Can you top prune a pawpaw tree to keep it at a smaller height?

armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)April 17, 2013

Just curious when a pawpaw reaches 10-12ft tall, can you top prune it to keep around that height? My trees are still very small and I know they grow slow so just wanted to know for 5 years from now :).

On a sidenote:
I just took my pawpaw trees out of their very large pots I put them in last year ... They came as 3year old plants about 3-4ft tall and came bareroot. I also had 2 that were not bareroot and about 1.5-2ft tall that I got at the same time. So slowly washing away the soil around them to see how they did in the pots... I can tell that after one season, most of the bareroots ones still had the taproot with nothing much around it... But the non-bareroots which already had some decent roots had more roots around it. Non-bareroots had nice webbing of white nice roots around it vs bareroots which had the one long black taproot with a couple thick black roots around it but no 'fresh'/white roots around it (except one plant which had just 1 fresh white root coming out of the black root). I rubbed the bark and they still alive though but probably will grow slow again this year (Maybe I should top prune those guys to bring them into balance?).... Basically, just wanted to say buying the non-bareroots its worth the extra cost of shipping.

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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


Pawpaws are very slow growing trees. The only one that grow a little faster is Mango. As I recalled, my Mango pawpaw took a good 6 years to reach 8 feet tall and about 6 feet wide without any pruning. FYI, pawpaw wood is one of the weakest of all woods. So don't grow it near a big tree because falling branches will damage them easily. You can prune the top to keep them at 12 feet tall but you have to wait a long while. One negative note on pawpaw is the fruit goes bad real quick. You have to pulp and freeze for later use. In addition, pawpaw may require hand pollination for better fruit set.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:31AM
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I have a very small pawpaw that is only a few feet tall that has fruit buds for the first time this year.

I've grafted another variety to it and there are at least 2 varieties that are going to flower this year.

Do you think a very small tree can support some fruit and still continue growing? If the answer is no, will it abort the fruits itself or do I need to remove them.

If I leave it be it would probably be a moot point because the odds are it wouldn't get pollinated but I'm sure I won't be able to resist the temptation to transfer some pollen myself.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 3:23PM
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alan haigh

Once they are established, some varieties are rather vigorous. I prune mine and prune any species to the shape I want. Only topping a tree and not coming back to tend to it is a bad plan.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 3:26PM
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armyofda12mnkeys(7a, Philly, PA)

Cool, thanks for the advice guys.

murky, if its only a few feet tall, under 3 ft?, then definately don't let it fruit. Pawpaws are already so slow growing, why waste all its energy to just get 1/2 fruit early?
Peaches/plums for example, are so faster growing so i sometimes leave 1 or 2 fruit on to taste 2nd year.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:19PM
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