We Got our ‘Paws’ Dirty

Last week, our staff all received an email from one of our arborists, Marty Frye.

Marty wanted some help pollinating the four pawpaw trees in our rain garden. His expectations for attendance were low.

Marty should’ve known better. We are an urban forestry nonprofit after all — we all love trees and the outdoors.

Roughly 15 staff members came out to help him pollinate our pawpaws.

“It was great to have many of our staff come outside and investigate what goes on in the Rain Garden they pass by every day,” said Frye.

Some of you might be wondering — why do we need to hand-pollinate a Pawpaw?

Simple. We like pawpaw fruit.

Unfortunately for the pawpaw many pollinators are not attracted to the scent of their flowers. Complicating matters more is the fact that pawpaws may be self-incompatible, meaning they require cross-pollination between trees of different clones and not themselves.

Luckily, all it takes to pollinate pawpaws is a little human touch as Marty explains:

“Armed with pencils (for transferring individual packets of pollen) and small bowls (for collecting the pollen), the staff gathered pollen from flowers in male stage of one tree and transferred it over to flowers in female stage on another tree.”

Here are some photos of our staff in action:

Thanks to all of our hard work, we will have lots of delicious pawpaw fruits to enjoy this fall!