How Vigorous is your Pawpaw?


I’m sorry to hear about the trouble grafting. When I grafted, it was whip and tongue onto a young tree. I think I had 100% takes and assumed pawpaws were as easy as apple and pear from that experience.


Can you please tell me when is right time to graft pawpaws (when you do it), is it when root stock dormant or when buds starting to open small leafs or when tree have big leafs?.
I tried to graft when root stock have small leafs about 2-3 cm big.

I had some situations with chip budding on pawpaws, chip is green and looks like graft taken, bud start to leaf out and after some time leaf bud drops but chip is still green 3 months after grafting when i with knife cut in bark.
On one 2 years old root stock i have grafted with chip and seems graft is taken but nothing grows from that bud, i will try next spring to cut bark above that graft to try to push growth from grafted bud.


Clark, your pawpaw have the biggest leaves, no question!


Mis, my first time of grafting pawpaws. Whip and tongue in early April when the rootstock looked dormant (but the other trees started to grow). Most people here do the grafting later though.


We will see how it goes. I’m going to plant another 25 next year. I’m going to try some in full sun since you’ve had pretty good luck with them. My family has never grown them like that before. They tried like I did and they died in full sun. Beside the pond they will have plenty of water year around. I have a perfect spot in full sun with a hill on one side I will back them up against. Got to try again since I see you all getting away with it.


I don’t know if you have access to any wild paw paws, or perhaps some named varieties if they are suckering, but @clarkinks is right (and has a great memory!) 3 years ago I did dig up some wild paw paw suckers. I read that it couldn’t be done because of the long tap root. And it did have a long tap root, but it actually worked. I’ve actually done it about 6 times and it worked 4 of the 6 times. I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I just dug as deep down as I could and got as many roots as I could- not just the main tap root that went back to the mother tree, but also some smaller roots too. The tap root actually doesn’t go down really deep like I expected. I goes down about 18 inches and then goes horizontal toward the mother tree. I got about 3 feet of that tap root and then cut it away from mother tree. I got a very large dirt ball and probably 3 other smaller diameter roots about 1-2 foot long. Put the whole ball in one of those big plastic storage bins, took it straight home, buried it loose dirt and kept wet for about a week- more water than you’d normally think was good idea but in nature all of mine were in wet dirt.

Sometimes the tree I dug up died all the way back to only 3 inches about the ground and it would take as long as 2 months before it would show a little bud of new growth. Other times, the whole transplanted tree lived. They look bad for about 2 weeks but then start perking up and eventually send out new green.

FYI, I dug mine up each time in very early spring. They were dormant, but actually had some bud swell once and still worked. The ones that have worked have all been about 2 feet tall when I dug them up. I provide sun protection/shade the first year, but I’m not sure if the is required or not.

Anyway, I hope this helps you or someone else here who had wanted to do this but read that it won’t work. Try it! I need to post a photo of my first 2. They are about 4 foot tall and a picture of good health now. The fruit from mom was WONDERFUL so I hope these bear soon.


Clark- That’s a very interesting idea you have about wide variation in scion compatibility on wild seedlings. I would like to use that as an excuse for my poor success with pawpaw grafts, say 25 to 40% takes. So thank you.


When it comes to pears that’s one of the reasons why they go with old home / farmingdale (ohxfxx) rootstocks is you could graft almost anything to them. Even ohxf not everything will take. Sometimes it comes down to the numbers when it hits you the scions are not compatible and that’s why they are not taking. You almost need to graft a couple hundred pears to see it. For example I graft douglas and most every scion takes but I have a seedling callery I stooled a few years ago and none of it’s offspring took scions of douglas. I grafted an old fashioned kieffer to one of it’s offspring as an experiment and it took and a hail storm broke it off. Now that kieffer and that Douglas are very compatible with one another. Now I know what’s compatible so next year all those pears will take scions. Fortunately I don’t have a lot of those. There are genetics to trees that are not always widely understood. The people who do know are not about to share that information because it’s part of the success of their business. I grafted a row of ohxf333 rootstocks with one type of scion (10 trees) and they all failed. The next row I used another type of scion on the same day and they all took (10 trees). 10 or so years ago I was still grafting with masking and duct tape and did not know about compatibility and would try to graft the same scions on the same tree 3 years in a row and it would fail every time and I blamed myself. Eventually a friend would send me some scions and I would have success on the same trees I failed with previously and I became suspicious it wasn’t always me. So many years ago now I started keeping track and it began to make sense. Clara frijs, Douglas, Kieffer, old home , Farmingdale, etc. are very compatible pears and will work on almost anything but not everything. Like the pears I’m sure pawpaw are no different. One thing I will say is those type of trees make you really good at grafting because you become much more careful! With all that said I have a neighbor that’s been grafting 4 years and the grafts all failed so this year he invited me over and 60% of the grafts took I used 60% one method with clara frijs, and 40% another method with douglas. The clara frijs took so now he knows what’s compatible and will top work a 30 foot Bradford next year. I’m in my mid 40’s now and grafted my first tree when I was in my early twenties. Those grafts I did first failed miserably for two reasons one they were not compatible and two because I grafted with sewing thread or dental floss and tried to seal it. So method and materials were wrong and to this day I still work on those two things.


