Paw Paw pollination

thecityman, Zone 7a/6b near NashvilleJanuary 21, 2014

Though I am new to fruit growing, over the last 2-3 years I've planted most of the standard fruits. I now want to add some slightly more "exotic" trees- persimmons and pawpaws. I've decided to order from because they have better prices, rooted plants, and good reviews on the big nursery review site. If you have any comments about them I'd love to hear.
. #1) I am about to order one Hachiya and one Saijo (I prefer soft astringents). My understanding is that they are both self-pollinating and will grow well side by side. Is this true? Anything else you'd tell someone considering these varieties?
#2) My bigger question is about Pawpaws. The aforementioned seller says that 2 trees are needed for pollination, but they only seem to sell one kind of pawpaw. I know that with fruits like apples, you need 2 different kinds of trees for cross pollination. Will 2 pawpaws of the same variety pollinate each other? Also, do I have to worry about getting a male and female? Finally, this seller does not say what kind of pawpaw it is that they sell. Is there a huge difference between varieties? Any other pawpaw info for a beginner would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Good plants.I know more about Pawpaws than Persimmons,so I'll give a little information about them.
Most of them do need two different varieties to produce fruit,but I've read that Sunflower and a few others can do it alone.I'm starting to believe this.I have about a three year old Sunflower and last year it flowered,but my other varieties are still too young,even to flower.So I took some of it's own pollen(by the way,to answer your question,Pawpaws have both male and female flower parts)and fertilized two of it's flowers.One took and produced a cluster of about four fruit.They lasted about two weeks and then fell off.I think the plant is still too young.Pawpaws will often do that as they mature,like making practice runs.
I looked at that site,thanks by the way,hadn't heard of them and it looks like they grew them from seed,which is good.I think to get two of the same variety out of that group is sheer chance,but could happen.Maybe contact them and see where the seed comes from.
There is quite a bit of information online.Kentucky State University has a lot.Here's a link to a page from the Home Orchard Society. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant a Paw-paw Patch

This post was edited by Bradybb on Tue, Jan 21, 14 at 12:01

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 2:44AM
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I planted two peterson paw paw trees, a shenandoah and a susquehanna, last fall. I also have some paw paw seeds that I have planted in pots and they look like sunflower but I am not sure. I also have a fuyu persimmon and some saijo wood that I am going to graft onto my fuyu to have one tree with two varieties. My fuyu makes fruit every year, but there is usualy a big fruit drop. I am told thagt another variety of persimmon whould aid in polination. Hope you are successful.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 6:51AM
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Will 2 pawpaws of the same variety pollinate each other? The answer to your question is NO. The claim that pawpaw can be self-fertile is just a hoax. When the fruit forms and falls off after two weeks...that means that it has not been fertilized. Sorry for the bad news. Get another variety (or better another 2) and you'll be off to a good start.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 12:40PM
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thecityman, Zone 7a/6b near Nashville

Thanks to all 3 of you for taking time to address my questions/concerns. While it was somewhat bad news about them not self-pollinating, I'd sure rather get that news today than to baby those trees for 5 years and realize I had wasted my time and had to wait another 5 years for a pollinator to reach "breeding" size. AS for the vender I mentioned, you cannot imagine the time and effort I've spent searching on-line tree sellers, then checking reviews on them, ratings, etc. This one really is the best priced and has slightly better than average reviews, and has the 4 x 4 x 10 pots for less than many places sell bare roots. But of course, having never bought from them I wanted to mention them here to see if anyone had any comments- good or bad.
One thing did confuse me a little in Bradybb's response (which was overall very helpful). You said that my odds of getting 2 like kinds from that group was sheer chance but from everything I see on that site, they only have one type of pawpaw. At least they do not mentioned any different varieties. Other sellers often offer multiple types, but that site just says "pawpaw", not even declaring what variety it is that they have, let alone that they don't have but one varierty. SO I would think its almost certain that 2 trees from them would be 2 of the same type??? Again, any other advice would be appreciated. ANd thanks for the links!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 3:42PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

Based on the price ($17.95) for a paw paw tree from, and the lack of indication that they are named varieties, I would guess that they are seedlings. Two seedlings will pollinate one another. Who knows what the quality of the fruit will be though. I would spend the extra money to get grafted named varieties.

