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The phrase ‘pawpaw‘ conjures up images of large fruits with sweet and juicy peach to orange and yellow inner flesh in this region of the world where I live.
Unfortunately, we’re not talking about that pawpaw; instead, we’re talking about Asimina triloba, also known as pawpaw.
It’s North America’s largest native fruit, with a tropical flavor and custardy texture.
If you’re still confused, the papaya, Carica papaya, and the Graviola, or soursop, Annona muricata, are both tropical fruits with the same name.
In this article, we are going to discuss how best we can grow your favourite pawpaw trees
What Is This PawPaw Tree?
The pawpaw is a tiny deciduous tree endemic to North America that produces the largest fruit.
It belongs to the Annonaceae family, which is the largest of the magnolia order’s families and consists mostly of tropical plants.
Except for Florida and the most northeastern states, Asimina triloba is native to the eastern United States, where it may be found in 26 states.
In the spring, pawpaw trees bloom with maroon-coloured blooms with six petals, reaching a height of around 25 feet.
They only grow to reach 2 to 12 feet tall when cultivated in shaded and protected parts of mature forests.
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The leaves are dark green in colour, lustrous, and oval with pointed tips. They can reach a length of 12 inches. The leaves turn a variety of colours of gold throughout the fall.
The fruit of these trees is well-known, and it ripens in the fall. The pawpaw fruit has a custard-like texture and a flavor that is a cross between a banana and a mango (though some think it tastes plainer, more like a raw potato).
While the fruit is edible, the peel and seeds should never be eaten. Anonacin, found in pawpaw, is poisonous to nerve cells. Pawpaw, pawpaw Asimina triloba is a plant in the Annonaceae family.
- Tree Plant Mature Size 15-25 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide
- Sun Exposure Complete or partial
- Bloom Time: Spring
- Flower Color: Purple
- Soil Type: Moist but well-drained
- Soil pH: Acidic, neutral Bloom Time: Spring
- Soil Type: Moist but well-drained Soil pH: Acidic, neutral
- Hardiness Zones 5-8 in the United States Native Area North America Toxicity Human toxin
What Are the Best Conditions for Growing Pawpaw Trees?
In full sun, pawpaw fruit trees can reach a height of 30 feet. The tree can grow in partial shade, but it will not produce as much fruit as plants that are cultivated in full sun.
Pawpaws are understory trees, meaning they may survive in the shade of a bigger tree. These fruit plants prefer humid conditions, thrive in moist soil, and can be seen growing by creeks and on hillsides. USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9 are ideal for pawpaw trees.
Pawpaw Tree Planting Instructions
In cold, moist conditions, pawpaw seeds take a long time to germinate, and it takes several years for the fruit to ripen.
Check out the instructions below if you wish to develop your pawpaw trees from a root cutting or an established young tree to yield fruit sooner:
- Choose a location. Pawpaws prefer full sun and are self-incompatible, meaning their blossoms don’t pollinate themselves. Only when there are multiple trees close does fruit set. Choose a location with at least six hours of sunlight and enough room for both trees to flourish. To encourage cross-pollination and fruit production, the second tree is within 15 feet of the first tree.
- Make the dirt ready. Pawpaw trees prefer soil that is rich, well-draining, and somewhat acidic, with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Before planting, apply a layer of organic matter to increase the quality of your soil.
- Dislodge the earth. Pawpaw trees’ taproots are fragile, and they require at least a foot of loose soil to stretch and grow. Loosen the soil to a depth of a foot and three times the root breadth.
- Dig. Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the root system of the pawpaw tree.
- Transplant. Detangle the roots of your rooted cutting or tiny, established tree plant by gently pulling them apart. If you’re transplanting from a container, loosen the soil surrounding the roots but don’t completely remove it. When the plant is unexpectedly exposed to new soil in your garden, the residual soil on the roots will protect the plant from falling into shock.
