With our early spring weather this year, pawpaws and other fruit are a tad earlier. Usually most pawpaws are just starting to ripen now in KY, but this year we’re already at the peak. And boy, is the quality GOOD this year! Wow. If you’re curious about pawpaws, read up on our pawpaw page and check out KSU’s (Kentucky State University) pawpaw site. Pawpaws are easy to grow if you follow a few basics. I’ll cover those briefly here:
1) Pawpaws do best on well-drained, fertile, full sun sites.
2) Pawpaws need sun protection until waist high or so. Grafted trees do not require sun protection and can be planted out (but still need hardening off if purchased leafed-out)
3) Pawpaws need a genetically different mate for cross-pollination. This means two or more seedlings or 2 or more different named cultivars (Sunflower and KSU Atwood, for instance).
4) Pawpaws need lots of mulch, water and fertilizer. These plants originated in very fertile, moist, mulched Eastern USA woodlands and waterways. Mimic this, except give full sun. They need zero weed/lawn/grass competition.
5) Pawpaws should be planted close together for good pollination. The more the merrier, and the more fruit production.
6) Hand pollination creates super high yields.
7) Many cultivars for sale in other nurseries are lousy. Ours are never lousy or low-quality. We only sell the best. Examples include: Wilson.
8) Pawpaws love rich compost and organic fertilizers like fish emulsion and manure. Only ever use these materials on top of the ground surface and never in the hole at planting.
9) While disease and insect-resistant, they are not IMMUNE. They do suffer from Phylosticta and other leaf funguses and some insects such as Ambrosia beetles, Japanese beetles and peduncle borers can be a problem. The best strategy? Start with excellent, healthy trees. Plant on a good site. Mulch, water and fertilize well. If you do these things your issues with them will be few, except finding space to fit just a few more pawpaws (after you taste your first fruits).
If you want great pawpaw trees, check in with us when our sales open each year in December or in June!