Tuesday, April 16, 2013
The Great Paw Paw Search Continues - Or Does It?
It was suppose to get into the 50's today and a low of only 49 but at noon I was so cold I started a fire in the furnace and the outside thermometer reported 41 degrees. Needless to say we brought all our seedlings back inside. Still not safe for the little ones. Doesn't look like it is going to improve much this entire week either.
All the ponds, small lakes and streams are filled to over flowing once again. Even the ones with relatively small drain fields have refilled now. Things are greening up nicely even with the frequent low temps and we may yet see some boom growing and good bee build up if we can just get some longer warm up periods between these cold snaps.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to go on another Paw Paw tree search. Supposedly this tree is common around here but I have never been able to find one. I like to think I have a better than average native tree knowledge base. I have made it a point to identify almost every tree I come across and get to know each varieties uses and characteristics as much as possible and can usually tell most trees apart when I roam the woods. However early Spring to Mid-Summer are not my usual roaming times and it occurred to me this maybe the reason I have never found a Paw Paw tree in the wild.
Well I believe I finally struck pay dirt and found two separate stands of Paw Paw Trees. The funny thing is it didn't happen while walking the woods in the the light mist but while I was driving home. Along the side of the road in a fence line not even a mile from the Small-Hold I noticed some spindly central trunk trees I had always assumed were young Elms but had never really looked at them before. What caught my eye were several large brown pods hanging in twos and threes on the upper most branches. They looked like extra big and fat Black Locust pods but they sure were not on Black Locust trunks.
I got out and examined the trees and I am still not sure what they are. They are in full Sun which I read Paw Paws needed partial shade when young to grow. The bark was not really smooth and I thought Paw Paw had smooth bark but the new growth was smooth. They were growing in stands which would indicate a sucker type root expansion but as yet they have no buds or leaves starting to come out so nothing else to ID the tree. The pods are way up there and on very small branches so it doesn't surprise me that a coon never got to them and I read birds and other pests won't usually eat Paw Paw fruit.
If they are Paw Paw trees they really won;t do me any good since they are way too grown to transplant and more than likely not a single tree regardless. I know the landowner and he would let me try and dig a couple up but I am not to that point yet anyway. I am going to have to watch these trees and wait for leaves and blooms to see if my theory is correct. Once I know exactly what I am looking for I am sure I will find more.
I love a good sustainable mystery.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!