Pawpaw People Weigh In

If I’m correct, you won’t be able to find any patent for Potomac or Wabash either.

I just found an article that says “Peterson Pawpaws are patented varieties “Shanandoah,” “Susquehanna,” “Rappahannock,” " Allegheny,” “Potomac” and “Wabash,” selected for flavor and commercial potential" but I think they’re wrong.

I can’t find patents for Allegheny, Potomoc or Wabash. It looks like the only patented cultivars are the other three. KSU only lists the other 3 as having patents - Susquehanna, Rappahannock and Shenandoah were all patented in 2004.

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It is Bock Bio Science.

I see in Burnt Ridge’s catalog they carry several Petersons. Both Allegheny and Susquehanna have a “tm” after their name to reflect the trademark, but only Susquehana says “patented.” in the description, Allegheny does not.

Well, I done think I’m going to grow all my pawpaws from seed or root divisions. I’ve got seed saved from all those Red Fern Farm pawpaws since I went and bought the fruit to eat, and I have seeds of other cultivars, as-well. And they’re all right next to each other in a straight line w/o a wild pawpaw to be seen.

I do have a graft of ‘Regulus’. It’s a big ole’ root system with a single bud graft. I looked @markalbob for Regulus in Red Fern Farm scions for sale and it’s not listed and I can tell you why. Tom Wahl showed me the plant and told me to graft Regulus the only buds available are at the tip of a shoot. It’s true. You can look down more than a foot at least and there isn’t a single bud that can be seen. So, those guys don’t graft many and they don’t ship either I believe. I see they’re also sold out already for 2018.

You can pretty well count on a 4’ tree to fruit in full sun/mostly sun. I’ve seen some awesome pawpaws in the 4-6 foot range just loaded. On the other hand in the wild in dense shade you may not find a single pawpaw for 1/2 a mile walk. I’ve also seen it at my friend’s property where all his seedlings are in dense shade. Only the towering 20+ foot tall trees bear.

I would think that any seed whether wild or from superior cultivars in full sun will fruit precociously.


This is the first I’ve heard of grafted pawpaws being prone to decline. Now you’ve got me concerned. They take so long to fruit already, that doesn’t leave much time.

Still holding out hope for my Sunflower this year.

I hear ya. It’s a well known fact however that grafted pawpaws commonly bite the dust. I think however if it’s going to happen, that happens in the first few years or say five vs. long term. That’s what I’m recalling most.

You and I have both been to Jerry Lehman’s however and he has some pretty darn tall grafted pawpaws.

Gosh, I need to do more research or hear more from others until I leap any further.


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I don’t think my grafted paw paws are declining at all. The 8 years old Mango is robust at 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide and still growing each year. The rest of the 6 years old Peterson’s pawpaws are still growing wide instead of tall due to my top pruning each year.




I either talked on the phone with Sherri Crabtree or thru emails (I did both) and I believe she stated that in their Kentucky trial fields they were continuously regrafting their pawpaws appx. every 12-years or maybe it was 15-years. They would die she said.

It’s coming back to me now. I ordered scionwood from KSU I guess it is and Sherri is their specialist.



Yes, both Kirk and Sherry , told me the same.
Jerry, said he was not having that problem .
So who knows
But KSU has a lot of experience with pawpaw as their main focus

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I bought four “Select Pawpaw seedlings” from Edible Landscaping in 2012 after reading their description: “Seedlings come close to being true to type to named varieties. Select Pawpaw seedlings should have large fruit size and fine flavor, carrying on the fine genetic pool from the superior varieties the seeds were obtained from.” I also planted a Rappahannock at the same time.

Now that all five trees are bearing fruit and I can compare them, the Rappahannock fruit is far superior to the others in size and flavor. One of the seedlings has a strong aftertaste that I find particularly unappetizing, and I can’t imagine any variety being selected with that trait. The others are okay, but much smaller and less appealing than the Rappahannock.

I have no way to know which named varieties Edible Landscaping collects their “select seed” from, or if what I bought was truly as advertised. But the range of fruit quality among those four seedlings and the fact that the Rappahannock tastes so much better makes me think that it’s worth top-working all four of those seedlings to better-tasting named varieties, even if it means they might decline in ~12 years. Pawpaws aren’t difficult to graft, even with my limited grafting experience, and on a large established rootstock the grafts would likely grow quickly. So it might not be such a setback not to have them on their own roots.

