from wild gathering. (They will not share info; if I see them again, I plan to offer to buy seeds.)
Since we like the flavor of these pawpaws; I hunted down an east coast grower of a variety of fruit seedlings who sells pawpaws in bulk quantities. I went in with a group of buyers here, and got 70 bare root seedlings. All but 8 have leafed out; and, I have not given up on them yet... as they could have been slug or tent caterpillar victims. :0) As my food forest plan is not ready for them, I potted them. I will be upsizing their pots (free from a landscaper) at the end of summer. I hope by spring to have them placed in their permanent location, a sun catch food forest. I also have 3 very dead pawpaws from burgess*** bought last year; and, none of the seeds I have planted (a dozen) have sprouted. However, based on other posts, I may see part of that dozen by next year!
The pawpaws I bought, will grow to 25'; however, I will be topping them shorter. The guy who grows and sells them has been doing seedlings for over 25 years, great guy, good practical information. However, he does not have any knowledge of scientific names. His seedlings are all from his trees, which all came from local wild sources years ago. I checked, he is sold out for the season. I may be ordering again next spring; and, could maybe find a way to order together. (He also sells Mayhaws, Persimmons, Black Cherry, Crab Apple, Pear, Apple) (email me if you think that could work).

***I have since found an online site that customers can rate any nursery; and, burgess (and its other names) is one of the worst. For low cost or swap options on any plant, I have had good experiences with wonderful gardeners on CraigsList (CL) in the "Farm and Garden" section; as well as, my local freecycle. (buying CL raspberries this week; 20" potted new canes for $1.50 ea) BTW Our pawpaws were about $3 ea. in bulk.
 
Cortland Satsuma
Posts: 319
Location: (Zone 7-8/Elv. 350) Powhatan, VA (Sloped Forests & Meadow)
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@ Renate

Thanks for the reminder! My grounds are in a can waiting...will definitely get to it tomorrow. BTW Do you have a lot of beetles or flies where you are? I am not sure if I will also need to do the hand pollinating.
 
Daniel. Smith.
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Location: zone 6
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Ive bought pawpaws from Burnt ridge nursery and Stark bros nursery. Here's a link to all pawpaw nurseries from the university of kentucky's website:
http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/nurslst.htm

I am planting some on the north side of my house in a polyculture of pawpaws, elderberry, currant, gooseberry, bee balm, and possibly hog peanut if I can get that. Ill be planting the others in a polyculture of heartnut, pawpaw, goumi, and black berries.
 
Greta Fields
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I live in Ky, where pawpaws grow well, and there's a grove of about 20 in the understory of a hardwood forest. They grow on the side of the road and also in the "hollow" below houses. They grow in full sunlight and shade...but the small trees seem to like just coming up thickly under the taller trees. When my mother just let them come up thickly in her yard, they began bearing fruit when only 2-3 inch in diameter.
YouTube shows some teenager in Great Britain who grows pawpaws in flower pots....just plants the seeds.
Bears love pawpaws and will sometimes beat you to them.
I have gotten big crops to no crops off pawpaws.
 
Greta Fields
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Stephen, I meant to add that I would not mind sharing pawpaw seeds, but I haven't been able to get any myself for the past five years. I think a bear is eating the half green fruit. If I get any seed, I will post it on here. I doubt I could dig up a tree....the roots are really lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllong.
 
Andi Houston
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Most of the large trees in my 8b/9a forest garden are mature citrus trees. Since citrus trees have shallow roots and pawpaws have deep long roots, I'm thinking this might be a good understory tree. Has anyone tried growing pawpaws near citrus? Do they like being together? Near the citrus trees are mature azaleas, rabbiteye blueberries, and camellias.
 
Cris Bessette
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I live in the Appalachian mountains of Georgia and Paw Paws (asimina triloba) are supposed to be native here, but like others have posted- nobody around here has them, has ever eaten them, or even knows what they are.

After I had the chance to eat a couple of these I realized they would be absolutely necessary in my food forest.


So far I have about 10 paw paw trees, some I grew from seed from a few sources, and a few seedlings I bought from oikostreecrops.com

They seem to be growing excruciatingly slow for me where ever I have planted them- in the woods, at the edge of the woods, in full sun,etc.
Though none are over three years old yet, and that seems to be a rule of thumb age for about any kind of tree to get established.


 
R Scott
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My (Kansas) state forestry department sells paw paw as part of their bare root seedlings program for $20 per 25. You can seed if yours does the same.
 
S Bengi
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Yes I got mines ast year spring and they are tiny. Most of the other trees that I got last year have put on side branches or main shoot growth of 8 inches. except for my pawpaw, I am lucky if I got 3inches growth. but at least it is not like my maypop which grew like crazy last year, blossom a lot and never return this year


Cris Bessette wrote:

They seem to be growing excruciatingly slow for me where ever I have planted them- in the woods, at the edge of the woods, in full sun,etc.
Though none are over three years old yet, and that seems to be a rule of thumb age for about any kind of tree to get established.


