Permaculture forum: Pawpaw Guild

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(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 2, 2012 7:01 PM CST
I have some nice understory on my property and plan to put in a pawpaw. Does anyone have any suggestions regarding which plants would make good companions?

Thanks.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
May 2, 2012 7:29 PM CST

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I've never grown pawpaw but I know that it wants an understory environment while it's getting started in life, but once established it will want full sun.

As for companions, I think of the usual suspects for fruit trees: daffodils, mints, garlics, annual legumes, bee balm, etc.
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 2, 2012 7:57 PM CST
Thanks for the input, Dave. I have to ask, though, in what type of habitat would a pawpaw find understory that later becomes full sun?
Name: Jill
Weatherby, Missouri (Zone 5a)
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Dayjillymo
May 2, 2012 8:12 PM CST
Tom,

We had Pawpaw wild where I grew up. They grew alongside redbuds in a truly understory location. They would sprout and grow to fruit stage underneath mature stands of elm, hackberry and hickory. We didn't have maples in my part of Missouri much. They didn't grow much where it was brushy or in a dense thicket, but in open woods where the mature trees were spaced out a bit - they were mostly in shade with a dappled sun effect. We went to the woods to search for Morel mushrooms in the second week in April, and the Pawpaws were blooming with their little brown tulip blossoms, and the redbuds blooms were sharing space with tiny heart shaped leaves at that time of year. Pawpaws didn't grow much more than 8 feet tall - and I never saw one with a large trunk - maybe a 3 inch diameter max. Best of luck with your Pawpaws! Thumbs up
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 2, 2012 8:41 PM CST
Jill said:Tom,

We had Pawpaw wild where I grew up. They grew alongside redbuds in a truly understory location. They would sprout and grow to fruit stage underneath mature stands of elm, hackberry and hickory. We didn't have maples in my part of Missouri much. They didn't grow much where it was brushy or in a dense thicket, but in open woods where the mature trees were spaced out a bit - they were mostly in shade with a dappled sun effect. We went to the woods to search for Morel mushrooms in the second week in April, and the Pawpaws were blooming with their little brown tulip blossoms, and the redbuds blooms were sharing space with tiny heart shaped leaves at that time of year. Pawpaws didn't grow much more than 8 feet tall - and I never saw one with a large trunk - maybe a 3 inch diameter max. Best of luck with your Pawpaws! Thumbs up


Jill,

Thanks for the input. The place I have in mind is at the end of my drain field, in the bottom land. In the pictures that follow, you will see that the property comes to a point past the end of the septic mound. It is quite open back there, but lots of old growth trees on both sides.

Thumb of 2012-05-03/TomNJ/b384c5

This picture is a little better. This was taken before we had the septic done. This is looking right into the point that is at the end of the septic field. It is a large area that receives dappled shade during the day and direct sun late in the day.


Thumb of 2012-05-03/TomNJ/073ef9
Name: Jill
Weatherby, Missouri (Zone 5a)
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Dayjillymo
May 2, 2012 9:23 PM CST
You should do well planting there, but you should keep an eye on sufficient water for the first couple of months until the pawpaws become well established. I think once they get a good toe-hold, they will do fine. Best of luck!
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 2, 2012 10:11 PM CST
Jill said:You should do well planting there, but you should keep an eye on sufficient water for the first couple of months until the pawpaws become well established. I think once they get a good toe-hold, they will do fine. Best of luck!


Thanks. I don't think water will be an issue as my property is in wetlands. If you look closely at the pictures you may notice that there is a stream that runs up the right side of the photos.
central Illinois
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jmorth
May 3, 2012 12:44 AM CST
Here's how I handled the understory to full sun transition -
Young trees are susceptible to sun damage the first 2 years. To remedy that I planted Kong Sunflowers in the same area I planted 2 trees. These sunflowers grow so tall so fast, they performed an admiral job of shade protection. Being self seeders, the sunflowers returned to fulfill said duty the following year.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 3, 2012 4:36 PM CST
jmorth said:Here's how I handled the understory to full sun transition -
Young trees are susceptible to sun damage the first 2 years. To remedy that I planted Kong Sunflowers in the same area I planted 2 trees. These sunflowers grow so tall so fast, they performed an admiral job of shade protection. Being self seeders, the sunflowers returned to fulfill said duty the following year.


Great idea. Thank you.


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hazelnut
May 4, 2012 12:22 PM CST
I like JMorth's idea. Ive tried unsuccessfully to grow paw paws. They do need some kind of shade for the first few years and then grow into the sun. I should think some kind of cover to provide the shade for the young plants to get them through their vulnerable period. And then some kind of open shade situation. Mine got too hot --too much sun, and probably didn't get enough water either. Im still trying.

http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/asitri/all.ht...

According to this description paw paws like to grow in colonies, as do American persimmons.
[Last edited by hazelnut - May 4, 2012 12:28 PM (+)]
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central Illinois
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jmorth
May 5, 2012 12:35 AM CST
Definitely colonizers...started w/ 2 now there's 4. This is the first year mine have flowered and if I'm not mistaken, are setting fruit.
Thumb of 2012-05-05/jmorth/36622a Thumb of 2012-05-05/jmorth/efd164
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
May 5, 2012 10:54 AM CST
I planted two new ones last year (or maybe it was year before last) and they are growing well. They get part-shade.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
(Zone 6a)
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TomNJ
May 5, 2012 2:16 PM CST
jmorth said:Definitely colonizers...started w/ 2 now there's 4. This is the first year mine have flowered and if I'm not mistaken, are setting fruit.
Thumb of 2012-05-05/jmorth/36622a Thumb of 2012-05-05/jmorth/efd164


Nice pics.

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hazelnut
May 5, 2012 5:17 PM CST
I don't think Ive ever seen the paw paw blossom. They are beautiful.

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GeddyFlea
May 23, 2012 9:41 PM CST
I've seen someone plant Paw Paw with Black Locust

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