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My pawpaw sapling survived the winter!

Posted by nick_b79 z4 MN (My Page) on
Wed, May 25, 11 at 20:44

I planted a 'Sunflower' pawpaw sapling last spring from Burnt Ridge Nursery, and it grew admirably last summer. It added approximately 6" of new growth despite a less than stellar planting by me (I disturbed the roots badly while removing it from the pot). It is planted in a sheltered spot by a row of evergreens, but to protect it for the winter I put a few straw bales around it to form a windbreak of sorts and insulate the soil around it. The remaining 1' of sapling that stuck out above the bales was exposed to the elements until drifted over by snow mid-winter. According to my backyard weather station, our low temp of the year was -22F for one night, along with two other nights at -21F.

Much to my dismay, it just wasn't leafing out this spring. I'd pretty much given up on it until I noticed a few leaves while mowing the yard this weekend! All of it's buds are now opening, even the ones at the very tips that I was afraid would have frozen back.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My pawpaw sapling survived the winter!

Good to hear. I have heard these are slow to leaf out. Despite the length of the winter, I had no losses I think, because of the deep snow. Even stuff I planted as annuals that are supposed to be zone 6 survived.


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RE: My pawpaw sapling survived the winter!

I didn't realize there was one that grew here. Yet another item for my list.


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RE: My pawpaw sapling survived the winter!

Yeah, that 80" of the white stuff was finally good for something after all :-) Just in case, I'm still going to set up straw bales every winter for the next few years to baby it along until it's more established (I've heard that more established plants can become hardier over time).


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RE: My pawpaw sapling survived the winter!

That's good to know ... I planted two this year (One pennsylvania golden and one seedling no name variety) - I'm hoping Minneapolis has a heat island effect enough to sustain them, but just in case I'll protect them this winter too.


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RE: My pawpaw sapling survived the winter!

People with pawpaw trees growing in zone 4 should keep in touch, because, once the trees get to the point where they are flowering and can bear fruit, it's hard to find a pollinator (and pawpaws are not self fruitful). The normal procedure for pawpaw growers is to mail each other flowers in the spring once they've reached the male stage (when pollen starts to form in the flowers). We should send around flowers from hardy plants. My largest pawpaw is ten feet tall and fruits, but only because I drove a flower up from southern Missouri last spring and hand pollinated it from the flower (after leaving the flower in the fridge for two weeks or so, because of our much later spring).


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