Mariton: Planting for the Future

September 15, 2019

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Emma Schad with our Pawpaw experiment.

These Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) shoots are from a colony of Pawpaw trees at Mariton.  Pawpaws, like some other species, form clones – sending up multiple shoots from the same root structure.  They are often called clones, or clonal colonies because all the shoots have the same DNA.   Clone colonies can be a good approach for species with weak wood, like pawpaws.  The trees are often broken by wind, heavy snow, or nearby falling limbs.  Having numerous shoots in the area that can quickly grow to take the place of a damaged “source” tree is a great strategy for continuing your genes and your foothold in a good location.

Emma dug up several of the shoots and potted them. We haven’t had great success trying to germinate pawpaw seeds, so I thought we would try shoots.  The shoots obviously lose a lot of the root structure when dug up (the hundreds of shoots are all connected by their roots).   We’ll overwinter them to see if they survive, and then go from there.