these events are good places to introduce permie to those unfamiliar to the concept. it should be done in a nonconfrontational way.
pawpaw seeds can't be allowed to dry out. they need a 3 month cold stratification (refridgerator) i planted seeds this year in pots on April 1, above ground sprout was around July 4. the seed puts down a large taproot before going up
I'm in the process of starting a paw paw orchard here in Michigan. Tricky tricky tree as far as nailing down the variety. The big problem... they do not self pollenate. The boy parts make pollen way before the lady parts are ready to receive it. (also know as my friday nights for the last 5 years)
So first you need two varieties, no further than 30 feet away from each other. And then you need to be sure that the one who's making boy stuff (pollen) and one who's lady parts are ready are doing their thing at the same time.
To further complicate things, the seeds in the resulting fruit are not a guarantee of what it would germinate into. there are lots of genes in that seed and a crap shoot on which would be expressed. (q tip pollenating- collecting the pollen on q tips and waiting until lady parts are ready? maybe but for a tree that can hold 100 fruits that can be a bit tedious.
The best bet- growing roots bases from locally harvested wild seeds to ensure hardiness and grafting scion wood from known varieties. Or buying grafted trees from trusted suppliers.
I've learned a lot in the last month. The most important thing I've learned is that I have a lot more to learn.
okay, so if i can find some local seeds (assuming the fruit is still on the trees around here), what is the best way to harvest them and plant them? should i just drop a bunch in the ground and let nature do its part or manage it myself?
If i find some saplings in the ground, is there good success with transplanting or just grow from seed?
is there anything to look for when selecting fruit from the trees? (fruit size, disease, tree health...?)
I do not know much about the tree firsthand. Read a lot about it though.
There are a few seed basics -never let the seeds dry out -seeds need to stratify (remain cold for around 120 days)
Harvesting is easy. Just shake the tree. Ripe fruits will fall. Or try batting them out of the tree with sticks or use a hand held cherry picker.
Saplings can be tricky. If you're in the wild there's a good chance the saplings you find will be suckers without well developed tap roots. Paw paws are grove forming trees.
Many propagators like Davis and Peterson used fruit size for their wild selection to breed their cultivars. Smaller fruits may be indicative of a stressed tree that stopped sending resources to the fruit and therefore perhaps under formed seed.
I just processed a bunch of seed the other day. One thing I do not know-what start of ripeness the fruit should be in to give the seed the best chance to germinate. These things ripen quick and actually ferment. Perhaps that fermentation process helps the seed? Who knows? Certainly not me. So I'm running an experiment. I processed a separately bagged seed from fruits in various states of ripeness from borderline rotten to extra firm. More than happy to share the results this coming July.
So. Find your fruit, here in Michigan there are still a few on the trees. Remove the seeds. You can use a scrub brush and finger nail combo to remove the seed jacket. Then soak the seeds in a 10 percent water/clorox bath for 2minutes Then pack the seeds in a ziploc bag with moistened peat moss. A small handfull per 20 seeds should be enough peat. Try to suck the air out of the bag. Then toss the ziploc in the fridge for about 120 days.
The clorox bath and sucking the air out will help keep mold growth to a minimum. Should you see any mold growth in the weeks and or months to come just rinse the seeds and give them another 2 minute bath in the 10 percent water clorox bath.
In the spring (when the soil is consistently 60 degrees F) drop those puppies in the ground. By July you should see sprouts. These trees really focus on putting down their tap root before they sprout.
You can drop these guys in the ground in the fall. Late fall, when average soil temperature is near 40 degrees F.
Bear in mind what I have shared is only what I've gathered from my digging and snooping. I haven't grown squat yet.
I recently spoke with a guy who specializes in indigenous plants, he said Pawpaws do not transplant well, so assuming you decide to go with seed, put them in the fridge for at least 8 weeks before planting them, they need to have a cold period in order to germinate.
Dr_Temp wrote: okay, so if i can find some local seeds (assuming the fruit is still on the trees around here), what is the best way to harvest them and plant them? should i just drop a bunch in the ground and let nature do its part or manage it myself?
Last spring I started several pawpaw seeds in containers as well as some in the ground. If you put some effort in, you can get about 2 seasons worth of growth the first year.
I had collected fruit in September of 2009, and put the seeds in the fridge in early October, left them there until the end of January 2010. I put them in ziploc bags with a moist paper towel at room temp, and some started germinating in a couple weeks. So if you do it this way, you can get a 3 month longer season the first year compared to starting the seeds in the ground in April. That makes a big difference in size at the end of the first year.
I had started them in 3 liter soda bottles, which gave the roots a lot of room. In most of them I could not see any roots at the side, although I could see the tap root just reach the bottom. I transplanted into the ground in the spring of 2011 (potting mix and all to avoid root disturbance), and they grew really well this year, ranging in height from 21 to 38 inches (11 plants), all of them thick enough to graft next spring if I wanted to.
I had tremendous fruit set on my paw paw trees this year. I hung bags of rotten quail eggs in the trees about a week before the first flowers opened. The odor was quite vile, but it did the trick. Even the tree that is about 100 feet from the other two (which are about 20 feet apart) had a very good fruit set.
I got this idea a few years back from an article in 'The Michigan Gardener' magazine. There is a paw paw breeder near Jackson, Michigan, who hung roadkill in his trees. I didn't think I could stomach that, but the rotten eggs worked.
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