How quickly do pawpaw tap roots grow?

I have a few seedlings that sprouted out of compost last year. Should I try to transplant them while they are still dormant or should I wait until they go dormant next fall to try to move them. I can dig pretty far around then to not disturb any roots. Any advice on relocating them? Currently they are only about six to eight inches tall.

Interesting question. Some more experienced and observant growers may have better advice, but in one season if the soil conditions are favorable the taproot could be at least 14 inches. I’m basing this on experience germinating seeds in 14 inch deep pots.

If I had a choice I would transplant this spring as they start to wake up.
Usually lateral roots are not too long or significant on one year old seedlings, so you shouldn’t have a lot to worry about on width. But the depth could be anywhere from just a few inches to 18 or so.


I would move them now .

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Yeah Hillbilly hort
The young roots can break through hard as a rock dry clay.
(personal experience, but have something in a book about the amazing force of roots)

I think it will be okay to move now
if you did move and something bad happened just shade very much, and wait
I had roots over watered and rotted , rotting off root bark ,
and " the 2 "of them came back in a few months in very dark conditions.

some people move bigger plants in middle of summer
they separated the root suckers like that
Gives the plant to recover while giving it a break before it sleeps in winter,
(but it’s only one way people do it with suckers , and they are older.)

Does anyone have experience cutting off the top of the young taproot at 4 inches (10cm)?

I know blueberry told me he/she had a Paw Paw that was 3 years old in a 1 gallon container. Supposedly it will not be good long term but it can be done short term.

For my limited knowledge, you want to actually handle the roots as little as possible, which likely means not intentionally cutting the tap roots. You shoots often do best with significant shade until they are a couple feet tall.
The only Pawpaws I have killed were small ones I transplanted with leaves that were still very small. I definitely handled the roots as much as I do other plants in an attempt to spread the roots. They made it through that first in-ground growing season and never came back the next.
All of my larger ones were planted without messing with the roots directly, and all of those are still alive including several I felt were pushing rootbound at roughly 6 feet tall in 3g pots, and not the deeper kind of pots.

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Move them now, just before budbreak. Just as they’re coming out of dormancy is best for transplanting bareroots… containerized pawpaws… I don’t think timing matters much.
Too much falderal is attached to taproots in pawpaws. There’s nothing magical about them. Sure… preserve as much as you can, but don’t despair if you don’t ‘get it all’.

I kept some pawpaw seedlings ‘imprisoned’ in 20 oz styrofoam cups for 2 or 3 years. Yeah, they rooted out through the drain holes, but I just whacked them off, and cut off most of the mass of circling roots in the bottom of the cups when I finally got around to planting them in a permanent location… they’ve been growing there for nearly 20 years, and fruiting well.
I’ve grown mass-planted pawpaw seedlings - like 25 seeds in a 3 gallon pot. Didn’t have time to transplant or move to individual pots the next spring… I just pulled the mass rootball out of the pot, whacked off a 3-4 inch thick solid mass of circling roots in the bottom of the pot, added more potting mix, and dropped the ball back in there… grew 'em out for another year.