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Any advice about moving wild pawpaw trees?

 
Renate Howard
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We've fenced the goats out of the steep hillside behind the house and removed most of the bush honeysuckle growing under the trees, so it's close to ready to start planting. I've got a grove of wild pawpaws in the woods and I'd like some closer to the house where I can monitor them and hand-pollinate at the right time (last time I missed the season and got no fruit at all!).

I've read they have a deep tap root and it's hard to transplant them because they often die if you don't get enough of the root. Is it worth it to even try to move them or should I just enjoy them down in the woods where they are now? I've also read that buying suckers from nurseries almost always results in dead trees, but is that because they were shipped bare root, without the soil and its microbes, etc. included?

I was planning on only moving the smaller ones, less than 2 feet tall.
 
Michael Cox
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Can you collect seeds and sow directly in place? It might be a little slower but possibly less labour intensive way. I'd plant more seeds than you need and thin to the strongest specimens.

No harm in digging some small trees too, but they will probably need more intensive care for the first year or so.
 
Rebecca Norman
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I've been reading about pawpaws a bit lately, and got some seeds sent to me by a friend made on this site (Thank you Thekla!). Somebody mentioned that the root is not only a tap root, but very fleshy and fragile, which is why it is difficult to move established pawpaws. And apparently the suckers that come up around an existing tree often have insufficient roots of their own to survive being divided off.

Maybe if you're very very careful, dig all around deeply and gently and then try to lift out a root ball... it's worth a try but don't do it to all the trees in case you lose all the transplants.
 
David Goodman
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PawPaws are almost impossible to transplant - check out the picture of the tap root in this interview I did with a grower:

http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/2013/03/floridas-amazing-native-pawpaws.html

Scroll all the way down to where Terri is holding a couple of excavated trees. Insane tap roots.

Last week I visited her and she showed me a display she'd created. She'd planted a little pawpaw seed in a clear plastic tube of soil. The root was 3'+ long, and the tree had only two leaves on it and was about 2" tall.

I think you need to just plant more seeds.
 
Renate Howard
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Thank you all! Good to know!!
 
terry howard
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If you've got any spare seeds, I'd be happy to buy a few....I couldn't find any dealers here in Okc that even heard of Pawpaw, so I ended up having to buy a tree online and it ended up dying from the drought.....I'd really like to try and grow this tree as they're supposed to be native here in my state.
 
Renate Howard
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If I can get them to bear fruit this year, I sure will send you some!
 
terry howard
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Cool...good luck!
 
duane hennon
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hi Renate

I dig up pawpaw seedlings from my patch for transplanting
but I don't try to move anything over 12 " high
mostly 6-8 inch high first year seedlings (with a 6-8 in taproot)
the soil isn't very deep and the roots get tangled with other roots
so anything larger , at least for me, isn't practical

larger seedlings can be dug if they are planted in deep loose soil
(see the pictures from the gal in Florida)

for best results, dig them in to spring before bud break
plant them asap
and keep them well watered

those looking for seeds can email me
i have about 1200 taking up the bottom of my fridge


 
terry howard
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Yes, I've love to try them.
 
John Saltveit
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The paw paw foundation says and I agree: only move them after they have started to grow in the spring, but just after. I agree with other poster who says move small ones. I have moved many, and almost never lose one, but I move them under two feet tall. Get your hole ready before hand, dig out rootball, put in bucket or wheelbarrow to keep it as intact as possible. Keep it moist.
John S
PDX OR
 
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