Paw paw, known botanically as Asimina triloba, is a species of trees grown for their seeded edible fruits. The soft, aromatic and fleshy interior of paw paw fruit often means it is grouped with tropical fruits such as mango and papaya, but it is actually a native species to the mild climes of the southeastern United States. The trees produce deep reddish purple flowers from March to May and develop fruit that ripen in late summer to the middle of fall. Paw paw is pruned sparingly and pruning is timed carefully so as to disrupt the fruiting cycle as little as possible.
Remove any cold damaged, diseased, dead, broken, abrading or otherwise suspect branches and foliage in the spring. Place cuts on a slight bias down to the healthy, stable tissue or down to the parent branch just outside the slightly-swollen branch collar.
Invigorate older, poorly-producing pawpaw trees by pruning away a just a few of the oldest branches in the canopy each year in the late summer immediately after the fruit harvest. Be selective, spread the cuts evenly throughout the canopy to maintain balance. New branches will sprout in their place to produce fruit the following summer or fall and subsequent years thereafter.
Pull all of the cuttings out of the canopy and clear away any material that has dropped down onto the soil below. This will prevent the decaying tissues from serving as a breeding ground for unwanted insects and disease.