Weak Crotches on Pawpaw Branches

Pawpaw growers: do your trees have a lot of weak crotches? More than other fruit trees? Now that I’m looking close I see a few I missed when they were young. But the mystery is: the branch angles on the weak crotches are all good- at least 45 degrees, most more like 60 degrees from vertical but the joint has “included bark.”.

Do you automatically prune off the entire branch when you see the “included bark”? Or do you prune it back, take weight off it and keep it?

Is any “included bark” too much?


So by weak crotches do you only mean ones that appear to have “a lot” of bark inclusion?

I could go do a more thorough examination but I’d say most of my pawpaws’ crotches have at least some inclusion.

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@TrilobaTracker Yes- if I see included bark I call it a weak crotch. Wondering now if it’s no big deal??? How old are your trees?

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Ok I gotcha.
Mine are 4 years old.
I haven’t planned on making pruning decisions based only on bark inclusion. If I do anything it will be based on the angle. But that’s just me.

I have talked to some very experienced pawpaw folks generally about crotch angles and such, and the gist I got is that most folks do minimal pruning. Very narrow angles they will remove, but no one has said anything to me other than that.

Also I wonder if inclusion is less of an issue with pawpaws since the bark is so thin and smooth anyway?

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I feel like this needs to be the starting rhyme of a country or rap song


The fruit load and the size of a mature pawpaw … this should not be that much of a problem issue.

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Here are some of mine. These are 45 degree or greater angles but still a little “collar” of what I assume is considered inclusion.


Those look strong to me but I may be the wrong person to ask, based on what slipped by me here.

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Perfectly strong, @TrilobaTracker @hambone

The answer to your question Steve is YES, 100%, remove the entire branch. As those “extra overlays of bark” continue growing, Steve, they do this eventually:


@triloba had it right all along… it’s bark inclusion.

Best, thanks, glad you brought it up.



@Barkslip It’s weird to see included bark on a 45 or 55 degree limb, even 60 degrees off vertical. I had thought that was impossible but I see it now after close inspection.

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That’s how we lost the ortet ‘Hark’ pecan. It got so big and above deer browse and 9’ up on a 75-80’ tree there began a bark inclusion. Wind came thru and snapped it off and peeled the bark a feet above ground.

Because the ortet Hark was in a park, it had to be removed, completely. It could’ve been saved to live a number of years more but … not at the risk of children.

Best regards-


I feel a little confused at this point since you can’t do anything to prevent inclusion on a wide angle crotch …
I will defer to my usual laziness and not really do anything LOL


Before reading this thread I wasn’t aware of the term “bark inclusion” and after reading it I wasn’t clear on how to identify “bark inclusion”.

Here are 2 videos that explain it well.

BylandsGardener on YouTube

From The University of Florida


I would not call the pictures you posted “ bark inclusions “
Those are fine .


@TrilobaTracker they’re magnificent!

Best regards,

Dax and @Hillbillyhort !

Somebody gona be climbin that tree someday


You mean like opossum or raccoon? :slight_smile:


Thank you for the info. Yes I have not read a lot about it.

As my friend from high school said, “Fool!”

He’s an idiot , too , btw. played football at Western IL and would walk in with football buddies to parties stealing kegs walking them out on their shoulders to a large pick-up truck to haul away drinking in the truck and wherever else, afterwards.

My DAD calls him “iron hands” because playing basketball he would be put in to rough everybody up and he would get the ball and go smashing everywhere & knocking everybody to the floor. DAD always said there wasn’t a “mirror” Erik didn’t like! ha ha ha ha.

Big, tall, very-unattractive man, ha-ha!!!


Excellent share - that first video makes it quite clear.
So my branches are definitely not suffering from bark inclusion.