Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Paw Paw and Sugar Maple Trees for Gear Acres

We have a million things on our 'to do' list that must be done before it's snows so taking out time to plant trees might seem like something we could have done in the summer or next spring.  But opportunity and need came together this week, so trees were bought and now we're planting.
The big nursery where I buy a lot of my trees will close on Sunday for the winter.  I also had $4.75 of rewards money that needed to be used this month or lose it. 

 Last weekend I did a quick run through the trees looking for sugar maples and found that they only had three left.  The three all had a nice shape and were very straight.  Unfortunately I wasn't driving the truck and these were 10 foot tall trees.  So I decided to come back the next day with R and the truck.  

I wasn't in the market for fruit trees, because of our black walnut situation, but I couldn't resist looking.  At the end of the row were three Paw Paw trees that were about 6 feet tall.  I've always wanted to plant some Paw Paw trees but I thought I would have to drive to Indiana to get them.  I could get them by mail order but they are usually bare root and maybe 24 to 36 inches in height.  They are not cheap either.  By mail order they are usually $24.99 for a 3 foot tall bare root.  I've never had good luck with bare root trees plus we have that black walnut problem.
 I wanted those trees BAD.  But at $59.99 each I needed to find out if they tolerate being planted near or under black walnut (Juglans nigra) trees. So I searched 'can you grow paw paw close to black walnut trees' and the first thing that I see is 'it's both shade tolerant and julgalone tolerant (can grow with/under black walnut trees').    Yippee!!
Paw Paw Fun Facts

You can spell Paw Paw two ways....PawPaw or Paw Paw.

George Washington loved Paw Paw fruit and Thomas Jefferson cultivated it at Monticello.

Lewis and Clark depended on Paw Paw and nuts when their rations were low.  

Paw Paw fruit is eaten fully ripe and has a tropical taste that most describe as a combination of mango, pineapple, and banana.  

Shelf life of a fully ripened Paw Paw is just several days at room temperature but refrigerated fruit can last a week.  The fact that shelf life is short is probably why today we do not see Paw Paw fruit in the grocery store.  

According to Wikipedia the Paw Paw fruit was commonly referred to as wild banana, prairie banana, Indiana banana, Hoosier banana, the poor man's banana, and banango.  I have heard it referred to as the Indiana banana before but those other names are new to me.

I have always read that Paw Paw are under story trees but the tag that came on the tree indicated full sun.  I looked around my yard and found two spots.  One was a definite under story location with sun in the morning.  The other spot was more open but shaded on and off throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.

Paw Paw fruit has also been found to have cancer curing or cancer prevention properties.  Normally I might side eye that but the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has info on Paw Paw fruit on their website.  Check out the two links below for cancer and Paw Paw info.

I really wanted to taste Paw Paw fruit, so I searched and searched and finally found a website that sells Paw Paw Spiceberry Jam.  They also sell cool t shirts for the Ohio Paw Paw Festival AND fresh Paw Paw fruit.  So in the next week I should have my hands on some fresh Paw Paw.....I hope.  I just went to their site and they are now out of fresh produce.  Fingers crossed that I get lucky and they send me some.

Here is their website if you are interested in some jam or other tasty items.

We were able to plant 1 of the 3 sugar maples (Acer saccherumtoday.  The addition of these three trees will give us a total of 5 sugar maples.   
 The sugar maple trees will be planted along the curve of the driveway.  Currently we have two semi dead box elder trees (Acer negundo) in this location but they will be removed as soon as R gets his chain saw back from the shop.  I have a large box elder out by the road that is in better condition than these two trees.  I know a lot of people do not like box elders.  They tend to grow in a leaning manner and have a lot of small dead branches in the canopy.  It's just not a pretty maple tree.  My favorite maple tree is the black maple.  It's considered a subspecies of Acer saccharum but the bark is darker and the black maples in my yard have the perfect shaped canopy, almost round. 
 The two leaning trees in the middle and left side of the photo are the box elder trees.  The one on the far left has rot between the two main trunks and the tree in the center has a half dead canopy.  We try very hard not to cut down trees in our yard but these two will not improve.  Many of our small trees are volunteers that we transplanted from our flower beds out into the lawn.

Currently at Gear Acres we have the following trees

Sugar maple
black maple
silver maple
red maple 
box elder
pin oak
white oak
bur oak
black walnut
tulip poplar or Liriodendron tulipifere
comice pear
bartlett pear
asian pear
japanese plum
european plum
4 varieties of apples
paw paw
blue spruce
norway pine

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ” 

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