Paw paws?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Laura Workman, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    Messages:
    2,479
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    I've thought about trying to grow pawpaws, but heard it takes years and years for a tree to bear. Does anyone have experience with planting and growing to harvest in Washington State (or anywhere else)?
     
  2. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    I can remember finding a wild paw paw bush in Missouri as a kid growing up and wondering what the hell that good fruit was that a friend informed me about.
    Well, I live north in Zone 2b, and I tried to plant one just to see if it would grow. It didn't. :waa: But, I think it takes several years to establish one before it fruits. Also, you might check into whether it needs a pollinator. I'll be interested to hear what others say about paw paws.
     

  3. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

    Messages:
    14,761
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Back in the USA
    I've got a small grove on the place and the trees don't look old. By that I mean I've seen old paw paws with much larger diameter trunks. The trunks on the ones I have aren't that big, maybe 2" dia., and they bear fruit. I suspect there's a larger older tree somewhere on the ridge that I haven't found that's the mother tree.

    From what I've read it's difficult to transplant paw paws successfully unless they were container grown.
     
  4. kelly1960

    kelly1960 Active Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Florida
    When I lived in Lexington KY, there was a paw paw tree between my house and the next door neighbor and it was right next to my driveway. That tree was HUGE...about 2 feet in diameter and probably about 40 ft tall. It was an OLD tree and provided a LOT of shade. I wasn't particularly fond of the fruit, but my neighbor next door was (lived to be 103). When those things ripened and started to fall, they were all over my driveway and that sweet little old thing would get out there and pick them up and sack 'em up for family and friends. Whatever didn't get picked up usually just got squished.

    The pits would find their way anywhere in my yard and start growing and when they did, their root system was unbelievable! You could not just "pull" them up when they were weedy-like plants.

    The paw paw "starts" I remember were very hardy, and a nuisance at times.

    Kelly
     
  5. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,908
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Fl Zones 11
  6. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'm no expert having just planted my first one this summer but from what I understand if you get one from the wild it can take up to ten years to produce fruit. If however, you buy a named cultivar, I bought 'Mango", they will produce in as little as three years. Or mabe that's just the hype the nursery gives you! I'm from WA originally and never heard of anyone growing them but Grandmother bear is right about Raintree having them. They are very helpfull and could answer your questions I'm sure. Theresa.
     
  7. kevieb

    kevieb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    658
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Location:
    idaho
    i planted a paw paw once and it put out a leaf and then just stayed like that for a long time---not growing and not dying. it did eventually die, it must have been neglected? it seems like they have some particular soil requirements
    christine
     
  8. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    594
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    I watched a tv program that said young pawpaw trees where sensitive to UV light and needed to be protected by shade for a few years, the program said this is why the trees are declining in the wild.
     
  9. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    179
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    I just received a catalog from 'Stark Bro's' and they have both the 'mango grafted pawpaw' and an unnamed 'pawpaw'. But they don't give any real information other than saying they're good for zones 4-8. Well, the regular pawpaw says that it 'Grows in almost any kind of soil with a pH balance near neutral' and 'Pests don't bother it' and 'Mature tree yields 25 to 50 pounds of fruit per year'. I assume this is true for the 'mango grafted pawpaw' also but it's not specified.

    But it doesn't say how long it takes to bear or whether it needs some shade or anything like that.
     
  10. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2003
    My seed started paw paws are now 2 years old. I've been told I am pushing the limits of their range here in mid western section of IL. They appreciate filtered shade when starting out, and need a pollinater. I will probably be in "the home" waiting for my tray by the time they produce fruit--should they survive the winters, the deer, the bunny rabbits, and the guy who mows the hay field.
     
  11. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

    Messages:
    2,479
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Lynnwood, Washington
    Thanks for all the input folks. I think I can do a two to three year wait. Sure would like to get a taste of the fruit before making the investment, but can't see how to do it. Ah well, it sounds pretty tasty!
     
  12. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,981
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan's thumb
    I'm planning on putting in paw paws this year and this is what I've come up with.