- The top of the soil should align with the top of the ground soil when you set the plant in the hole. Fill up the space surrounding the plant’s base with soil.
- Water. To aid in the establishment of the root system, water thoroughly. Throughout the growing season, keep the soil moist.
How To Care For Pawpaw
The pawpaw tree can be successfully grown as a tropical-looking addition to your garden or for its delicious fruit if you have a basic understanding of the growing needs.
Pawpaw trees need plenty of water, but they also need to be in well-draining soil to avoid root rot and fungus. Make cautious to keep young trees out of direct sunlight and wind.
These trees have a suckering nature and will eventually form a pawpaw grove. If you want fruit from a pawpaw tree, however, make sure to put several genetically diverse trees close together.
Because nutrient-rich soil is essential for good growth and fruit production, pawpaw trees should be fertilized at least twice a year, once in the spring and again in the early summer.
A well-balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 mix, can be administered as granules or as a liquid.
However, adding organic matter to the soil with compost, fish emulsion, manure, or a combination of the three may be your best option.
Young pawpaw trees will need to be watered regularly. It’s critical, though, to ensure that the soil drains well and that this tree doesn’t become soggy.
In general, mature established pawpaw trees that are near a water source or receive regular rainfall require very little additional water.
To avoid dry soil conditions, pawpaw trees grown in an orchard or a full sun location in your yard may benefit from supplementary irrigation.
The pawpaw tree grows in the understory of woods in its natural habitat. As a result, these trees thrive in part-shade conditions.
Shady circumstances are especially beneficial to young trees, as direct sunshine can scorch their leaves.
Pawpaw trees can be grown in full sun once they reach maturity, which is generally the case when they are planted in orchards.
The shape of these trees will be more pyramidal, whereas pawpaws in the shadow will have to spread branches and have fewer lower limbs.
Rich, well-draining soil is required for pawpaw cultivation. To improve the quality of nutrient-deficient soil, add compost.
The pawpaw may grow in heavy clay soil with adequate drainage, but only if it is well-drained. This tree thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil pH levels.
Humidity and Temperature
The pawpaw is a cold-hardy fruit tree that can endure temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
At the same time, the tree’s native habitat’s warm, humid summers provide ideal circumstances for growth and fruit production.
Because the dormancy of winter prepares the tree for a healthy growing season, you’ll have the best luck cultivating the pawpaw tree if your environment provides the seasonal swing that these trees are used to.
Is It Necessary To Have Two pawpaw Trees To Produce Fruit?
Yes, pawpaw trees are not self-pollinating, and in most situations, at least two trees are necessary for fruit production.
To pollinate, however, the trees must be genetically distinct from one another.
In other words, you can’t expect the branch trees that may emerge from the tree’s suckers to cross-pollinate if you only plant one pawpaw tree.
When Do Pawpaw Trees Produce Fruit?
Whether the tree was grafted or grown from seed makes a difference. In 3 to 4 years, grafted pawpaw trees, such as those purchased from a nursery, will normally give fruit.
Expect to wait for 5 to 8 years for the fruit to ripen on pawpaw trees grown from seed.
Do Pawpaw Trees Have a Strong Smell?
The odour of pawpaw trees can be detected in the bark, twigs, leaves, and blooms.
The odour of the blossoms is subtle and may not be detectable unless you take a deliberate whiff. When crushed or torn, the leaves release an odour.
The aroma varies depending on the tree kind and is also subjective. It smells like decaying meat to some individuals, while others say it smells like bell pepper or even yeasty bread to others.
What Is The Most Effective Way To Plant A Pawpaw Tree?
Starting with a root cutting or transplanting a young tree is the best option to cultivate your pawpaw trees (grafted trees around two years old).
Avoid taking cuttings from wild pawpaw plants since they can be erratic, and some may never bear fruit.
If you loved this article, there are many more like that in the blog. Meanwhile, have you tried growing pawpaw trees? what was the response?