Pawpaw – Mail Order?

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Customers ask us if we mail order our pawpaw. My answer is No, No, No and NO. I thought I would explain our rationale and, maybe, everyone would be more understanding.

First of all, the pawpaw is one of the rarest trees in Canada. Does it seem sensible to mail order this precious tree? Many trees ship well such as oaks, conifers and maples. You pop them in the mail and they are no worse for wear. So why not the pawpaw? The answer lies within its unique biology and physiology. It is probably one of the most finicky seedlings I know of. They absolutely DETEST being moved or transplanted. In fact, the more you handle the seedling the more distressed it becomes. It actually sends out air borne alarm scents if you disturb the roots, at all. The more disturbance to the roots, the stronger the alarm scents becomes. Also, the extremely fine root hairs will start to die off in less than 3 minutes exposure to sunlight and drying air.

At the 3rd year the pawpaw begins to really toughen up. Transplanting into its’ forever home becomes possible, with little fatalities. So does it make sense to transplant 1st year seedlings knowing that at least 50%, or more, will die? Not only have we killed off a rare tree but we have squandered a precious resource – the seeds. Truly Ontario sourced, non hybridized, pawpaw seeds are a rare and high demand item for growers. Does it make sense to squander the limited amount of seed to a mail order system?

And what drives this process? The consumer. Growers do not grow or mail order items that are not in demand. So realize your actions have consequences. Do you need to get a cheaper mail order pawpaw or do you respect that this is an amazing unique and RARE tree and not go the mail order route? Your call.

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