Paw Paw Harvest

Darren Wright

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Springfield, Missouri
I noticed a few Paw Paws on the ground tonight, so started checking for ripeness. Sure enough, time to start picking before the critters get them all. These were just about a 1/4 of the ones on the tree, none are very big though.
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I've found a small grove of them back behind the barn, so will have to go see how many are on them. I plan to put these through a strainer and will make some ice cream or bread, freezing some for future goodies.

I sampled one tonight, about the same size as the one here in the bowl, all those seeds came out of it. I've of course cleaned the membranes off them and am preparing to save them for future plantings.
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Very cool. I planted three seedlings a few years back that were gifted by my master gardener neighbor. He traded with other master gardeners and gave me stock from a colony at Mt Vernon, another from Monticello and a third from the Colonial National Historical Park at Yorktown. It is recommended to have stock from at least two different colonies to ensure fruiting, as the trees in a colony are usually genetically identical. You probably already have a few separate colonies/patches on the farm.
My tallest is about ten feet and hopefully will give me some fruit in a couple of years.
 
Hazel nuts are a nice find too!
Sounds like I wasn’t very clear in my post.
I meant that the pawpaws form colonies because they tend to spread by root suckers and what you might think are a group of separate trees are actually genetically identical. As I understand it, the trees in such a group need pollen from another group (paw paw patch) for optimum fruit production, so it looks like your farm already has those separate patches and you shouldn’t have to worry when you plant your seeds.
 
Hazel nuts are a nice find too!
Sounds like I wasn’t very clear in my post.
I meant that the pawpaws form colonies because they tend to spread by root suckers and what you might think are a group of separate trees are actually genetically identical. As I understand it, the trees in such a group need pollen from another group (paw paw patch) for optimum fruit production, so it looks like your farm already has those separate patches and you shouldn’t have to worry when you plant your seeds.
Ok, gottcha. Yeah, the big patch behind the barn are a lot of smaller trees, so not sure they are producing just yet either, but will try get some of another area planted back there. Several will be taken out when I have the pond dam repaired next spring back there.
 
The experimental extension center at Mt Vernon has a grove and a lot of info on Paw Paws. They also have a few right there at the center that you can go and pick them too. I had 3 gals of pulp when I moved and had to get rid of it. Sure wish I had some to make some Ice Cream and Paw Paw butter. Maybe next year when I get moved back up there.
 
I've been following and reading up on them from the University of MO extension center and their center for Agroforestry, which I think is the Mt Vernon extension. I have yet to visit there. I plan to start planting a few chestnut trees from their program, start some walnut seedlings in the spring from this falls nuts, and would like to add in some paw paws to the walnut grove as well that is already established. I'll be saving seeds to start from this years harvest to plant in the spring after stratifying them in the fridge over the winter, along with the walnut nuts/seeds.

I think we're still looking at a 3 - 5 year production from the paw paws, but that is pretty short is comparison to many nut trees. I need to look into if there is any evidence of them producing faster from grafts, though grafts still take 3 - 5 years to fully heal, so not sure there is much benefit in going that route.

We have several pecan trees around the pond that are producing, but so far in the past couple of years, they've not produced any nuts that are of good quality. Partially due to drought or fungus issues. They are looking better this season. If one is producing a better nut than the others, I may consider grafting some of it's limbs to some hickories around here. Planting pecans from seed will not guarantee the same nut on the tree, nor will it produce for 20 years, but grafting a parents limbs to another host will provide nuts in 3 - 5 years and be of the exact same nut as the parent.
 
I bought some Paw Paw plants from a guy that was at one of vendors at the annual Chestnut meeting up in the Bonneville area if I remember right. He was getting 1lb Paw Paws from a 3 year old hybrid tree. That is the way I would go. Sorry I cant remember the name of co but if I remember right he was from the Louisiana Mo area. The Mt Vernon extension might be able to tell you more.
 
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