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Author Topic: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread  (Read 2871 times)

Triloba Tracker

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2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« on: March 14, 2016, 03:00:16 PM »
On a whim decided to make this thread......for the second year running I have plans to hand-pollinate a few pawpaw patches in my area.

I don't have any of my own, so my only means to a fall pawpaw feast is via wild trees.

I plan to post here as I wait for the flowers to open and then will update with progress.

As of 3/6, I observed some flower buds definitely bulging but not terribly far along. I'm overdue for another status check.

I'd welcome other folks in other locales to post here when they see their first pawpaw flowers.

googer

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 09:24:08 PM »
I'd welcome other folks in other locales to post here when they see their first pawpaw flowers.

Kentucky reporting for duty.

If memory serves correctly, I saw flowers around mid-April last year in this area. I've read that plant leafing/florescence moves northward at a rate of 17 miles per day, which leads me to believe you should expect flowers in early April. However, it's shaping up to be an early spring this year, and I have a feeling the trees may flower earlier this year. I'll be watching this thread carefully over the next few weeks.

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2016, 12:12:59 PM »
I have my dad acting as my intelligence agent - he has wild trees right in his backyard in Montgomery County, TN (good bit north of me).

He sent this today:



Wish it was closer and better quality, but I was at his place last Saturday 3/12 and the buds were just brown fuzzy spheres. So they seem to be moving fast (though i've never monitored flower progression before). Tuesday this week we were in the low 80's.

BIG concern that temps are expected to dip very close, if not just below, freezing this weekend.

I need to get out and check progress on my target wild trees this weekend.

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2016, 10:57:03 PM »
Checked my local patch today and flowers are in full swing.

However, only female-stage at this point. No mature pollen was observed on any flowers. So I guess these early flowers will just end up being pollen sources for the next round.
I did spot ladybird beetles inside multiple flowers.





googer

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2016, 01:23:07 PM »
Gorgeous flowers. Everything about these plants is awesome.

If you're getting flowers now, I expect we'll see our first flowers up here shortly. I'll make an expedition to the known spots next weekend and see if there is any pollen to collect. Might be a good time to go through your notes from last year to see how you pollinated.

TriangleJohn

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2016, 06:16:13 PM »
The trees in my yard are just now opening up. If we don't get another freeze it should be another bumper crop year.

Just for kicks I dug up suckers from my number 1 producing tree and spread them down the row. Some of them were 3 or 4 feet tall. At this point it looks like almost all of them have made it through the torture even though they didn't have many roots and I basically hacked them out of the ground with a shovel. I think these trees are tougher than the reports. It will be another month before I know for sure that they have survived fully.

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2016, 06:50:46 PM »
The trees in my yard are just now opening up. If we don't get another freeze it should be another bumper crop year.

Just for kicks I dug up suckers from my number 1 producing tree and spread them down the row. Some of them were 3 or 4 feet tall. At this point it looks like almost all of them have made it through the torture even though they didn't have many roots and I basically hacked them out of the ground with a shovel. I think these trees are tougher than the reports. It will be another month before I know for sure that they have survived fully.

Can't hurt, right? keep us posted....as you said, most sources say sucker transplanting doesn't work. But maybe that's just the rule and you might luck out with some exceptions.

I did some looking at old posts of mine from last year, and it looks like the flowers are maybe a week or 2 ahead of last season. Hard to say.

TriangleJohn

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 04:12:20 PM »
I seem to remember my trees making fruit even after hard freezes late into spring so I'm not worried. Besides, there isn't much I can do about it and whole yard is starting to bloom so I wouldn't be able to save all of them so I won't do anything for any of them - ha! After this weekend it looks like we are back on track for spring weather. As much as I like a cool mild spring it would help me out disease wise to have it jump immediately into summer with temps above 85 - that slows down fire blight and cedar apple rust and all the other rust diseases. Cool damp weather is when they spread the most.

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 09:13:10 PM »
Checked the trees again today and they were pretty well covered in blooms, some green and some maroon.

The flowers are advancing in maturity but not super fast. I checked many trees and only found one (accessible) flower that was just starting to shed pollen. I wasn't able to get a good picture but here it is:


One of the little beetles had quite a bit of pollen on his back - adorable! I brought along my paint brush just in case and dabbed a little off his back and from the anthers.

I went across the field and dabbed a few flowers.

Last year I didn't start looking until April, and at that time there were only ants and spiders in the flowers. Today there were all kinds of ladybird beetles and little flies of various kinds buzzing around the flowers. Not sure if this year is unique due to weather patterns or if the flies and beetles just come early. But it bodes rather well for natural pollination I suppose - except for the fact that very little active pollen is to be had (though flowers at the tops of the trees appeared to be farther along than those at my level.)

