Dr. Charles Graham of the LSU AgCenter's Calhoun Research Station conducts research on mayhaws and says the berries always have been a favorite fruit of Louisiana residents. "People began transplanting mayhaw trees from the swamps, where they grew naturally, to higher, drier ground about 25 years ago," Graham said. "Mayhaws grow better in drier, upland soil. Although some people think mayhaws should be grown in swampy land, I advise people not to plant mayhaws in wet ground." Retired LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. John Pyzner agreed, saying that people began to realize where the trees could be grown as they moved them out of the swamps. "Many people think mayhaws only grow in flooded areas because they are naturally found there, but that's not the case. They actually grow better away from the swamp."
The transplanting of mayhaws began as the swamps were developed into cropland and residential areas, according to the experts, who say that transformation of land made people who were used to gathering mayhaws in the wild realize they had to grow them instead.
"The growers in the Louisiana Mayhaw Association are very innovative," said Dr. Pyzner. "They are encouraging research, creating new markets, developing improved varieties and mechanizing their harvesting operations." "We believe the mayhaw could be an economic development opportunity for our state," said Dr. Pyzner. "We don't have enough growers now to meet the demands for mayhaws."
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