Q: when should I shorten my pawpaw and ‘cap’ the pruning wound?
A: Wait until winter. Use left over green pawpaw to make green pawpaw salad (delicious).
Prune to waist height with a clean, sharp, STERILE pruning saw (this prevents spreading the incurable pawpaw mosaic (aka crinkle top) virus between pawpaw plants. To sterilise, dip the blade in teatree oil or bleach solution for 30 seconds.
Allow the wound to heal naturally, do NOT apply any paints or other phoney treatments. Wound treatments were proven to be harmful in the 20th century.
As the wound heals and seals, a small water-collecting pool often forms (see picture). This does not damage the pawpaw, contrary to popular belief (a 19th century error).
You’ll often find a tree frog will take up residence inside. One lived happily in my pawpaw at Sydney Botanic Gardens for a couple of years – it called every sunset.
Correctly done, pruning a pawpaw keeps fruit within reach – and provides accommodation to charming garden wildlife.
2nd February 2014