I planted five pawpaws in an area with rocky/clay soil. I amended the soil 50% native soil and 50% bumper crop. My pawpaws are leafing with yellow leaves or look dead. My suspicion is either the pH is off or the soil is too wet. The arborist in my area said amending with 50% bumper crop is too much and will cause wet feet. He suggested 10-20% the next time I plant. Also it has been super wet in the northeast this year.
My guess is too much sunlight. I transplanted a pawpaw that size a couple of months ago. It leafed out and the the leaves soon thereafter turned yellow and dropped. I kept watering it and totally enclosed it with landscape fabric around a chicken wire cage. It had leafed out again and and leaves are getting no direct sunlight and are a shiny bright green and happy.
Thank you for your response. The site gets only direct afternoon sunlight. I will look into wrapping them with landscape fabric. Will direct sunlight continue to be a problem even when the trees mature?
It seems that they are especially sensitive when they are young/new planted.
You only recommend landscape fabric around the perimeter cage? No need to cover the top of the cage?
Whatever it takes to reduce the intensity of the sun for a while. If the problem is too much/too intense sunlight then it will probably be good to keep it protected from the sun and strong wind this whole growing season. Not ‘no sun’ just reduced intensity.
Pawpaws are an understory tree when native. A local park has tons of them, but they are all in at least half shade since they are in the second canopy.
I grew mine from seed in root pruning containers specifically so I could control the amount of sun for the first two growing seasons. This spring I planted them in the field in full sun before leaf-out. They have now leaved out and are looking pretty good.
Neighbor borrowed my lawn mower and broke a pawpaw branch. Check out the hand of fruit (sorry about the blurryness)
What is the age of these pawpaws? Are they seedlings or grafted?
Here’s what I do first two years: put a tomato cage over each plant. Wrap burlap around the sides of the tomato cage BUT leave the top of the cage open to the sun. Too much shade can be as bad as too much sun
If your soil pH is above 6.5-7 I would guess that the problem is iron defficiency which gets even worse when the soil is wet. Most of my pawpaw plants look like yours and that is because of my soil. Iron sulfate helps for a month or two, then I have to apply again.
I keep the seedlings in full sun and see no problems with that, they grow just fine.
Were they bare-rooted when you planted them?
In the meantime… give them fertilizer. 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 but not 20-20-20. Or a slow release such as osmocote or generic slow release. Mulch. And see if that helps.
And for the first couple years with pawpaws planted where they receive a lot of sun they should be behind shade cloth. Then after the first couple years they will do fine in a lot of sun/full sun.
I don’t think there’s anything else you can do besides add pelleted sulfur to lower a ph.
I put landscape fabric around the cages. Also added some Espoma Soil Acidifier and pine bark mulch.
The pawpaws are part of a reforestation project. They are wild type so fruit quality unknown.
Could be phyllosticta/leaf spot fungus. Extensive amounts can cause fruit cracking but usually is just a cosmetic issue.
Pawpaws can also develop black blemishes on the skin from rubbing against other fruits/branches/whatever may have bumped or scraped them.
Thank you so much Tony.
Why we should not apply slow release fertilizer for pawpaw? I plan to apply osmocote 13 13 13 slow release to my pawpaw trees next Spring Dax. Thank you.
My message was not clear, Vincent. Slow-release is perfectly fine. And I do not know why I stopped at 13-13-13 but said 20-20-20 was too much/strong, however, I did not go back and read the entire thread.
Thank you Dax.
I choose 13 13 13 slow release because only need apply once a year save time for me.
? ? ?
These are the same proportions of nutrients. So …
Esensialy equivalent , other than the dose.
The rate ( amount ) applied being the only difference .
Often higher analysis is cheeper. Just use a lower rate.