How to Grow Pears?
Pears grow on sturdy, deep-rooted trees that can live and bear for as long as seventy-five years. They will take less cold than apples but more than peaches, and often have fewer pest and disease problems than either. They are not especially rich in vitamins, but no matter. Get your vitamins A and C from the tomato crop and enjoy sweet, juicy home-grown pears for the sheer joy of it.
The pear’s brief, early bloom can result in the flowers’ being killed in cold areas, and also can lead to insufficient pollination. Even if the flowers appear when it is warm enough for bees to be active, they are not as fragrant as those of other fruits, and bees may pass them by.
Pear trees are not self-fertile either, though most varieties will cross-pollinate each other well. (The combination of ‘Bartlett’ and ‘Seckel,’ which are incompatible, is the notable exception.) Most do badly in very warm zones since they need winter chilling to break dormancy.
Pears are upright-growing, usually reaching at least 25 feet. Dwarfs can be grown successfully, usually on quince rootstocks SITE Plant pear trees in a sunny spot except in climates where the sun is very strong. Protect them from winds that are cold or salt-laden.
In the cold temperature planting on a northern or eastern slope will assist to forestall too-early bloom. It is very imperative to give pears good air circulation to ward off fire blight, the most troublesome pear disease. Plant standard-sized varieties 20-25 feet apart, dwarf ones 12-15.
Pears are deep-rooted and need deep soil. They will do better in heavy soil than a light one since they need plenty of soil moisture. (Sandy soils also warm up too quickly in spring, producing frost-vulnerable early bloom.)
Pears growing in dry soil will bear pretty flowers and then drop unripe fruit all over the ground. On the other hand, too-rich soil will make them more susceptible to fire blight and may produce rapid growth that splits the bark. The best pH is about 6.5, but a wide range is tolerable.
Plant while dormant in fall in frost-free areas, otherwise in early spring. Buy one-year-old whips and cut back to 3 or 3% feet. Set them out at the same height at which they grew in the nursery, but with dwarf varieties make sure the graft is several inches above the soil so the tree won’t root above the graft.
At planting time dig in organic matter such as peat and perhaps some bone meal, but no nitrogenous fertilizer. You have a vigorous tree and can kill it with too much kindness.
As the trees are growing, you can top-dress them lightly with compost or whatever it takes to keep leaf color a healthy green and the tree productive- but you may not need to feed at all. It is more important to make sure the tree has plenty of moisture, especially at blossom time and when the fruit is ripening.
Moreover, heavy mulch not only will conserve moisture but also may assist to forestall too-early flowering. You may also grow grass around the tree to put back flowering and contain growth. But beware of heavy applications of lawn fertilizer. Pear trees are pruned very much the same way as apple trees, but lightly so as to avoid producing vigorous new growth that will be susceptible to blight.
Like apples, they bear for many years on long-lived spurs. It is, however, a good idea to keep the top pruned low while the tree is young so it will grow too tall to pick. Cutting it later is harder to do and will blight. Old trees can be renewed in the same way as apples. Thinning will befit the tree and the crop, though are notorious self-thinners, often dropping half their crop in early or midsummer.
PESTS AND DISEASES
The biggest pear plague is fire blight, a bacterial disease that blackens the leaves and twigs so they look burned. They may also curl over in a “shepherd’s crook” shape. Cankers (sunken places) can be seen at the base of the blackened parts.
The disease is carried by insects that enter the flowers in spring and is best prevented by growing resistant varieties. Also, observe the cautions mentioned above. If your trees still get fire blight, prune out the affected shoots at least several inches below the damage.
Sterilizing your clippers in a chlorine solution between cuts and destroying the debris by burning or burying it. Badly damaged trees may need to be destroyed. There are antibiotic sprays, best administered by a professional, that control fire blight.
Other diseases include brown rot and pear canker, a fungus that produces sunken areas on the twigs. You might have trouble identifying the latter, so take twigs to the Extension Service to see if pear canker is the trouble. If so, just prune it out and improve drainage in the area where the tree grows.
Pear scab produces olive-green spots on the fruit in warm, wet weather; any infected areas should be pruned out and destroyed. Pear psylla, a plant louse, is the most serious insect pest, blackening the leaves and fruit in midsummer because of the sooty mold that grows on the sticky “honeydew,” which the lice secrete.
Dormant-oil sprays, applied before buds swell, will help to control it; follow this treatment with insecticidal soap spray, as needed later in the season. Aphids, which also secrete honeydew, are also controlled by dormant oil followed by soap.
Even if neither psylla nor aphids do great damage, both can introduce fire blight into the tree. Pears are also injured by the codling moth, and by pear slugs, which are best done in by sprinkling them with lime. So, to avoid pests and diseases you should know how to grow pears in a systematic way.
Pears are best picked before maturity. Left to ripen on the tree they become grainy and can go very quickly from ripe to rotten. Pick when the skins are light green, when the seeds inside are brown (open one pear to check), and when the pears can be severed from the branch easily with an upward twisting!
Motion If possible store pears in a dry room where the temperature is just above freezing; they’ll keep this way for several months. Then bring them into a warmer room when you want them to ripen. But handle them carefully at all stages because they are easily nicked and bruised.
Standard trees bear a good crop in about six years, on average, and dwarfs in three or four. Expect up to five bushels per tree from standards, up to a bushel and a half from dwarfs.
Bartlett is the best-known pear, the standard commercial variety that keeps and ships well. The tree is vigorous but prone to blight; fruits are early. “Clapp’s Favorite is the standard late variety, hardier for the north than ‘Bartlett’ but also susceptible to blight. So is the exquisite “Bosc” that wonderful little brown, long-necked pear, and the sumptuous old-world ‘Flemish Beauty?
Less risky is the wonderful old ‘Seckel’ or sugar pear, which is small, brown, and very sweet. It grows slowly but vigorously on a compact tree and is quite hardy. (Also try its early version, “Tyson.’) Modern choices include the early and dependable ‘Moonglow,’ or, for canning, ‘Kieffer,’ a big, crisp.
Also, the yellow pear that matures fairly is late and keeps very well. Another good bet is Magness,’ a good blight-resistant pear for the south and west that is very sweet, keeps well, and grows on a nice, spreading tree. (Grow two additional varieties to ensure pollination.) ‘Orient’ is a good round, green canning pear for the south, also blight-resistant. Also, try the great-keeping ‘Red Anjou’ or the trouble-free ‘Starking Delicious.’
Western gardeners owe it to themselves to try the ‘Comice’ pear, an old, choice French pear considered the crème de la crème; it bears late, has exquisite flavor, and is blight-resistant. They should also grow the Asian pears that are starting to become popular. Huge, crisp pears that are something like apples in texture; these are good keepers and grow on large, self-fertile trees.
Good varieties include “Chojuro’ and “Twentieth Century. The Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is an ornamental tree worth noting, especially the variety Bradford (called Bradford pear). It has a nice shape and makes a good street tree, resistant to fire blight. It is covered with white flowers in spring and turns a lovely dark red in fall. The tiny fruits are not edible. so, we hope you would become to know how to grow pears.
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