A pawpaw regional variety trial (PRVT) was established at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in Apr. 1999 consisting of 28 commercially available pawpaw (Asimina triloba) varieties or advanced selections from the PawPaw Foundation (PPF; Frankfort, Ky.). Eight replicate trees of each selection, grafted onto seedling rootstocks, were planted in a randomized block design. The first two winters at the test planting site were unusually mild for the Finger Lakes region, with the lowest recorded temperatures above -16 °C (3.2 °F). Despite these mild winters, there was extensive winter mortality of some pawpaw varieties. Survival rates were >75% for 11 varieties, and were <40% for five other varieties. Poor establishment of grafted clonal pawpaws and insufficient pollination or fertilization of established pawpaws were important limitations of successful commercialization of this new fruit crop under conditions typical of upstate New York. Open mesh black plastic trunk guards provided adequate shade and protection for newly planted pawpaws, whereas translucent plastic tree-tubes caused heat stress and scorching of the young trees.
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