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Paw-Paws: You know...that universal law named after Herr Professor Murphy....

 
John Weiland
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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...in which it is stated that the most undesired and most unlikely thing that can happen will indeed happen at the least opportune time.  With the holidays in full swing, it seems sensible to check the mail daily for any packets filling up the box.  Decided yesterday to put it off as it was a frigid day, which lead to a frigid night of -24 deg F.  Today the sun had warmed us up to near zero F. which prompted a visit to the mailbox, which contained after a long wait......

....my Paw-Paw seeds.  Not much to do now except just give them a shot.  Any recommendations on what to try?  I was thinking of putting some into soil and then into the root cellar (just above freezing) for the remainder of the winter and then transplanting them next year.  Alternatively, depending on the vernalization requirements, a portion of them could go into into soil in a controlled temp greenhouse to see if any germination occurs. Either way, would wait for spring for planting outside. Thoughts?
 
Russell Olson
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Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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Same exact thing happened to me last year. i got good % of sprouting anyway after the normal cold stratification.
It's definitely worth trying. The baby plants/seedlings have been more trouble than the seeds for me, give them alot of attention.
Good luck!
 
John Weiland
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Thanks for the encouraging news and advice, Russell O.!  I will stratify them for the remainder of the winter and plant the seeds this coming spring.  Here's hoping!....
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hau John, Like Russell indicates, you should have no worries with those seeds.  When you plant them out, be sure they are in a shaded area, pawpaw trees want to start life as an understory tree and direct sun will actually kill them.
If you want to transplant them to a permanent location later it is best to start them in grow tubes (I use 4" diameter PVC pipe that is 24 inches long, cover the bottom with a piece of landscape cloth to hold the soil in) and then put these in the shade for the first year, preferably two years.
Then you can plant them where you want them while they are dormant, and give them partial shade for their wake up in the spring. As they age, they become more and more tolerant of full sun.
The one thing you absolutely have to do is keep the soil moist but not wet, these trees are found near streams and creeks in the wild, growing up through the canopy so they can get enough sun to fruit.
The flowers will stink, flies are the pollinators for pawpaw trees.

Good luck and happy pawpaw growing.

Redhawk
 
John Weiland
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@Bryant R: "The one thing you absolutely have to do is keep the soil moist but not wet, these trees are found near streams and creeks in the wild, growing up through the canopy so they can get enough sun to fruit. "

Thanks for this additional encouragement.  Bryant, you probably are familiar with the Red River Valley (the *really* flat part of North Dakota)....clay soil, high water table, a "challenging" winter which will be selecting hard on the seedlings.  But we do live right on a river, so my question is whether or not Paw-Paws have the ability to withstand some flooding.  We have some shaded, flood-free areas in which I will be trying to initiate the stand, but as you might image, there is really nice partial shade from older elm, ash, willow, cottonwood, and a few oak that grow along the river.  River flooding can occur anytime it's not frozen, but most typically in the spring after the snow-melt and before dormancy has broken on most trees.  So I was thinking trying some plantings at about 40 - 60 ft from the river, close enough for the moisture and shading benefit, but far enough away to avoid the sporadic and low-level summer flooding as well as Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and sons....and daughters.  And if there is a preferred "overstory" that would be providing the shade for these trees, that would be helpful.  We have scattered stands and windbreaks of the aforementioned trees, but also some blue spruce, juniper, box elder, and Chinese elm.  Great idea on the transplant procedure.....when you say " put these (grow tubes) in the shade for the first year, preferably two years. ", do you mean with the grow tubes above ground level with their bottoms against the ground or do you mean the whole tube sunk into the ground for digging up later?  If above ground, I assume they might need to be brought indoors for the winter (?)     Thanks!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 1896
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
132
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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In Arkansas, the pawpaw trees I have located living in the wild have undergone floods and survived. These were trees located about mid-flood stage judging by the flood litter and they were semi-protected from direct hit flood water by other trees growing around them (Oaks, Hickories for the most part).
It seems to me, that if you plant similarly, they should survive floods well. Establishment of the root system would be required and those first few years their root systems grow fast to support the growth spurt that comes on in the 3rd and 4th years of growth.
If you had something between them and the flow of water, such as willows, birch, or any other native tree that likes to grow close to water sources, they should do just fine.  The area you mention would be fairly perfect for growing pawpaw trees.

I keep the tubes above ground, usually I do up about 10 seeds and just tie a couple of strings around the whole group of tubes.
I tried in ground planting once and it was a miserable fail for me. My tube method works far better for me.

Redhawk
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