pawpaw, pest or cultural issue?

m_taggart(7b)April 16, 2012

I bought and planted two pawpaw trees, approximately 3.5 feet in height, on March 10. The trees were still dormant when I planted them. The first began to leaf out around Apr 1. It has continued to leaf out and is looking pretty good. The second one is planted about 10 feet away and began to show signs of leafing out about a week ago. Since then, a couple leaves have sprouted from the buds only to black a bit and seem to die. The first plant shows signs of a little pest damage. I have not seen any type of bug or pest on either. Any idea what's going on here?

I planted both to the same depth that they were at in the pots. The roots were in good condition. I put only a small amount of kelp meal and compost in the ole when I planted them. No synthetic fertilizer. Should I be patient? Your advice is appreciated.

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Odd, pawpaws don't really have any real predatory pests other than zebra tail butterflies, and those only go after the fruit, not the leaves.

Have you had any large temperature swings since the second one started leafing?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:29PM
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I'm near the triangle, in NC. No real extreme temperature swings and certainly no frosts since they started leafing out. I just went out to take a look at them and found 1 slug on the ground, quite a few sow bugs milling about on the ground, and an earwig on a very small newly emerging leaf. Could the earwigs be suspect?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:43PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would go with.. and w/o a pic its pure speculation ... transplant shock.. for a reason that will never be identified ...

i dont really understand how one could jump to bugs ... inside of 4 weeks on site ...

and i would NEVER spray a recent transplant ... it has been shocked enough ...

i suggest at least a couple more months of observation.. before you come to any conclusions...


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:10AM
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I will get a pic and post it Wed or Thurs. The reason I suspected insects was the obvious insect damage on the other pawpaw and the slugs, sow bugs, and earwigs on and around the plant at night. I'm aware that all of these critters prefer young leaves, so I took a wild guess.

I have absolutely no intention of spraying anything. I don't use synthetic pesticides and am not aware of any sprays that combat the aforementioned pests. If I were to try anything, it would be trapping and maybe escar-go for the slugs. I set some beer traps last night and caught two. I'll give it some time and see what happens.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:50PM
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The only insect damage I have had on my pawpaws has been from the Zebra Swallowtail caterpillar. On a very small tree they can do enough chewing to be significant. I started pulling them off, but when I started seeing too much damage I resorted to bT, a biological agent. It did the trick. Do you have those butterflies floating around this early? You'll usually see eggs on the leaves that look like tiny pearls.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 10:11PM
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I visited a huge pawpaw patch about 10 miles away to see what they would look like full size and did see some Zebra swallowtails. I haven't seen any on my own trees and have been looking daily for the caterpillars. I have not yet found any insects on the plants during the day other than those I've listed.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 10:39PM
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