Have your Sphenadoah flowered this year. Mine looks like it has flowered. Quite surprising for the tree is so small. Last year, the leaves turned yellow to brown by Aug. I thought I lost it and the nearby Mango.


Not even 2 ft tall. I think those are flowers. Nothing to cross pollinate it, unfortunately.


Those are flowers. They will get bigger and darker.



When the flowers get a little farther along,they will develop pollen,which can be collected with a small paintbrush and a cup or something to catch the stuff and then frozen for use on your other tree in a few years,or if a variety is grafted on,maybe sooner.
I use a small,clear plastic container,about the diameter of a 50 cent piece,that has two parts that screw together.They come in sets of about two dozen and sold at craft stores. Brady


@Chills for confirming it.

@Bradybb, that is a great idea. I completely forgot about it. All I could think about was that what a waste because Mango shows no sign of flowering.

I don’t know how long it takes for pawpaws to flower and fruit. My trees are 3 d leave this season but they were set back last year when I move both of them. I cut of their long tap roots by accident. They were in ground only for only one season so I thought they would not grow much. I was wrong.

With roots chopped off, last year they barely grew. Then, their leaves turned yellow in early Aug (we had a drought) and dropped by late Aug. I thought I might lose them.

I will go to craft store for both paint brush and containers. Thanks again.

Do you or anyone have pictures of pawpaw flowers when their pollen is ready to be collected? Love to see the picture. I learn more by seeing…


I have some close-ups of pawpaw flowers in both male and female mode in here.


Thank you. From what you wrote, the flower on top was male and the one below was female.

Then you said it started out female and turned into female. Are you sure?
The top flower ( male) looked like it just opened. The bottom one ( female) looked more developed.

Shouldn’t it starting out as male and turn into a female?

More importantly, when do I collect pollen . When they are still a male?


I’m not an expert, but he definitely said that they are female first. My trees are the same age as yours, with only two flowers (and those have been nibbled by rabbits). They do seem to look more like the female flower right now.


It’s very easy to see the pollen,well maybe a little difficult,because the flowers are usually pointing downward,(I lay down and get a small light and magnifier,with my small trees)but looking up into the opening,the pollen will be surrounding the central area.[quote=“mamuang, post:35, topic:6094”]
Then you said it started out female and turned into female.

This is what Tim wrote,“They start female then turn male.”
That’s what they do,female,then male. Brady

[/quote]PS If the pollen is not collected in the male stage,the stuff will most likely fall to the ground as the flower dies.


How tall is your tree? My barely 2 ft tall. Not sure why Shenadoah decides to flower when the tree is so small.

Thank you all for your advice. It is nice to know I could get to eat home grown pawpaws in a year or two.


When is a good time to graft pawpaws? I mean at what stage of a tree development.

Right now the leaves are still not fully awake yet. Should I wait until the trees leafed out some?


There are three in the front yard,a seedling Kentucky Champion,Overleese and Wabash.They are all about three feet,but could grow faster this year.The Wabash was probably four feet at least,but was snapped in two last year,by a neighbor moving a fifth wheel trailer.I’m not sure if that one is going to live and may get replaced by one of a few in containers,that are maybe four feet and multi grafted.
The Overleese is the only one that is flowering. Brady

When leaves are growing out a bit,yes,that’s when I had the best success.Not fully developed,maybe a third their full size. Brady