Paw Paw Tree Disease (?)

Asked July 19, 2018, 3:05 PM EDT

I have two established Paw Paws and I planted a seedling I got at Cylburn next to them. I water the seedling regularly, but it has developed brown spots and is dropping leaves and not doing well at all. The other trees are fine. I attached 2 photos. Can you give me an idea of what is wrong and what I need to do to saw the tree? Thank You -Gene Harryman

Baltimore County Maryland fruit abiotic issues

1 Response

We don't think your paw paw is suffering from a disease. The leaf browning, especially on the margins leads us to think it's suffering from environmental stress. Some possible factors: loss of roots, injury to roots, and transplant shock; compacted or poorly drained soil; insufficient and inconsistent soil moisture; temperature extremes; competition with grass, etc. Even when you plant two individuals that seem nearly identical you can have this occur.

Paw paw can difficult to transplant. They have a long tap root and the small root system is easily compromised during transplanting. Also, new transplants sometimes suffer scorch injury when planted in full sun. You could try providing some protection with a piece of shade cloth.

The key is to help your paw paw establish a root system through the summer and early fall. Water it during droughty periods and protect it from mowers and wildlife. jt