Nipped Pawpaws

It looks like all but one of the pawpaw seedlings I planted last year got their tops nipped off by rabbits over the winter. So far, that one is the only one which has pushed out leaves.

I have a few pawpaw scions I picked up. How do you recommend I proceed? Should I graft the nibbled seedlings in the hope of saving them? Should I leave them be on the assumption that they’ll eventually regrow leaves? Or should I just abandon all hope?

I planted seedling pawpaws in 2013, and a couple got killed back to the ground in 2014 during the polar vortex winter. They did regrow from the roots. So there is some hope for you.

I tried grafting onto some young seedlings a couple years ago and when the grafts failed,the root stocks grew other branches. Brady

I’ve had limited experience/success gtafting pawpaws, but most suggest waiting til they are leafed out. You aren’t too far from me as I recall. Mine are just budding, so maybe 2-4 weeks?

I’ve had that happen-- it’s annoying. What caliper is the remaining nub?

I planted a small one this year and someone cut it off with a weedeater. I checked the remaining trunk and it is still alive. I am just waiting to see what it does. I figure it might not leaf out this year but as long as the roots keep growing I will leave it alone.

They’re very tiny. Probably less than 1/8 inch in diameter.

Mine is about the same size. I checked on it again today and it seems to be doing good.

If you can manage a graft without mangling the tiny nub, then do it. If you aren’t confident it is big enough to handle the procedure, then just leave it alone and perhaps it will sprout back on its own power.

I decided that it was way too small for me to attempt a graft. But after moving some wood chips aside, it looks like there are some sprouts coming out of the nub! It took a while, but I think it’s going to pull through!

(Semi-related fact: pawpaws have no cotyledon. I’ve snapped off the first leaves of young pawpaw seedlings when clumsily trying to remove a stuck seed shell, and they just proceeded to grow new leaves without issue.)

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Give it a deep soaking periodically to maximize its chances of full recovery.

Patience is the key word with pawpaws. Eternal patience.