Give a Tree Frog a home

1619192_10152556095508765_759695082_nWe ran out of time on 4BC Radio’s talkback gardening programme this morning, and I was unable to answer this question.

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.

See how SBS chef, Luke Nguyen, makes green pawpaw salad. Yum!

Jerry Coleby-Williams
2nd February 2014


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve And Jan Clark says:

    Hi Jerry,

    I have never been sure about pruning pawpaws. These are some of my questions:

    How many years would you expect a pawpaw to live? Do you cut straight across or at an angle? So, you don’t put a bucket over the cut tree? Can you do this more than once? Do you need to thin out the many new stems that come?

    Love to hear more about pawpaws.



    Sent from my iPad


    1. Hi Jan,
      Lifespan largely depends on health, location and weather.
      Cut straight.
      You can prune more than once.
      No need to thin new stems, weak ones never prosper.

  2. gretelau2001 says:

    Well there you go, no need to cap the wound. My memories of this go back to my childhood, somewhere in the 60’s, watching and listening as some old gardener used a large fruit tin to do the job.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.