There is enough anecdotal evidence from this board and others that the pawpaw variety 'Sunflower' is self fertile. However, this is a rare exception to the rule that pawpaws are not self fertile.

With respect to persimmons, it's not quite accurate to say they are self pollinating. They are self fruitful, and produce fruit without the need for pollination. Without pollination, the fruit are seedless. 'Hachiya' is typically rated as hardy to zone 7 or 8. the nursery you cited says zone 8. If you are really in zone 6a, Hachiya will likely not survive the winter.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 3:53PM
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thecityman, Zone 7a/6b near Nashville

Thanks alex! Most informative. I noticed that site said Hachiya's are rated at 8 and that almost all other sites rate them at 7. I am actually right on the line of 6b and zip code shows 7a and even in the recent cold snap we didn't get below 5 degrees. I know I'm taking a risk with Hachiya but love them enough to try...but thanks very much for pointing it out. I also appreciate your correcting me about calling them self-pollinating. Some may feel its just semantics but I really am trying to learn about fruit trees and its important to me that I learn and understand things like that.
Finally, I was really interested in your theory that for $18 the pawpaws must be seedlings and therefore may produce poor fruit. I'd say you are right about them being seedlings. But if they are (aside from the poor quality fruit problem) would they be able to pollinate each other? what if I get 2 seeds from 2 trees but of the same variety....would they cross pollinate? As for poor fruit quality, I've read elsewhere that pawpaws tend to be "true" in that their seeds usually produce equal or near equal to parents. I know apple seed-grown trees almost never work out, but I heard pawpaws do???? But I am now thinking why risk it? Do I really want to take the chance of working and waiting on trees for 5 years (approx.) only to find out I wasted my time and effort....all to save $50 or so? I'm cheap but maybe not THAT cheap.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Two seeds out of the very same pawpaw fruit should be genetically different. They are not "true" to their parent exactly from a genetic standpoint, but more similar to their parent than many other fruits. If they are seedlings they should cross pollinate each other.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 5:51PM
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thecityman, Zone 7a/6b near Nashville

eboone- simple, to the point, and incredibly helpful...thank-you. Now I'm leaning back to trying these. If I get my 2 persimmons, 2 pawpaws, and 2 plums I get free shiping (order>$100=free ship). Its a huge savings and I'm not hearing any bad stories about these guys and have read a few good ones. Unless someone else tells me its a big mistake, I guess I'll go for it and then keep my eyes out for another pawpaw or 2 in the coming year or two. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 6:16PM
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I ordered 9 cultivars of pecan 2 persimmon and 2 asian pear from them this year all bareroot. I general I am happy their prices and selection on pecans was hard to beat the other fruits I just kind of added on. The persimmon were about 4 foot, every thing was root pruned a little closer than I thought needed. One of the pear really worried about but in general pleased so far.

Most of the advise above I agree with particularly spending a few dollars more for grafted Paw Paw. I don't know about Sunflower claim of self-pollination either and I will never be certain as I have others in vicinity.
I don't think with those 2 cultivars of persimmon it will make any difference as I don't believe either produces male flowers, but don't worry they will set fruit just fine and be seedless, Saijo is a good selection for your zone. Hachiya a little more risky. I grow both and Hachiya is not as hardy Saijo. I just ordered another Saijo from them for 14.95 and free shipping very reasonable

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:40PM
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deleting duplicate post

This post was edited by strudeldog on Tue, Jan 21, 14 at 20:50

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:48PM
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thecityman, Zone 7a/6b near Nashville

AWESOME! Its always reassuring to hear directly from someone who has had dealings with a vendor and still has fairly good things to say.

