Training Pawpaw

c5tigerFebruary 16, 2013

I am worried this tree will be forked, should I cut the left branch off or let both grow. The top was broken during shipping and this is how it grew.

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Yes, looks like a future disaster in a storm. I would definitely remove the left branch if it were my tree.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:06AM
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alan haigh

Yes, paw paw wood is brittle. Removing it is no big deal as far as growth but if you really want to keep it you can bend branch to opposite direction and stake or spread it to near horizontal and leader will become more dominant and then connection will strengthen.

The branch would then likely hold your first small crop but could be replaced down the road for one that continues in same direction as it begins- the preferable scenario.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:24AM
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I had a root-generated sucker that grew up similarly, one that I planned to cleft graft with a good variety a year later. Since they were both angled outward rather than being verticle, I tied them together to straighten both out. The taller side grew thicker, faster, and upright. I will now clip off the sidekick branch and do the graft. In your case, the smaller branch could serve the same purpose, except in a year it could be used as graftwood for another tree in need of grafting for upgrading.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:05AM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

You don't have to cut it off altogether, you could prune it (the one on the left) back to a bud. That should encourage it to act more like a scaffold branch rather than a competing leader, and might get you a couple extra fruit the first time it bears.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Thanks for the advice. I think I will just cut it off and be done with it. It is only a foot off the ground and I don't need a limb that low so I will cut it off.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:24PM
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alan haigh

makes sense

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Why don't you save the branch as scionwood for a graft on another tree, assuming it's a named variety (and legal to propagate). If you don't have another tree in your yard, you could graft it to a wild tree somewhere, then have your own secret special improved tree. Or...if it's something interesting you could send it to me!


    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:17AM
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would someone please inform me what exactly a pawpaw is? i looked it up and it seems like a tropical fruit, but on here it seems like a type of pear. and also, why would it be illegal to graft it onto another tree?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:45AM
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There are a number of varieties of paw paw which are a member of the tropical plant family, however these are not tropical. They are in fact the largest fruit that grows in North America naturally. Regarding legality, when someone patents a particular variety that they invented, it is illegal to propogate it without permission of the patent holder.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 6:18AM
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I have a mango and suquahanna, this is the susquahanna so it I can't use the scion.
The rest of the world calls papaya pawpaw that might be what you are looking at, it is a tropical plant.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:42AM
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In general with small pawpaw trees I would err on the side of being more conservative, leaving the branch and widening the angle just because you really want these small trees to put on vegetative mass ASAP. But your tree seems to be vigorous enough that you can go either way, and if you do remove the branch, it should recover quickly.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:33AM
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so its a papaya? and how do people make a new type of fruit? and how would they know if it is their fruit growing in your back yard?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 2:31PM
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The pawpaw is a tree native to the US and will grow most anywhere. The fruit has a short shelf life so it is not grown commercially, you may find some at a farmers market in season. The fruit looks like a green potato.

If you do a google search for pawpaw you may find some references to what we call papaya. I know Australia and African countries call papaya pawpaw. This is something totally different and will not take freezing weather.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to pawpaw info - NOT papaya

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Paw paw is not a papaya. Paw paw is a native species that grows in North America.

People make a new type of fruit by selectively breeding just like any other tree. Paw paw, like most other fruit has many varieties. Some patented, some not. If the variety is patented, it is illegal to propagate without permission from the patent holder.

No one would know if you illegally propagated a tree unless you did it on a large scale. Most people are good and honest and don't like to steal from others.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:43PM
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alan haigh

Paw paw is in the custard fruit family that includes cherimoya, a fairly well known tropical fruit but not one imported to the U.S. I used to pick them in S. CA as a boy and they are delicious. My brother grows them in Hawaii.

Paw Paw is the only member of this family that can take a U. S. winter.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 5:36AM
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