Monday, May 08, 2017
Pollinating Pawpaw flowers. 5.7.17
My trees for these varieties ("Sunflower" and "NC-1") were planted in 2012. This is the third year they have bloomed, and this year is clearly the most prolific. I also planted the variety "Rebecca's Gold" in 2012, it was then eaten off by a rabbit or deer, recovered, and this year is the first year that tree has bloomed.
Pawpaws do not transplant well, so they are planted when very small, and it takes more years to bear, compared to most fruit trees.
I should add that I have yet to see a ripe pawpaw in my orchard. Will this year finally be the first? I have noted that on the first, and sometimes second, year that many fruit tree varieties bloom, they do not set fruit. Pawpaws are not native to the cooler maritime Pacific NW, and may have more challenges here than hot humid mid continent summers. However, there are usually some ripe pawpaws at the Home Orchard Society fruit show, so I know that some people get them to grow and bear.
I use a paint brush to collect the anthers and pollen from flowers with ripe pollen, letting them fall into a white cup, then use a paint brush to transfer to flowers of the other tree. Sunflower started blooming 2 days before NC-1, so this has been one-way so far. However, Sunflower is also sometimes described as one of the rare self-receptive varieties, so I pollinated those with that tree's own pollen to see what happens.