Grafting paw paws

When is the best time to graft paw paws and what are the rules and tricks?


Now is the best time to do it in our Zone 5. I did 5 Halvin paw paw grafts to some of my muliti-graft paw paw trees. They are fairly easy to take and not too many shoots growing below the union. I usually use bark graft but simple cleft graft will do. I don’t even bother to cover them with parafilm and still get them all to take. If you can find a scion with flower buds on it then you can get it to fruit the following year.


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One tip I follow is be sure to wait to graft until you see one inch of leaf growth- in other words, tree is in active growth. I think this is similar to persimmon. My pawpaw grafts seem to take a lot longer to take than apple.


Paw paw scion question:
Scion on top appears to have flower buds.
Scion on bottom has your regular leaf bud.
Can the Scion on the top be grafted with flower buds that will eventually turn to leaves?

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Just rub the flower buds off and graft away.
:partying_face: :partying_face:

Thought i had to throw those away.
If I didn’t rub them off would they open?


though the picture is a little dark…if those are flower buds they are either really small or they’ve already been partially removed.

bottom line is you can graft with scions that have flower buds. You don’t really want the flowers trying to develop, so you would gently remove them first.

A better pic
But i get the idea

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Cool. Good luck!!

So another question along same paw paw subject:
This scion as mouse ear size look alike leaves starting.
Is scion still ok to graft?
Or broken dormancy and not good
Thanks again!

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Is there any green? from the picture they just look like healthy dormant (brown) leaf buds.
If there is a twinge of green you might still be ok. Certainly if you are willing to risk it, I would go ahead.

If you only have one shot at the graft, I would rather use totally dormant scions.
But again there is no green visible in the picture so if that’s true, definitely proceed.

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No green!

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This can be somewhat of a general grafting question but since I’m dealing with Paws I’ll ask it in paw paw grafting section.
Lots of discussion about making sure rootstock underneath graft doesn’t send up shoots to take away productivity of cambium later up above stem where graft is located.
What about existing small stems (see pic) below the graft? Should they all be removed on the branch below the graft?
Once branch is cut for graft, the smaller stems that seem to have been dormant may activate and start growing and rob the cambium above.
I noticed some apple grafts I did a month ago that had nothing on the branch below them seem to be doing better than ones that have stems below the graft.
So can I conclude maybe it’s better to graft on the lower part of the branch where there are no stems, or remove any stems below the graft on the branch?

I have gotten the most vigorous scion growth when bark grafting on the central leader at 2 or 3 ft high and leaving no other branches.

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@Franp Being that close to the graft I would remove that small stem or at the least just remove the new green growth from it and allow it to grow back once the graft starts growing strong.



Your idea intrigues me. Have you had this work? I’ve got a prime branch that I’d hate to cut off until I know the nearby graft has taken. I assume the nearby branch wouldn’t interfere with the graft taking, just how much it grows. Is that your understanding?

Yes I have done this when grafting pawpaws and on other species. I often will just pinch the tips off certain branches whenever they are close to a new graft or if the tree is making multiple central leaders.

I should state im no expert but my intention with this is to set the pinched branch back just long enough to let a single un-pinched branch become the permanent leader or when grafting, allow the grafted bud to sprout before any lower growth can take the energy and quickly become the new leader suppressing energy going to the graft before the graft has the chance to heal.

I think disrupting any hormone signal by pinching the tip is enough in most cases. If your branch is far enough below the graft I wouldn’t worry but the stem on this tree in the picture looks very close to the graft and looks like the new growth could reach the same height as the graft by the time the graft sprouts. Being so close to the graft theres a better chance of it becoming a competing leader or could overtake that graft altogether.
When pinched the growth will only be set back a couple weeks at most and by that time the graft will be pushing growth and should stay above the growth from the branch below.

By no means am I saying this is imperative to a successful graft but my experience with grafting pawpaws is they will sprout from completely dormant buds just beneath your graft union and that can overtake the graft in no time. Having a branch already so close and putting out good growth seems several steps ahead of the dormant buds I worry about messing up my grafts so I always remove them or atleast pinch the tips to set them back just to be safe.


I’m in zone 7A outside Philadelphia. I plan to topwork an existing paw-paw over to susquehanna and/or tropical treat.

A few questions:

  • If my forecast for the next week is highs in the 70s-80s, and overnight lows in the mid-50s, can I graft paw paw now? I know the advice is to generally wait until 1" of leaf growth, but when I did that last year it was already mid-may, and then we had an intense heat-wave and drought shortly after I grafted that (i think) killed my grafts. I was hoping to graft sooner this year so that the grafts have more time to establish before the hot hot summer weather.

  • Can I graft two varieties onto one rootstock? I have scions of of susquehanna and tropical treat, but I wasn’t sure whether I should or could use both varieties on the topworked tree. The existing tree has about a 3" radius trunk, so I would plan to bark-graft two scions regardless. If I graft two varieties, could I just grow the tree with two central leaders, with one side being susquehanna and one side being tropical treat? Or should I just graft one variety, and cull the weaker scion after a year or so (and graft the other variety as a branch on a different existing tree)?

  • How high or low should I graft on the existing tree? I plan to pinch off all growth other than the scion this year, but, next year, if the scion takes, can I let some growth fro the existing tree grow back as a pollinator?

  • Has anyone tried bridge-grafting paw-paws before? One of my trees has about a 1.5"-2" hole in the bark, fairly low down, due to an errant whipper-snipper accident about 2 years ago. The bark surrounding the hole has healed nicely, but the hole never closed off entirely. Should I leave it be, or attempt to bridge it?

Really, for me, the most importan thing is the timing, because last year I thought my grafts took, but then they just fizzled out and stopped growing after about 2" of growth, and then died.


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3 inches is a pretty large diameter wound to heal as pawpaw heals very, very slowly. I’d stick to smaller diameter if you can find it. You can put multiple varieties on one tree.

@hambone Thanks! I can chop higher up, where the first side-branches are, and those branches are only maybe 1" diameter.

Given the warm weather this week, do you think I could do that now? Or should I wait until there’s growing leaves? Right now the flower buds are swelling and opening, but no leaf-bud-growth yet.