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USDA Organic Pawpaw
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The Pawpaw Tree, with foot-long leaves that droop lazily from the branches, will give your garden a laid-back tropical vibe. Plant it where you’ll be able to appreciate its bold presencethroughout the growing season—especially in fall, when the foliage turns the color of ripe pineapple. If you plant more than one tree, you may also be rewarded with the gift of delectable fruits which have a tropical flair as well. About the size of a potato, the uncommon pawpaw fruit contains a sweet, creamy yellow flesh that’s often compared to banana custard in flavor. You’ll find it hard to believe that this dramatic tree doesn’t hail from some tropical paradise, but is actually native as far north as New York!
Tread lightly, shrink your footprint, and let yourself grow with USDA Certified Organic Trees. Organic farming has sprung up drastically in importance and influence, spreading worldwide the philosophy of deeply rooting nature in harmony and enriching the soil we stand upon. Benefitting the gardner, enhancing biodiversity, preserving nature's wildlife, and a true direction to protecting our environment. Choosing organic trees on your property, whether they are fruit, nut, ornamental, or shade trees, begins with their soil and cultivates change taking root in your backyard. Take one BIG TREE step for your garden, and one giant leap towards a greener world.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-8
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Way down yonder in the Pawpaw patch... so goes the old folk song celebrating this beloved native plant, which has a long history in America. Pawpaw was valued in ancient times by Native Americans, and the delicious fruits later nourished European settlers and explorers like Lewis and Clark. Human aren’t the only ones who delight in this yummy fruit treat—wildlife love pawpaws, too. The foliage feeds the young of the dazzling white, black, and red zebra swallowtail butterfly. In fact, Pawpaw is the ONLY thing that zebra swallowtail caterpillars will eat, which is reason enough to grow this splendid tree.
Look for Pawpaw’s interesting flowers in mid- to late spring. These thick-textured, triangular, burgundy-colored blooms are primitive from a botanical standpoint. Exuding a very faint musky scent, they are meant to attract beetles and flies for pollination instead of bees. It isn’t clear whether or not a single Pawpaw Tree can pollinate itself, but planting two different trees will ensure cross-pollination, promoting optimum fruit set in fall.
What does it mean to be USDA Organically grown?
- USDA Organic crops are grown exclusively on land that has gone without having non-USDA Organic approved substances applied for three years.
- No pesticides for us, please! Organically grown crops are highly regulated on what can and cannot be used for pest control—worried about harsh chemicals that have been sprayed on your plant? There is only a small number of approved synthetic chemicals that are allowed to be used. Otherwise, farmers use strict biological, mechanical, and physical management practices.
- Not just any type of seeds are used to grow and harvest organic plants: farmers can only use organic seeds or organically raised seedlings in their organic fields.
- Only the best handling is allowed! Organic and non-organic crops are not allowed to be commingled or near each other. Cross-contamination can occur, botching the organic plant's purity due to non-organic substances that could have been sprayed on non-organic harvests; this would cause the organic plant to be considered compromised.
- Fields are carefully cultivated through crop rotation and proper tillage practices to ensure that the soil and the soil's nutrients are kept at a happy balance. Animal manure, not sludge, is allowed to help infuse the soil with nitrogen to support the growth of the organic crops.
How to Grow
Pawpaw’s home in the wild is at forest edges or in the woodland understory, and it appreciates similar conditions in the landscape. It is happiest in a site with rich, organic-laden, well-drained soil and a generous layer of mulch. It flourishes in shade but will tolerate full sun if it is shaded for the first few years and if regular irrigation can be provided. This tree doesn’t like constantly soggy soil, but it doesn’t like to dry out, either. Suckers may appear around the tree—this is simply Pawpaw’s natural growth habit. You may pull or mow off the suckers to maintain the tree as a single-trunked specimen, or you may let them grow to allow a Pawpaw patch of your own to form.
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