Growing in popularity across the south and middle parts of the country is the Paw Paw Tree. Botanically known as Asimina triloba, a member of the Annonaceae (tropical Custard Apple Family), the pawpaw, unlike its tropical relatives, is hardy and naturally found dotted across the southern states. This unique tall shrub to small tree is widely adaptable to wet soils and shade conditions. Although they will grow more into a small tree in the full sun, they can handle half shade, but they will tend to be more of a sprawling shrub. Like most trees, they do best in good soil and growing conditions, but just make sure they get plenty of water, and a shot of fertilizer now and then, and these will be a great addition to your landscape design!
Paw Paw is growing in popularity largely because of the edible fruit it produces. What is a cross between a banana and a mango? A Paw Paw! No, they are not related, but the sweetness and texture of the fruit is something similar to a banana-mango. These highly nutritous oval fruits get 2 to 5 inches long, and turn yellow-orange when ripe. The custardy pulp is sweet, and there are several dark oval seeds.
Also, Paw Paw is getting a lot of attention for its medicinal value. The yellow custard-like fruit has high amino acid content; anti- carcinogens are present in the leaves; extracts from the twigs and leaves have some insecticidal properties.
Also unique about the Paw Paw are the flowers. These are a deep reddish-purple three-lobed shape, which is very unusual and attractive. The leaves can get large, oval shape, up to a foot in length. The natural habit of the Paw Paw is to grow into a tall shrub with many basal sprouts. They can be trimmed easily to maintain a small tree up to 40 feet tall. Plant the Paw Paw form Zones 5 to 9. As these are getting popular, order yours while the supply is plentiful...
How to grow these. Simply stated, these grow best in moist well-drained fertile soils with full sun to half shade. Most soils can be alright, but plenty of water and some added fertilizer will improve their growth and survival. If your soils are rocky, heavy clay, or very sandy, then add compost or other materials mixed into the planting spot. Planting instructions are included with each order, or can be read on the Nursery webpage.
Paw Paw roots... This is one of those trees that during the young years, the roots are "not much". The thick tap root looks more like a black carrot, or just a stub... with little or no branching. But wait and watch... new roots will resprout, and the tree will develop and grow normally.
Plant the Paw Paw six to twelve feet apart, along driveways or fence lines, or just by themselves in the corner of the yard. The flowers are "perfect" or complete with both male and female parts, but many people say to plant two or more (and mix varieties) for better pollination. These trees we offer are several years old, but the roots will vary from looking like a broken black stick to nicely fiberous. Either way, they will be good trees...
The Paw Paw is a decorative small-sized tree or tall shrub that adds some very nice color and fruit. These are becoming very popular, and you can understand why!
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Last Update: 06/20/2015
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