 
David Goodman
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The four I planted this spring have stayed the same size. If I can score some seeds, I think I'll put some in place here and there throughout my food forest. Triloba would be great to try here.

I think the citrus and pawpaw idea is great. Definitely a good thought on the roots.
 
Cortland Satsuma
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Thought I would report back on my new pawpaws. The 8 in question remain so. However, the rest are growing at varied rates; some just leafing, some 3-4" growth with side shoots. All were planted the same and the pots put in dappled sunlight with partial shade. My fast growers will probable get a foot of ht on them this year. The tent caterpillars were a huge problem initially; no sign of slugs, but I did put coffee grounds in.
 
Steven Feil
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Thank you for all your input. I am glad this topic has been timely. I am sorry I have not participated much, I have not been getting very frequent topic emails. I will try reading through the comments again to see if there are any responses I should address.
 
Cortland Satsuma
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Hi,
I did check with the kansas forestry about buying from out of state; since VA forestry does not sell pawpaws. They will sell and ship to out of state (not out of USA). I am not sure how they calculate the rates; however for us, a quantity of 100 would be about $1 each! They also sell at the same price:
American Plum
Elderberry
Sand Hill Plum (Chickasaw)
Pecan
Red Mulberry
They are redoing their web site right now, so email them with any questions. The pawpaws will be available mid-march of 2014. Most seedlings are 1-2 years old and around 1-2' tall.

UPDATE:

Leah at the forestry let me know the also sell pinyons after labor day; they run about $2.25-50 each in qty of 25. They sell other nuts too, for those interested.
 
Renate Howard
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@Cortland, There are lots of bugs here, but this year no pawpaw fruit at all. They must bear fruit sometimes because the entire path has pawpaws along it but last year was a drought so maybe they're taking a year off to recover. I've seen pawpaw seeds in raccoon scat, so they eat them also.

My pawpaws are growing along a path that floods when it rains, near a stream so it's usually very moist where they are - if anyone's aren't doing well they may want more water. Tho I've also read they have a deep taproot and disreputable companies sell side shoots that usually die even with good care (the ones that fill your mailbox with full color catalogs in the spring).
 
Cortland Satsuma
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@Renate,

I agree about those rotten catalog swindlers...sigh! However, the pawpaws I bought this year have done very well! I lost a few, but I still have about 60 seedlings; and, most are flourishing very well potted. I will be ground planting part of them soon; and the rest should keep until spring for upsizing or ground planting. I will be buying a lot more next spring, as we are planing a very large sun catch-u food forest that we plan to be quite dense. Your observations still leave me wondering if our abundant beetle and fly population will suffice for later pollination. We do have some years to think that aspect through! At 1-2 year old seedlings, I do not expect any fruit for over 5 years. Let me know how it goes next year for you; updates are always appreciated!
 
Cortland Satsuma
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@ Steve
You will not get new updates if you did not click on the past ones; the system prevents a build up in your in box and lessens the likelyhood of being labeled as spam.
 
Steven Feil
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Cortland Satsuma wrote:@ Steve
You will not get new updates if you did not click on the past ones; the system prevents a build up in your in box and lessens the likelyhood of being labeled as spam.


I got your PM. I am quite aware of forum function and protocols. SteveN
 
Cortland Satsuma
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@ Steve,

Sorry to offend you...was not my intent. I posted on the board then realized if you were not getting the updates that was not very helpful...hence, the follow up PM. I certainly will not be bothering you in the future, best wishes to you in your pawpaw endeavors.
 
mick mclaughlin
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Paw paws grow wild here in south central ks. Not only do they only fruit on certsin years, every wild animal eats them. They have a very short shelf life, too. Here todsy, gone tomorrow.

I would bet that is why many are unaware of them, even in dtates where they are native.
 
Cortland Satsuma
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@Mick

The wild ones may not be getting pollinated; hence, the lack of fruit! As they do come and go so quickly fruit wise, that may be why so few people know of them. And, yes, they are not a chain store crop. They are perfect for onsite market or farmers market. What can not be sold as fresh can be used to make wonderful jam, bread (or muffins), and soft serve sorbet. With the last for sale on hot summer days, you will sell out 100%! Our pawpaws are continuing to grow nicely; it will be years until harvest. Meanwhile, got a great tip on where to pick them locally wild for jam.
 
Marianne Cicala
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We're lucky enough to have a big grove of them on the river's edge. I would strongly recommend that anyone looking to add them (on the east coast) wait until the spring. Unlike almost any other fruit tree - their roots go dormant in the winter and odds are good, they will not survive if fall planted as the tree cannot get established. Anyone who is interested in seed, just let me know and I'll save/send some for you - you can pot them indoors through the winter for early summer transplant. We will start checking for the fruit in Sept. and hope the bears leave enough for us to enjoy. I make a pawpaw "butter" and bread, just like a banana bread on the same day I gather them as the shelf life is non-existent. If you're close to me and want some saplings in mid/late spring, just let me know and I'll dig some up. They are the wild variety, open pollinators, an understory tree, love boggy areas and have yet to disappoint us with harvest.
 
