Pawpaw Trees and Backyard Orchard Culture?

Does anyone have any experience growing Pawpaw in a high-density “Backyard Orchard Culture” set-up? Specifically, are they suitable for planting multiple trees into a single hole? Also, would it work to grow Pawpaw as a cordon or espalier? They seem to be such slow growing trees, that I would worry that the competition in a three-in-one or four-in one hole might make them even slower growers. On the other side, the close spacing would have to be a big help for pollination. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

I’m interested to hear this too!

I don’t agree with the slow growing description. Once mine established they grow 2 foot a year. Stil no fruit :frowning:

I have mine six feet apart in a row. That works very well and they could probably be four feet without much problem. Theres no reason to bother with espalier on them, they easily fruit without all the work.


Aha, “established” must make the difference. I have a bunch of two-year-old seedlings that are still only a foot tall! To be fair, they have been potted, so that must have slowed their growth. I have become too impatient, so I just received three 4’ tall trees, that will hopefully fruit much sooner. Now I am just trying to make the spacing work. I recognize that I am a compulsive planter, so I try to save as much space as possible for future additions. :blush:

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My pawpaws are about two feet apart in one part of my yard (I have clumps of pawpaws in two parts of the yard. My biggest problem has not been the pawpaws themselves, but the kiwi vines which engulf them as the summer progresses. I have had no disease or insect problems from close planting. Most of my branching is towards what light is available.

My other clump is facing shading from an Illinios Everbearing mulberry.

The pitfalls of wanting everything in an eighth of an acre home lot.



May I have a follow up on how the high-density pawpaw rows have done? The only two spaces I have left to plant in my yard will require me to maintain a narrow row of them and I’m not sure how close I should go between each one and still have fruit production.

i have 4 spaced out @ 3ft apart but i have seen plenty of pics within FB groups of older pawpaw that is fruiting that got planted in the same hole… like 2 or 3 seeds planted on top of each other in the same hole. Not the 3 in 1 hole which a-lot of people refer to from dave wilson which really is 2-3ft spacing on center.

pawpaws will fruit in close conditions, but the size will be small. Pawpaws seem to do a poor job self-thinning (as most fruit trees) and close planting seems to do nothing to dis-encourage over cropping.

I’m in the process of thinning out some of my closely spaced plantings. I’d do it all in one year, but sourcing the plants I want to replace the ones I want to remove is proving difficult with all the nurseries closing/out of stock.


So you are thinning them because you want larger fruit or because you are filling in with different varieties?

I’m thinning because a couple of the trees grew poorly being cramped and I wanted to replace a few of the early ones I got (seedlings) with named varieties.

I’ve tried cutting back and grafting, but my success with pawpaws has been 1 success (on a small rootstock matching the scion diameter) and 0 (out of 5 tries) on larger stock grafts.