This flower was hitting the sunshine just right:




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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2016, 10:18:44 PM »
Went back out today and did some more pollinating.
Not sure if it's legit but it just seems like there are more flowers this year. Overwhelming actually - no chance of pollinating all of them (drat).
It appeared that many flowers were already successfully fertilized based on apparent swollen ovaries.
Could be a bumper crop.

googer

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2016, 09:24:36 AM »
I was out kayaking Friday and saw a few trees. Most of them had flower buds, but they were very young and very small - maybe half as large as a pinky-nail. I imagine I might see the first male stage flowers next weekend.

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2016, 10:30:50 AM »
Kayaking for pawpaws....sounds awesome!

Last weekend I visited a park in a nearby city that has a 20-foot intentionally-planted (as far as I can tell) pawpaw. I recently found that the park had a second pawpaw, so I was gonna do some cross-pollinating. However, the second pawpaw apparently doesn't exist - looks like it was taken out for some renovations.
The 20-footer was covered in flowers, most of them spent. MANY flowers appeared to be fertilized. More good news.
I had wondered if this tree had ever fruited before because there are no other trees anywhere nearby. However, I did find several seeds in the soil beneath the tree....so it did fruit presumably last year. I have to wonder if anyone knows they can eat the things, or if they just fell to the ground or into animal jaws unnoticed.
I will be keeping a close eye on that one.

In bad news, a big storm rolled thru here last night with pretty significant hail. I hope it didn't damage my local patch too much. Probably better now than right before fruit started to ripen.

TriangleJohn

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2016, 04:38:50 PM »
Even though we've been having hot weather very early (some 80 degree days in March!!) and now we are back to having lows in the 20's - my pawpaws seem to be going strong. I've been watering more and fussing over them more and all of them are covered in flowers and tiny fruits.










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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2016, 04:40:55 PM »
Very nice, TJ!
What cultivars do you have and how many?
Also how does this spring seem to compare to others in terms of flower quantity and early fruit set?

TriangleJohn

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2016, 08:36:14 PM »
I have four seedlings grown from named cultivars (unknown to me, seedlings were purchased from a local nursery that tasted various fruit from a nearby research orchard. They sowed the seed from the best tasting fruit), and one native tree in a different part of the yard. They were all bought and planted at the same time (2010) and were two year old plants. One is far bigger and better than the others, maybe 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It has the largest fruit. It is the one that I gathered suckers from and transplanted along the row of trees. The last tree in that row is tiny but a heavy bloomer. It's maybe 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide and almost looks like some sort of dwarf pawpaw. I believe its size is due to it being the furthest away from my septic leach lines (ha ha!). It is also down hill from the #1 tree. All of them taste about the same but the #1 tree's fruit are so large that they are more worth eating. My plan is to leave all the trees in the row and let the transplanted suckers get as big as they want while I keep the smaller fruiting ones pruned back, they are there as pollinators. Out of 15 suckers removed from the #1 tree (I left two there) only two have failed. Like I said earlier, I think these guys are tougher than the literature states.

I also have a Cherimoya in the greenhouse which blooms all summer long. I keep trying to hand pollinate it but so far I have failed. One year I had a damaged branch on my #3 tree which rebloomed in August. It was the only tree around with flowers on it. I hand pollinated it with cherimoya pollen and saved the seeds from any fruit that was formed. Out of all that work I got one seedling. Hopefully this year it will get big enough and have enough leaves on it to tell me if it is actually a cross or just a pawpaw. (their leaves are different)

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2016, 08:34:27 PM »
Attempted my first ever grafts today. Since I don't have any trees or graft-worthy seedlings of my own, my only option when I received some budwood in the mail was to graft some wild trees.

I studied some chip budding videos on YouTube. Didn't seem too hard. I practiced a bit on some twigs before going out. I put a new utility blade in my Gerber folding knife and got some parafilm.

My first couple of live attempts didn't go so well- whittled one bud off as the blade got away from me and snapped one stick of budwood too. After that it went better. I didn't count - maybe 6-7 grafts, a couple on small suckers and some on branches of mature trees.
I did one NC-1, several Sunflower and 1 or 2 Overleese.

By way of status update on the wild trees - I was a little saddened to see some dropped baby fruit clusters on the ground and some dangling loosely on branches that fell with the slightest touch.

I wonder if this is all due to environmental stress (it's been pretty dry for 2 weeks) or could it be that these were self-pollinated flowers that aborted? Not sure if self-pollination would even make baby fruits. ..