Cortland Satsuma
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Lucky you! I wonder if they are same variety as the ones we bought. Half of ours are still container planted from this spring...should we plan on moving them indoors for the winter? The other half were just planted in our fence planter next to our little creek. (We double boarded the bottom of our new fence line to create a planter the length of the fence). Long before they are big enough to pop the boards we plan for the fence to be gone. However, now I am wondering if they are going to be ok without any weatherization plan?
 
Marianne Cicala
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I'd bury the pot - just dig a hole and plant them pot and all (make sure the dirt level in the pot is about an inch above ground level so it doesn't become a well) - you don't want to end up with a hot house tree. Mulch heavy with leaves. As far as that goes - if you have wonderful VA clay - every tree, bush etc should always be planted an inch or 2 above ground level. If not, you'll end up with root rot for sure.

 
Cortland Satsuma
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@Marianne

Oh Yes, we have plenty of good old VA clay! (Some decent soil in spots, lots of wild tap root plants, and a bounty of earth worms everywhere.) We are being careful to avoid root rot as you noted. Burying the pots is a great idea others may be able to use! Unfortunately, for us, it is not a good plan. We still have a LOT of major land work to do; any planted now would need to move in the next two years. Our understanding is that if we do that with pawpaws we risk loosing all of them. However, we definitely do NOT want any hot house cultivars. Upon further thought, I think prior to the first frost we could move them into our screened porch? This way, the young tap root will not be in or sitting on freezing ground and be kept slightly warmer through the winter with out over babying them. We bought them with the plan of them going in our food forest sun catch-u; however, these are growing at a rate that is going to require permanent planting prior to establishing our catch-u. Hence, we redesigned our layout for the front fence planter to include as many as we could to get it in the area still under the hardwood forest canopy (as they mature, we can prune back or remove some of the hardwoods). These in the wooden fence planter, do you have advise for keeping them during the winter? There is very little exposed dirt in the planter; and, by winter all the fall growth of the companion plants should have died back and created a mulch. Our plan with the potted ones was to keep sizing them up every 3-6 months during growth seasons until we could get them in. I am already looking into re-designing the layout of plants on our existing driveway (will be a utility / farm drive only later) and thinking to substitute with pawpaws. Most likely, they will need to be planted there next spring. If they all survive we may forgo pawpaws in the sun catch-u as understory; Even with a pick your own pawpaw, there is a limit to how many we can sell / process of such a short seasoned, short shelf life item. As aesthetics are also a major factor in our gardens and keep approach, we are trying to balance size, shape and color as well as crop timing.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Sorry - I guess I didn't explain clearly. Burying the pots is only to over winter them, NOT ever as a long term planting option. Sitting in your porch etc will still allow the risk of root loss. Assuming they are in a 3Gallon pot, just plant the pot for the winter leaving plenty of the lip above ground to avoid rot as well as easy removal in the spring. The ground will not deep freeze around here and the roots will have dirt as an insulator and leaves to protect the top. I remember 1 year before we opened the nursery, we went to a plant auction and literally bought 100s of potted shrubs - most in a 3 or 5 gallon pot, we dug really long trenches, dropped in the pots and filled all around them. - they were very happy and that year we had an unusual cold winter with an 8 day stretch of below freezing temps.. Worse case around here is still only a 6" freeze line. Our customers usually return the pots their plants come in and we save for people that are propagating, repotting etc. so please remind me to give you pots.
 
Mariamne Ingalls
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Hi All-

Passing on some info I received on the smell of the PawPaw flowers (purported to smell like rotted meat).

I'm in NE Ohio, and near the Holden Arboretum.
In June, I attended a TreeFlash event there, where the CEO of the Arboretum, Clem Hamilton, and one of the botanists there did a walk and talk about various trees.

The info was excellent, and provided while standing right next to beautiful specimens of the tree.
Very detailed, and our guides are no strangers to the words 'Permaculture' or 'Guild'. Yay!
The Arboretum has developed a healthy PawPaw patch, and we got to see it on our tour.

Anyway, having learned that PawPaws are a candidate member of a Guild with oaks (I have a pin oak in my suburban backyard), I asked if the smell of the flowers was so bad that I should hesitate on adding them to my small (about 100' wide x 30' deep) backyard.
Their answer: "No, they are not that bad. I wouldn't hesitate to add them to your yard."

This year, I've discovered and become impressed with the Arboretum's events that have tie-ins to Permaculture.
I went to a Forest Farming workshop there this month (Jul, 2013).
I recommend the programs to those of you near NE Ohio.
Here's a link to their website:
http://www.holdenarb.org
Here's a link to the Forest Farming workshop:
http://midwestpermaculture.com/2013/04/plant-guilds/

Also, here is a link to the free e-book from Midwest Permaculture, where I learned about oak guilds:
http://midwestpermaculture.com/2013/04/plant-guilds/

Regards,
Mariamne
 
Steven Feil
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Has anyone tried DEHYDRATING the fruit. This seems like a natural to keep the fruit around longer. If there is still too much maybe freeze it and then dehydrate?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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