Asimina Triloba (American Paw Paw) Grow in Freezing Temperatures

Asimina triloba, commonly known as the American pawpaw, is a fruit-bearing tree native to North America. While it is generally hardy and can tolerate a range of temperatures, including cold winters, it does have some limitations when it comes to freezing temperatures. Here are some considerations for growing American pawpaw in freezing climates:

  1. Hardiness Zone: American pawpaw is native to Eastern North America and is best suited for USDA hardiness zones 5-9. In zones with colder winters (zone 5 and possibly zone 4), the tree can survive, but it may need some additional protection during extremely cold periods.
  2. Cold Tolerance: Young pawpaw trees are more vulnerable to freezing temperatures, so it’s essential to provide protection in the early years. Mature trees can generally withstand temperatures as low as -10°F to -20°F (-23°C to -29°C) without significant damage.
  3. Microclimates: Planting American pawpaws in sheltered microclimates can help mitigate the effects of freezing temperatures. Placing them near buildings, hills, or other windbreaks can provide additional protection.
  4. Winter Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree before winter. This helps insulate the soil and protect the roots from extreme cold.
  5. Snow Cover: In regions with consistent winter snowfall, the snow can act as a natural insulator, protecting the tree from severe cold. Ensure the snow cover remains intact during cold spells.
  6. Wrap Young Trees: For young trees, consider wrapping the trunks with tree wrap or burlap to protect them from frost and winter sunscald. This is especially important in their first few years of growth.
  7. Proper Pruning: Prune your pawpaw tree to remove dead or damaged branches before winter. This can help prevent winter injury.
  8. Varietal Considerations: Some American pawpaw varieties may be more cold-hardy than others. It’s a good idea to select cultivars that are known to perform well in your specific climate.
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It’s worth noting that while American pawpaws can tolerate cold temperatures, they may not be suitable for regions with extremely harsh and prolonged winters, such as those in USDA hardiness zones 3 and lower. If you’re in such an area, it might be more challenging to grow pawpaws without providing substantial protection.

In summary, American pawpaws can be grown in freezing temperatures, but precautions and care should be taken, especially when the trees are young. Ensuring the right site selection and appropriate winter protection measures will help your pawpaw trees thrive in colder climates.

It grows in the temperate regions of USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9 and survives freezing temperatures as low as -25 to -30 degrees C, or -13 to -22 F. It is an understory tree that likes shade when young but handles more sun as it matures. It can grow in areas that have a much more mild Winter too. This fruit is related to annona species which includes fruits like custard apple, cherimoya, soursop and rollinia. American paw-paw is also known as wild banana, American custard apple, Kentucky banana, Michigan banana, Missouri banana, and the poor man’s banana.


  • James Jones

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