The last time we checked in with our paw paw trees they were getting “groomed” for the upcoming fruiting season. Now — it’s time to see how many of the strong (will) survive.
As a way to maximize quality of this tasty fruit, Casey Trees arborist Marty Frye, thinned out the pawpaw fruits on our trees so that the remaining fruits could grow to their full, fruity potential.
Just like a Hunger Games competition, it’s a fight to the finish to be part of the surviving fruits. You may think this is a counterproductive process — plucking off fruits before they even have the chance to grow — however we assure you this practice is for the best… unlike the Hunger Games.
So why is it necessary to pick off these fruits prematurely? Well when pollination rates are high and the fruits grow in clusters as big as 4 or 5, the fruits can become “starved” for nutrients as they develop and many of them stay quite small or possibly never ripen fully.
Also, each tree branch has a limited number of leaves with a limited capacity to provide nutrients to the fruits as they develop. These branches can also only take so much weight. Culling the fruit cluster down to 1-3 fruits lessens this burden; allowing the branches to remain strong enough to support large, healthy fruits.
But don’t worry – the tree remains unaffected in this process. Trees are naturally able to self-regulate their fruit clusters, to a certain degree, by dropping excess fruits in the early stages of their development. We are just a lending a hand (literally).
You can learn about fruit-thinning and plenty other tree maintenance techniques by attending one of our tree care sessions such as this upcoming one at Mt. Olivet Cemetery!