Monday, November 8, 2010

Lopping the top off the pawpaw tree

What do you do when you can no longer reach to pick the pawpaws on your tree? You lop off the top! I find the thought of this proceedure quite scary, as I dont want to lose this tree, and if you are not careful and allow moisture to get into the top of the stem then the entire trunk will rot. I have a few other pawpaw trees starting up, but often they succumb to a virus and dont make it past a few feet tall. This one is large, healthy and very prolific.

This is predicted to be a very bad cyclone season and so high pawpaw trees will often get knocked down by strong winds. Cutting it down could actually protect the tree, and you can see the tree is ready for this - there are already side branches forming. I need to get it done before the wet season really starts....
Ooh.... first I need to research some recipes for using up green papaws :)
commonly called procrastination!
OK all set.... down she comes!  Hubby cut it off with a saw and I stood by with the broom to knock it away so that it didnt fall on his head.
A clean and dry empty tin can will prevent rainwater from entering the exposed cut.

I wonder how long it will be until we get some more pawpaws?  well, it is done, and I now have to find uses for 14 pawpaws - well 10 as four already went to  neighbours.  Some of the pawpaws have a little yellow so I will leave those on the potting table and see if they ripen over time.
I see there are some flowers so I am sure we will soon see some new little pawpaws forming within arms reach.


Here you can see the hollow stem and imagine the disaster it would be if we got some rain inside the stem!
Off to stir my green pawpaw chutney :)


  1. Hi! I did the same thing and also blogged about this a few months ago. Anyway, the rain got into the stem. I was hoping the sun would dry it up but it continued raining for days. New shoots grew, papayas developed but I could see that the trunk was rotting so I chopped it away recently.

  2. J Bar
    Yours too!
    I found that post you wrote. Sorry you lost your tree - the plastic must have leaked - I hope my tin can idea works.

  3. I've never tried cutting the tops off, but our occasional winter freezes will sometimes freeze the top off and they usually recover nicely. I have one that is 11 years old and still producing well.

  4. That would've been scary for me too. Very interesting to know that you can do that. I don't have any papayas, but my sister grows them, so I'll have to pass on this info.

  5. I hope your papayas survives. I like adding them to salsas that I serve with grilled chicken. I find that it goes well with the acidity of our local lime.

  6. Oh! The plastic, which was a shower cap, didn't leak. I put it there after the rain. Then I removed it hoping that it would dry up. I thought I'll cover it again after it dries up but it didn't happen. It kept raining.

  7. Grower Jim,
    Gosh I never thought they would survive a freeze - 11 years is a good age for a pawpaw tree.
    Even more scary once I saw just how hollow that stem was!
    I have had mango salsa with curries which is delicious. mostly I just eat my pawpaw for breakfast with passionfruit and plain yoghurt. Yum
    we are lcuky that there has been no rain and it is forecast to be dry for the next week. all that talk about an early wet season has fizzled out.

  8. hi africanaussie, i laughed at your methodology, but yes that is the best. Putting a can on top of the newly cut trunk. We do that also but since we have lots of papaya in the property we dont bother if they rot or grow, but it seems they still heal despite some rotting. And a few branches emerge to have more fruits. The birds are happy because we cannot eat most of them. Ours are just used for chicken stews we call 'tinola' in local term.

  9. Great post! I'm actually considering doing that this winter and wrapping the trunk! I'm glad you mentioned the part about not getting water in the trunk, because that would be disastrous!

  10. Andrea,
    I looked up tinola and that looks quite tasty. I have used green papaya in a meat stew and it really does tenderize the meat as it contains papain which is a natural meat tenderizer.
    Rainforest Gardener,
    On our TV Gardening Australia show there is a gardener in Tasmania (that gets pretty cold) and he has erected a hessian tent around papayas and bananas and they have formed their own little micro climates.

  11. cool. Those pawpaws look great on the tree! Aren't they supposed to stink? I haven't had a pawpaw. I do sing that song quite frequently and now it's going to be stuck in my head (pickin' up pawpaws, puttem in your pocket...)

  12. Hi! I wanted to let you know that the blog carnival “How to Find Great Plants, Issue #1″ was published today and includes your post on ginger. Thanks for participating!

    I'm in a colder zone than you and though we have a native pawpaw plant here, it seems a lot different than the one you are growing. Ours is Asimina triloba.

  13. Hello Eliza,
    thanks for including me in that carnival. I have no idea what type of pawpaw I have. It is the orange fleshed version. I do like the ones with the red flesh and have planted some seeds, so hoping to get a bit of variety.


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