Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers

Temperate Fruit & Orchards => Temperate Fruit Discussion => Topic started by: Triphal on June 08, 2021, 02:05:07 PM

Title: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triphal on June 08, 2021, 02:05:07 PM
Disheartened to see the other day our pawpaw trees (5) have shed most of their fruits.  Early spring all the trees were loaded and few weeks later I saw trees were full of tiny fruits. I was hoping usual annual crop of thousand (1000) fruits.
Since then we are having a period of drought and those thousands of Cicadae flying on you and Chirping in ear-deafening 92 DCBs, prohibited my walk around those areas of our property. Yesterday early morning (cicadae were inactive) i saw that our pawpaw trees have only few fruits left. No signs of any dropped fruits under them. Of course there are thousands of Cicadae in our trees and garden. I have not seen them resting on any fruits (which are too small and scarce this year). The leaves look normal. Still we are in a drought situation and temperatures have been over 90s.
This early spring I put 3 tbs of Organic Bone Meal, Organic Blood Meal and Epsom salt powder for each trees when they were loaded with those mostly purple blooms. This is the first time I ever fertilized these stuffs on pawpaw trees! Never watered them after this application..
Any thoughts of what is happening? Are our 6b neighborhood zones with Cicadae emergence and drought have any 'fruit drop' problems with their pawpaw trees? Thanks.
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triloba Tracker on June 08, 2021, 03:12:13 PM
Sorry to hear about your challenges.

First - how old are these trees and have they fruited before?

further - I don't think fertilizing, especially with organic inputs as you mentioned, would have this kind of impact unless you put pounds and pounds per tree.
I also don't think cicadas target the fruit. However - they certainly will target your pawpaw BRANCHES of about pencil diameter for laying eggs. The females make slits on the underside of branches and insert their eggs. It doesn't cause immediate problems but by the end of the year and into next year, there will be wounds and you may have dieback of the branches (not of the tree itself).
It's POSSIBLE some of this activity has inadvertently dislodged fruitlets. Also, birds will peck at them, at least here at my place, though not in great numbers.

I was asking about the age of your trees because young trees just flowering/fruiting for the first time may not be mature enough to hold many or any fruits. Sorry if you know all of this already but flowers can appear to be pollinated with baby fruits while in actuality the pollination is incomplete. These will look like tiny bananas and can hang on for a couple weeks or more but will drop in late spring.
Then even fully pollinated flowers that produce fruitlets can still result in dropped fruit in the June timeframe. In fact my trees are dropping up to golfball sized fruits right now. This is natural and simply the tree thinning itself because the fruit load is too high. My trees are fruiting for the first time so the amount of fruit remaining on the tree after this dropping is not high (but low-moderate). Even mature trees will drop fruit in early summer.

So all of that is to say it could be totally normal!
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: vnomonee on June 08, 2021, 05:14:59 PM
This is probably what they call "June drop" this is my 2nd year that my two pawpaws have flowered and fruited, they are about 5-6ft tall. I hand pollinated as well as saw small flies pollinating for me so I had a lot of fruit set like you. Between the two trees I had about 60 fruits in the clusters. Now that it's June one of the trees has dropped all but 1 fruit, this tree held 3 fruit last year but dropped them in late August so they didn't get to ripen up either. The other tree next to that one still has about 12 fruit. So from 60 fruits I have had a lot of dropping as well. Don't be discouraged! 
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triphal on June 08, 2021, 05:16:43 PM
Thank you for your help. My present trees are probably15 + years old and have been averaging annually thousand (Yes 1000) or more fruits. For the last 5 years i have tried not to attract flies for pollinating the flowers and had good or more than before yield and often had to temporarily support many branches lest they fall due to over loaded fruits in them!
As I have stated before i do not know when those fruits were dropped and only noticed accidentally yesterday 6 AM. All these years we have been sharing most of those harvested fruits to our friends!
Just remembered. We had a heavy storm 'derecho' on 30th April felling 5 huge trees and partly uprooting another 5. I was busy getting them cleared off the property and another storm felling an old black cherry tree and a poplar. But I never even peeked on those pawpaw trees. So those storms may have been the culprit also?
Thanks again.  Triphal
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triphal on June 08, 2021, 05:34:49 PM
vnomonee. Thank you. I have known about the early summer drops which starts end of May. These trees in spite of summer drops were fully loaded and I used to thin the fruits from the branches and used to support them often. As I have noted I have not seen any dropped fruit's remnants as I have not looked for it. Too hot, Cicadae chirping constantly like 'tinnitus' in ears and busy (supervising only) clearing the fallen 50'+ tall trees from storms. Please see my reply to Triloba Tracker above. Thank you again.
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Plantinyum on June 09, 2021, 01:24:26 AM
Could it be the hot weather and the lack of rain?? Did u had any such events in the past that did not result in a fruit drop ?
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triphal on June 09, 2021, 08:56:43 AM
Thank you.  I was thinking in the same angle. We have a remote flower garden patch in that area and I personally used to water 3 nearby pawpaw trees and the American Persimmon (Prok)at least two to three times in late spring and summer. Not this year But this Persimmon tree is loaded with fruits, more than ever this year!
 Last year I invited a member of this Forum who is living close by in Northern Virginia to visit us and take for him as much as this year's ripened Pawpaw fruits! I have to tell him about the present situation..
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triloba Tracker on June 09, 2021, 10:44:23 AM
Man, I'm really sorry!
Ok i was suspecting/remembering that you have been growing pawpaws for a while so you know all about the normal drops.

Sounds like maybe it was the storms.
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triphal on June 09, 2021, 02:20:32 PM
Just learnt that Cicadas (Cicadae?) urinate profusely while resting on tree trunks, branches and twigs! Our trees are full of them. But the leaves look good, no stains or dried twigs yet. This is my third season with this Cicada X brood since over 4 decades of living in this location. Before leaving they will nicely prune the tips of the trees, fertilize with their carcasses and have already tilled around the trees while emerging out in early May. Next year should have a super bumper crop! I will be a Centurian (104) when Cicada X brood returns in 2038!
Title: Re: Pawpaw fruit drops
Post by: Triphal on June 15, 2021, 10:44:36 AM
Have more fruit drops. Nearly hundred. Seen bunches of fruits with only one or two dropped. Size of fruits 1 1/2 inches x 1/2 inch. Cicadas (Cicadae?) still plenty abound but lesser than 2 weeks ago. Not seen any cicada on the fruit while observing the trees. But they probably may have bumped into fruits many a times as we know their flying pattern/behavior.