Friday, February 25, 2011

Tree Tubes for Paw Paw

Growing up and learning my forestry in Minnesota I didn't learned about paw paw (Asimina triloba) until I started selling tree tubes to tree planters in other parts of the country 21 years ago.  Paw paw has a huge native range, from Florida to Nebraska to Michigan, but it doesn't venture into the frozen tundra of my home state.

Paw paw is the largest tree fruit native to North America, and the only temperate member of the tropical Custard Apple family (Annonaceae).  It's taste was originally described to me (and I'm ashamed to say I still haven't tasted one) as, "a more custardy banana."  Others say the flavor is more complex, a mix of papaya, banana, mango and pineapple. Yum.

Once more of a local novelty there is a growing interest in planting and growing paw paw on a commercial basis.

Paw paw grows extremely well in tree tubes, and anyone planting paw paw - whether in hopes of establishing a commercial orchard or just as a hobby - will have enough invested in those trees in time, money and effort to make using tree tubes a no brainer.  They are susceptible to drought and moisture stress, and or course deer browse is an ever-present threat to all new tree plantings these days.

Here's a quote from the Virginia Tech web site linked to above:

"Plastic tree tube shelters (4 to 6 inches in diameter) that are used in reforestation and vineyard plantings work well for protecting the new seedlings from sunlight the first year (Figure 11). A wooden or metal stake should be driven next to the tube to secure it in place. Tubes should be removed by mid-August to allow tissue hardening for winter. Tubes left on trees too long may result in significant winter damage."

Don't let this scare you.  This is a reference to the "bad old days" before vented tree tubes. With today's vented tree tubes, such as the Tubex Combitube Treeshelter we offer at Wilson Forestry Supply, you don't have to worry about winter injury any more and can leave your tree tubes on all winter for additional protection, and more growth the following season.

To learn more about using Wilson Tree Tubes on paw paw, please feel contact us.

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