to everyone, the only reason I'm so devoted to hachiya is that its one of the only 2 persimmons I have ever tasted (other was fuyu). I fell madly in love with the soft, SWEET taste. For me, I admit, its all about the sweetness. If there are other varieties that compare and/or exceed the sweet, soft taste of hachiya, and might be safer on the border of zone 7a/6b, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I can accept smaller size, though that's another reason I loved hachiya. But having a tree survive the winter and still be close to hachiya would be most important. thanks

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:57PM
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I would just like to back up what others have already stated. I would highly suggest ordering 2 different grafted varieties of pawpaw. Of the many available any of Neal Peterson's 6 varieties are hard to beat when it comes to flavor and in most cases size of fruit. They are all excellent. I have tasted many pawpaws from seedling grown trees to tell you there is a HUGE difference in size and quality. It's a lot of time wasted if you plant seedling trees later to find out the fruits are not all that good. It is a gamble at best.
I would also agree that hachiya is not a great choice persimmon for your zone - at least not long term. Saijo on the other hand should do great.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 2:15PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

>As for poor fruit quality, I've read elsewhere that
>pawpaws tend to be "true" in that their seeds
>usually produce equal or near equal to parents.

I have heard this also, but even if it is true, which I believe it is, there is no information at the web site about the parent plants.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 3:13PM
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thecityman, Zone 7a/6b near Nashville

You know, alexander3, I'm feeling pretty sill for not catching that myself. I've been so worried about whether or not the seedling pawpaws would produce fruit with quality/quantity as good as the "parents" that I never considered whether the parents produced great fruit. And as you said, the site doesn't mention it so that's a little bizarre. I think I'm just going to order more of the persimmons to get to the $100 free shipping mark and buy GRAFTED pawpaws later. Thanks for everyone who helped me-again-on this thread!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:57PM
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Pawpaws aren't difficult to graft and take some time to establish.

2-3 years from now you may be so excited about growing fruit trees that you've learned to graft. If you plant those seedlings now you can topwork them later and graft any variety you like that you can get some dormant prunings of to use as scion wood.

You can graft over most of the tree and leave a branch of the seedlings as extra source of pollen for your superior selected varieties.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:49PM
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thecityman, Zone 7a/6b near Nashville

Seriously, Murky, what you just suggested is brilliant! GREAT IDEA! For one, you are 100% right, I've already got fruit tree fever bad enough that I KNOW I'm going to learn how to graft this summer! I'll probably be doing silly things like taking scion from one tree and putting it on another and vice versa, even though I'll have both varieties in full, just so I can practice and learn to graft. Second, your plan would leave me with some good sized paw paws in a few years, at which time I can 1) do what you suggested and topwork them with better variety if I need to. Also, since I have plenty of space in my "orchard" I can still buy and plant some better varieties in the next few years if I want to. Then if the seedlings don't work out, I can either cut them down or rework them. In short, your suggestion would only cost me about $30 dollars now and would give me several options in a few years, whereas if I do nothing and/or just keep looking for the "right" pawpaw, I may easily let a year or two slip by with no progress.

Can I please ask one related but slightly off topic question? I have a good looking mature, but healthy, crabtree that is probably 6-8 inch diameter trunk. I'd like to topwork it into a good fruiting apple, which I've read is very possible. But here is my question....which would be FASTER (in terms of getting a good fruit producing apple tree that is producing a good crop)....topworking my crabapple or cutting it down and just planting a new, potted, 5-6 foot apple tree? On one hand, the top worked tree obviously already has a large, well developed root system that could support a new top graft. But on the other hand, a 5-7 foot tall tree that already has SOME roots that are ready to start spreading/growing seems like it is at least 2 years ahead of the small scion I'd need to graft onto the 3-4 foot stump, and there graft would take some time to heal and start growing (I assume). I've wondered about this for a long time and for other situations I have. So, in short, is it faster to plant a good, tall, root balled tree or to cut down a decent tree and top work it with new scion. (This assumes I have both available, and that the topwork graft is successful). Thanks

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:23AM
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