I’ve planted about 40 more pawpaw trees since those original five, mostly seedlings that I grew from “Lehman’s Select Pawpaw Seed” I bought from England’s Orchard and Nursery, but also about a dozen more grafted trees. How fast they grow is mystifying to me - some will just sit there and hardly grow at all for one year and then take off growing 3 feet the next year. I can’t say that grafted trees are always less vigorous than seedlings, but the two bareroot trees I planted definitely are less vigorous. One died in the first year, and the other has hardly grown at all in two years. Some of the grafted trees that I bought in pots are just as vigorous now as the seedlings, and others have taken longer to get established.

I’m curious to see how much variation I find in the fruit from the Lehman’s Select Seed trees once they start to bear. But if you tasted pawpaw and didn’t like it, I would try it again. There might be a lot more of a difference between the best grafted varieties and the “select” seedlings than I would’ve imagined from the reading I’d done before growing them myself.


Interesting your experience with Edible Landscaping “Select” seedling pawpaws. My two ten year old Selects from EL crank out delicious fruit. This year my Shenandoah grafted tree should bear so I’ll get to compare but I can’t imagine Shenandoah will be better. There seems to be a controversy whether pawpaw comes mainly true to seed. My limited experience is they do.


I imagine in an orchard this would have the added benefit of fruit at a more convenient height and avoid a splat situation. This makes me wonder if this hobby is growing in popularity for homeowners? Not everyone wants to or has readily available graft wood.
Having an experienced fruit “specialist” who can come by and top-work, prune, diagnose, etc. trees may benefit many people.

Through the years I have planted about 10 grafted pawpaws. Only one graft remains alive. The rootstock has survived and most is as good as the grafted varieties though so no problem.

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@BambooMan I still believe most people don’t have a clue what a pawpaw is. I know gardeners nearly twice my age that have never heard of them. Additionally, my sister who is 8-years older than me and about the last (I would guess) 8-years of her life she’s been on a health food kick of organic produce being delivered to her home etc etc etc. At a family get-together she asked if I was growing pawpaws within the recent months. I said I currently am planning what I’m going to do and her comment continued that a local “shop” said if I was growing pawpaws they would like to buy them from me. These are the kind of people who I imagine go to farmers markets often… both my sister-type and this store owner. That’s just what is on my mind and nothing more. You know I brought pawpaws over for my parents to try and my Dad said no more and my Mom said they’re interesting or some such. It’s a real mixed bag I’m concluding. You probably would get just as many “no’s” about persimmons. People don’t know what they are unless they’ve gone to an Asian grocery store or to some shop selling “local goods.” It’s an artistic crowd. Well, except us! We study plants seriously. I’m sure there’s a crowd but it’s a small gathering.

I can’t think of anything else to say except share fruit among friends; share photos; if you’ve only eaten wild pawpaws be sure to taste premium ones; And graft or grow seedlings but definitely there’s an interest I believe to share suckers.

If you don’t have the land, you don’t have it. Let people like myself with land find some really good seed-grown pawpaws and share.


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After growing pawpaws for 7 years I still don’t have any fruit. I kept trying to grow grafted varieties with my select seedling from Raintree. I have gone through 4 grafted trees, 3 I bought and a Mango I grafted myself. All of the grafted trees died after a few years. Even the root stocks have struggled to get reestablished after the graft died. The suckers had to be shaded when they first came up and then later grew so fast they kept getting blown over by the wind. I am left with my original seedling that is about 6 ft tall/blooming and 2 juvenile seedlings from Peterson fruit. I am just now germinating more seeds from named varieties to replace the ones that didn’t make it.
I don’t know what the problem is. There is a guy in the town over that has grown many grafted varieties with no problems and similar climate conditions. I think local factors must be really stressful for pawpaws and this is somehow contributing, but what it is I don’t know. It is important to mention that I had the best growth last year because I made a point to give them tons of water. I putt the sprinkler on them every other day for 2 hours all summer long. My nieghbor’s maple tree sucks all of the water out of my lawn where my pawpaws are, needless to say the maple tree did really well last year too.

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I wonder if there would be any practical way for you to sever those maple roots. I don’t suppose you have a subsoiler that would be appropriate to use in the context.

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@castanea (and anyone else that has longer term experience growing pawpaws), how does it play out when your grafted pawpaws die? Are there symptoms of decline before they die? Do they suddenly die at a particular time of year? Do they die back to the graft or all the way back to the ground (and then regrow from the roots)?


My pawpaws stand is growing along my street sidewalk and get plenty of water from the lawn sprinklers. They sure love the moisture.

I think ScottSmith had grown pawpaws for the last ten years or more and I don’t recall he has any issue of the grafted one die early yet.


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Tony- do you top your pawpaw trees to limit fruit damage when they drop? Steve