Answer: A papaya's natural habit is to develop a long trunk topped by what seems like a disproportionately small amount of foliage. Yellowing of lower leaves is quite natural. Papaya's require a warm, exceedingly well-drained location. Although papayas, being the tropical beasts they are, love water, cold wet soils often result in root rots which causes foliage drop and a stunted look at the top. Make sure the location drains well (such as a slope) and receives some reflected heat in winter. If you're planning to continue growing papayas, keep in mind that they are short-lived and you should always keep a fresh crop coming along.
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