Solko

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2016, 06:28:20 AM »
I also attempted my first Pawpaw grafts this season. I have bought this little tree, that was about one foot tall last year. It is a grafted tree, Davis on seedling rootstock, and I found it in a nursery in a really miniscule pot. I repotted it last fall, and now it actually looks like it is going to flower already.


I used a whip and tongue graft, I just had one scion with two buds on it, of Green River Belle. We'll see if it takes. I am pretty high up north and high up a mountain. The guy who sent me the scionwood said all his trees had done flowering already, while here it was still freezing at night.

Looking for seeds of Eugenia Beaurepairiana

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2016, 10:04:10 PM »
Good luck, Solko. Though technically this is a Wild Pawpaw thread  ;D

Last week I went out to my wild patch for a check-in.

2 of my grafts had taken and put on some growth (one a lot more than the other):





These were both Sunflower buds.

The fruits have grown a good bit since last check. I thinned out any runt or misshapen fruits. Here's a really good-lookin' one:



Come on, August!

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2016, 06:40:12 PM »
Checked-in today and found several fruits, but I was fairly disappointed in their size. I don't know if they'll put on a lot of growth between now and the harvest, but they were really small, not much bigger than last check.

Here's a funny conjoined fruit. Draw your own conclusions :)



One of the pawpaw patches had several leaves afflicted with some kind of spot.


So kind of a bummer, as it looks like the fruit may be abundant but quite small.

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2016, 08:11:08 PM »
Visited the patches yesterday.

One patch, the smaller of the 2 closest to me, basically has nothing. Maybe 4 small fruits.
The larger patch was loaded with fruits, and contrary to my prior report, there were several hefty ones.

I estimate these at close to 6 ounces:


This behemoth is the biggest single pawpaw I've seen outside of cultivation (and possibly in cultivation). I'd say it's 25-30% bigger than the fruits above:


Perfect shape on that one.

They are all hard as rocks :)

But another tree I have been monitoring in a nearby urban park was already dropping fruits as of last weekend. Judging by the rotted fruits already on the ground, I would say it started ripening around the first of August. Here are the fruits I gathered:




Beautiful yellow fruits with no phyllosticta and a dark orangey flesh. Tasted great - easily the best "wild" pawpaw I've tasted.

googer

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2016, 12:22:30 PM »
Awesome finds. I've never heard of pawpaws getting that ripe before; I bet possums and deer tend to snarf them down well before that point in the wild.

The fact you had such ripe fruits so early made me a little nervous, so I took a trip to a local patch to make sure mine weren't dropping. I hadn't looked at them since Memorial Day, but they were all completely turgid and had no give at all. I'm guessing they'll be ripe in about 3-4 weeks. There were way more than I remembered seeing last time, but they were tiny. Saw one cluster of 5, which is the most I've ever seen in one bunch. They may not be the best eating, but I should get plenty of seeds out of them, which is what I'm most interested in.





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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2016, 01:48:28 PM »
Well, as for things not being much eatin' - I went back to the wild patch on Saturday and picked several fruits. Sadly the "behemoth" fruit was gone. I  was devastated! LOL
But back to the point - I tried eating 2 of the ones I found and they were really bad. Watery texture and cry strong "gamey" taste (I wonder if this is what some people call "bitter" but it's not actually bitter- hard to describe).  So like you said - only good for seeds!

The tree with the rotten fruits on the ground has little to no pressure from varmints (other than squirrels) because it's in a very busy park. You're right - in the woods in my experience it's uncommon to find fruit on the ground or perfectly ripe on the tree. I typically pick at the first sign of softness or else I will never get it, I'm sure.

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2016, 07:04:01 PM »
Ok, a few of the wild fruits I last picked definitely had a textbook bitter taste. So what I said above is kind of out the window.

Upon further reading, I believe what i've described as "gamey" is officially called "resinous." Sort of fills the back of the nostrils with a lacquer or varnish - VOC - sensation. Very unpleasant :)

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2016, 02:10:04 PM »
They ripe very early...not? Do the grafted trees bear fruit in the same period?

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Re: 2016 Wild Pawpaw Watch thread
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2016, 04:15:14 PM »
They ripe very early...not? Do the grafted trees bear fruit in the same period?

Well, some named/grafted varieties ripen earlier in the season than others. And of course weather impacts when fruit ripens. More northern latitudes ripen later than southern locations.

As far as maturity and plants beginning to bear fruit, seedlings definitely take longer to come into bearing than grafted trees, as is typical.

Does that help?

 

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