What Paw Paw varieties are best for pacific northwest?

eukofiosJuly 2, 2011

I'm buying a place with a bigger yard and would like to add some Paw Paw trees, but only if I have a chance to see fruit in my lifetime - I'm planning on living at least 10 more years, 30 if I can quit the potato chips.

My grandfather grew Paw Paws in the midwest. My climate is quite different, with cool summers and rainy wet winters. There is maybe 1 week of freezing per year.

Other fruits that do well here in my yard are apples, pears, cherries, grapes and figs. For some, I have to choose late-blooming varieties due to late spring frosts, and early ripening varieties due to cool summers.

One nursery offers the following varieties of Paw Paws: Mitchell, Mango, Sunflower, Taylor, Taytwo, Pennsylvania golden, and NC-1.

Anybody want to weigh-in on the best choices for my area? Will they bear fruit in my lifetime? Don't bother? I can probably afford 2 or 3 trees if I don't tell my "supervisor."

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I've eaten fruit from local trees. Don't worry about getting them to grow or fruit. The only reason I am not growing the tree myself is the small grafts we ordered and planted on my friend's Camano Island place were destroyed by slugs. So apparently you have to watch for those on small specimens where slugs are prevalent.

Jacobson, Trees of Seattle - Second Edition (2006) gives addresses for examples there as much as 28' tall. He does also say you have to choose particular cultivars for ability to ripen consistently in this area. If the list you give here is from the Burnt Ridge catalog they are growing all of those there in Onalaska.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 12:39PM
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Was the fruit from local trees good? I read that paw paws are very variable. I like that they are not easily obtained, but I would hate to spend a lot on them then have soemething inedible! Still, I think I will take a chance. Slug bait is easily applied - I use it for my other slug-attracting plants too. I read that they need an overhead shelter for the first couple of years. I can build one if needed. I'll look up Burnt Ridge's selections. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:40PM
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Below is a good link to info on growing pawpaw. It states that the required climate has "warm to hot summers", a growing season of 160 days, and 2600 growing degree days to ripen the fruit.

It sounds like you might be a tad cool, but then again if you can grow figs and grapes, you should be fine with Pawpaw.

And I can definitely recommend Burnt Ridge.
Good luck

Link: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ho-220.pdf

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:45PM
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jethro75(Z 5 N Central PA)

I read the article linked above, good resource. The one thing I read in it and heard before is that deer do not eat them. I am not convinced of this. I planted one paw paw this spring (my first) and fenced it. I had two other trees ordered but had not received them yet. Between planting the first and receiving the other two, I read where deer don�t eat them. So i didn't fence the last two. The fence one has huge leaves and is doing well, the last two as of last night have all the leaves stripped off and the tops nipped off of them. I am going to fence them and hope they bounce back. If they do no one will be able to convince me that deer don't eat them.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 2:02PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

The big thing for the PNW is heat units, as some have alluded to. Better to buy early ripening types. I have had three producing paw paw trees in Portland and all of them ripened on time, but they were in full sun. If it's a baby, it will need to have shade from full sun for 1st, maybe 2nd year. ALl 3 of mine were unnamed seedlings, and the flavor was different. I'm going to try to graft the one kind on to my seedlings. One ripened in Sept. and two in Oct. They are amazingly productive, delicious, nutritious and pest/disease free. Beautiful tree too, with big leaves and yellow fall color. I left them at my old house. I tried to move one and it died. With their taproot, they don't like to be moved. One Green World, in Molalla OR has tastings of different exotic fruit at their fall harvest show. I have tasted several fruit trees before deciding to buy or not buy them.
John S

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 4:12PM
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bear_with_me(8 Pacific NW)

This is a follow up. The original post was me, but I left for a while, and when I returned, it was with a different screen name.

I did wind up buying 3 paw paw trees, from a local nursery. We finalized on the place in July, so that was when I bought them. Not wanting to wait until the next year.

I planted carefully, and watered every week that first summer. I was surprised they survived, but they did.

The varieties were Sunflower, NC-1, and Rebecca's Gold. I since read that RG is a bad choice due to being later, didn't know that then.

At the end of the trees' 3rd fall now, NC-1 grew the best, now 5 feet tall, Sunflower a bit less, 4 feet tall. RG was eaten off twice by rabbits, but has grown to all of 18 inches tall now with a protective screen in place.

This spring, NC-1 and Sunflower both bloomed, but neither fruited despite my playing the fly with a paintbrush.

I still don't know if they will fruit at my place in Battleground WA, but it looks promising they survived.

It was very foggy when I took the photo. It gives a general idea of the tree's growth compared to other species I planted the same year.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I'm up the highway in Redmond.About three years ago I planted an NC-1 and a Mango.I've read that the Mango variety is one of the fastest growing,but NC-1 grew more this year.Both are too young to fruit yet,although the NC-1 flowered for the first time.
About two years ago a nice grower sent me a Wabash whip and I picked up a Sunflower at a local nursery.They were in big pots,growing fine and I wanted to plant them in the ground and did so last Spring,as they were starting to grow.At that time,the temps shot up at least 20 degrees in one day and they got zapped.Both lost leaves,but they came back and the Sunflower even had blossoms for the second time but it looks like the plant didn't survive.The Wabash looks okay and is my biggest,probably close to your NC-1 in size.The leaves are a little small,but still has green under the bark.
I also have some three year old's,started from seed,in containers. Brady

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 10:08PM
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I just ate a very ripe pawpaw fruit given from a tree a few blocks away in SE Portland, not too distant from Battleground. The guy had quite a few fruits in his fridge. The tree is easily 15 feet tall and is probably not more than 10years old. I was given another fruit from this tree 5 years ago. Not sure of the variety, but likely purchased from One Green World.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2014 at 10:48PM
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