    There are some variance from tree to tree in regards to the fruit you get. If you get a graft, you know what you are getting, but if you get one grown from seed, you are taking your chances. This is not to say that you will get a dud, but there are differences.

    They must cross pollinate so if you want fruit, you have to have at least two. Since you must have more than one, your chances would be better on at least one being to your liking taste wise (and your spouse would like the other tree's fruit, of course).

    A paw paw will bear fruit after six years. So, if you plant a three year old tree, you can expect to wait three years. I have a feeling this is also not a definite and may depend on such factors as the type of soil it's in, if it is under stress, etc.

    It's better to buy a potted tree rather than bare root because the roots are very brittle. The pot should be quite deep, like twelve inches or more because of the tap root.

    Paw paws grow in patches or groves because the mother plant sends out suckers. If you want a bush type plant, let the suckers spread. If you want a tree with a definite trunk, keep the suckers cut. My tree guy told me not to cut the little sucker coming off one of my maples because if a sucker is coming up, the tree will root better when it's transplanted.

    Paw Paws are understory plants and as such do not tolerate direct sun. The first two years they should be grown in partial to full shade, or with a man made shade (this will also help them to push branches outward fora fuller look). After the first two years, they can be in full sun.

    Water throughout the entire first summer.

    I can't wait! Yumm :haha:
     
  13. Clara Bell

    Clara Bell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    72
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Hey Laura,
    If you are this way, you can take the path down to Panther Falls between Rockbridge and Amherst. Taste the fruit of the Paw Paw.
    The PawPaw is our American version of wild banana.
    And Panther Falls have them growing naturally in the raparian along the river.
    The seeds are hard-shell. You might have to file them to get them to propogate.
    If you can't get here, MAybe I can take a ride down to the falls and get you some seed.
     
  14. Fonzie

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2003
    Location:
    Illinois
    Maura made a good post,she brought up the main concepts people need to be aware of in case they want to grow Paw Paws. I don't have a ton of experience in growing Paw Paws but the ones I have planted were bare root... sort of. See after much research I ordered mine from a place called http://www.tollgategardens.com/pawpaw.html The owner's name is Larry Sibley and his Paw Paw nursery is in a part of Michigan which is which is on the same latitude as the Chicago area. So his stock will be better adapted to to Zone 5 and points south. Larry grows Paw Paws more as a labor of love and does not make a ton of money at it. The important thing is that he has around 15 named varieties for sale. If you were to call him and talk Paw Paws I bet for a few extra dollars he could ensure that your trees have a decent amount of soil on the roots and therefore won't be completly "bare root" at planting. I had my first harvest of Paw Paws this past Fall and I am utterly hooked on the terrific, complex flavor. I feel like when I am eating one of the fruits I should be in a fancy restaurant savoring the subtlties of the fruit. They remind me of the Cherimoya I used to eat when I was living in South America... only Paw Paws in my opinion are tastier.
    I have one more option for you as a source for Paw Paws. I have not tried this guy but he seems to have a good reputation among Paw Paw growers especially those of us that belong to the Midwest Fruit Explorers. Try http://petersonpawpaws.com/

    Good Luck
    Da Fonz
     
  15. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    Cloud Mountain Farm, in Everson, had a bunch of paw paws available for tasting at their fall festival last year. They're awesome - a custardy apple,banana flavor. I know they're testing the trees before offering them for sale.

    If they'll grow and bear fruit up here next to the Canadian border, they'll grow in Lynnwood.

    I've done lots of business with Raintree nursery. I've had nothing but good experiences with them.
     
  16. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,025
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kitsap Co, WA
    I tried with bare root pawpaws from someone on the barter board here. The first ones he sent had almost no root on them, and he kindly sent out replacements. However, only one ever sprouted even a few leaves. I had it in shade in a moist area, having read that they are by nature understory trees along the banks of streams. Those few leaves are all it ever put out. I, too, have never tasted any, but like the other poster I have had cherimoyas in Spain, and they're supposed to be similar. Good luck to you!