Grafting Paw Paw

charlieboringAugust 29, 2012

I have recently ordered a small Shenandoah and a Susquehanna paw paw seedling for delivery in October. In northern VA is it advisable to immediately plant them in their designated lanscaping spots and allow them to overwinter there or to pot them and keep them in a cold garage and put them out in the spring?

I eventually want to graft a scion from each species onto the other to help with polination. What type of graft should I use?

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I only planted pawpaws in the fall once and those guys adapted far better than the ones I planted in the spring. Not sure if that was just based on the plant quality or some other factor however. I have heard that pawpaws don't grow roots over the winter like most fruit trees and so spring is preferred. But that does not jibe with my own experience. So, I would just plant them now, I don't think it matters a lot.

Pawpaws work with any kind of graft. Make sure to wait until the leaves are a couple inches long before grafting, all my failures were when I grafted too early. For new trees I would not graft this coming spring, the trees are still adapting and the chance of graft failure is high due to lack of vigor. I would either do bud grafts the following fall or wait for spring '14 and do whip or some other graft then.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 9:17AM
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alan haigh

So that's why my paw paw grafts keep failing. I waited this year until they were in growth but leaves not yet developed and only one graft of 7 took. At least it grew very well.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 10:38AM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I don't see any advantage to waiting until spring, and a lot of things can go wrong if you overwinter in the garage.

I will say that rabbits will bite off a small pawpaw, so a cage is a good idea if they are small.

These will arrive in pots, correct? If they are bare root, you should consider growing them in large pots with a coarse well drained potting mix for a year. In my limited experience, that helps with their recovery.

I have had success with whip&tongue, cleft graft, and bark graft, either when the leaves were less than an inch, or when they were a few inches long.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I've had decent takes grafting dormant pawpaw wood as late as August - the trees are still growing at this point and the grafts take well in the heat. Just be sure if you graft late to protect with a sun shield.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Creekweb, could I ask you to give a detailed description of how you make a sun shield? Or you wouldn't have a photo, would you? Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Very low tech here. I just take a piece of aluminum foil and fold it over once to increase thickness and then form it into the shape of a narrow cone around the graft anchoring it to the stock just below the graft merely by pressing it around the branch. I allow the shield to extend about an inch beyond the end of the scionwood.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 9:01AM
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Thanks, Creek. So if I understand correctly, the scion would be exposed to light from straight above but sheltered on all four sides? Does the cone collect water? Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 9:58AM
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The shield protects the graft from direct sunlight but allows some indirect light. It is not so snug against the branch all around so as to collect any water.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Thanks again, Creek. I wonder what you other species you or anyone else shields in similar fashion.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:45AM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

I think that the Kentucky State site has recommended against T-budding in terms of grafting pawppaw, but they said that every other form of grafting is recommended.
John S

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 6:15PM
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I use shielding on most of my pawpaw and persimmon grafts where I know it increases my percent of successful takes. Have not used it on stone or pome or citrus fruit tree grafts or others, though I can see where it may be useful for kiwi.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:12AM
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