Available for some time in the Pacific Northwest at the local grocers or farmer’s market, the fruit of Asian pear trees is enjoying a boost in popularity throughout the country. With a delicious pear flavor but a firm apple texture, growing your own Asian pears is becoming a popular option for those with a home orchard. So how do you grow an Asian pear tree and what other pertinent Asian pear tree care can aid the home grower? Read on to learn more.
Asian pears are also called more specifically Chinese, Japanese, Oriental and apple pears. Asian pears (Pyrus serotina) are sweet and juicy like a pear and crunchy much like an apple. They can be grown in USDA zones 5-9.
Trees are not self-pollinating, so you will need another tree to aid in pollination. Some cultivars are cross-incompatible, meaning that they will not pollinate each other. Check to be sure the varieties that you are purchasing will cross pollinate. The two trees should be planted 50-100 feet (15-30 m.) for optimal pollination.
Fruit is allowed to ripen on the tree, unlike the European pear varieties, which are plucked from the tree when still green and then allowed to ripen at room temp.
There are a number of Asian pear varieties to choose from, many of which are dwarf cultivars that only attain heights of between 8-15 feet (2.5-4.5 m.) in height. Some of the more popular varieties include Korean Giant, Shinko, Hosui, and Shinseiki.
Trees should be planted at least 15 feet (4.5 m.) apart in a sunny area of the garden in compost rich soil. Plan to plant the trees in the spring. Dig a hole almost as deep and twice as wide as the tree’s rootball.
Gently remove the tree from the container and loosen the roots lightly. Place the tree in the hole and backfill with soil. Water the new Asian pear well and surround the base of the tree (not up against the trunk) with a 2-inch (5 cm.) layer of mulch.
Caring for Asian pears is fairly simple once the saplings become established. In the five years, be sure to keep the trees moist; water deeply each week if there is little rain. What does that mean exactly? When the soil is dry to a depth of 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm.), water the tree. Irrigate with enough water to moisten the soil to the tree root ball depth. Established Asian pears should be watered when the soil is dry 2-3 inches (5-7 cm.) down. Established trees require around 100 gallons of water every 7-10 days during dry spells.
Caring for Asian pears requires a little pruning as well. The goal is to train the tree with a modified central leader that will shape the tree like a stereotypical Christmas tree shape. Also, encourage branching angles on young trees by bending flexible limbs with clothespins or small spreaders.
Caring for Asian pears also requires some judicious thinning. Thin the Asian pear fruit two times. First, when the tree is in bloom, simply remove about half of the flowers in each cluster. Thin again 14-40 days after the blossoms drop to encourage larger fruit to form. Using sterilized pruning shears, select the largest pear fruit in the cluster and prune out all the others. Continue to each cluster, removing all but the largest fruit.
There is no need to fertilize a newly planted young Asian pear; wait a month and then give it ½ pound (0.2 kg.) of 10-10-10. If the tree is growing more than one foot per year, do not fertilize it. Nitrogen encourages growth, but over feeding can reduce fruiting and encourage diseases.
If the tree is growing at a slower rate, go ahead and feed it with 1/3 to ½ cup (80-120 ml.) of 10-10-10 per each year of the tree’s age, up to 8 cups (2 l.) divided into two feedings. Apply the first portion in the spring prior to new growth and again when the tree begins fruiting. Sprinkle the fertilizer over the soil and water it in.
Originating from Japan in late 1895, Chojuro Asian pear trees (Pyrus pyrifolia‘Chojuro’) are a preferred cultivar with russetted orange-brown skin as well as crisp, succulent white flesh at concerning 3 inches (8 centimeters.) or a lot more. The fruit is understood for its extensive storage space life also, concerning 5 months cooled.
The tree has big, ceraceous, dark environment-friendly vegetation that transforms a beautiful red/orange in the loss. At maturation the tree will certainly get to 10-12feet (3-4 m.) in elevation. Chojuro flowers in very early April as well as fruit ripens in late August to very early September. The tree will certainly start birthing 1-2 years after growing.
How to Grow a Pear Trees – A Step by Step Guide
Pear trees are generally easier to maintain than, say, plum, peach, or even apple trees. Pear plants tend to have fewer pest and disease problems, and they usually live longer and bear more fruit than other home grown fruit trees. It might take five or more years for new pear trees to produce significant crops, but once they start producing, they can bear a lot of fresh pears for a long time, even more than 100 years! Growing pear trees is easy, fun, and rewarding with easy care and minimal maintenance. Use this guide for planting pear trees when you decide it’s time to add a new addition in your landscape.
There are three main types of pears: (1) The European pears(Pyrus communis), including most of the standard “pear-shaped” cultivars we know from the grocery store (2) the Asian pears (P. pyrifolia), including the gritty “sand pears” and other, usually hard, apple-shaped types and (3) hybrids between the two (P. X lecontei), including the popular ‘Kieffer’ and ‘Leconte’ varieties.
Like many other large fruit trees, pear trees require a period of winter dormancy called “chill hours” before they will produce blossoms in spring to fruit set. Note that the chill hour requirement is different from the USDA hardiness zones, which are based on the average minimum temperatures for each area. You need to select pear varieties that (1) have the proper chilling requirement for your particular location, and (2) are adapted to your particular USDA zone. Both statistics are normally specified by the seller for each variety and we certainly do here at Perfect Plants.
Chilling hours are the total number of hours in the winter that the temperature is between 32°F and 45°F. (The hours need not be consecutive.) Use this interactive source to get the average chilling hours for your specific location: http://agroclimate.org/tools/chill-hours-calculator/
There are a few exceptions, but most pear varieties require cross pollination, so you will need at least two different cultivars to get fruit. Which species doesn’t matter: European pears can cross-pollinate with Asian pears and the hybrid pears work with them both. Bartlett pear and Kieffer pear are good pollinators for almost all other pears. The critical thing is that the different varieties must be blooming at the same time. An early blooming variety will not be able to pollinate a late blooming variety.
Perfect Plants offers seven varieties of pears, including European, Asian, and hybrid pears, and pears adapted to most regions of the United States.
To be close enough for cross pollination and yet far enough apart for adequate room to grow, standard size trees should be planted within 20-100 feet of each other. Dwarf tree varieties can be 12-75 feet apart. Semi dwarf pear trees should be somewhere in between.
Pears do best in a loamy, humus-rich soil that is somewhat moisture retentive and not too sandy. They do better in heavier soils or clay soils than do apple or peach trees, but excessively fertile soils can lead to disease problems. Well drained soil is best.
A soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 is best, although 5.5 to 7.5 is OK. Have the soil tested for pH level before planting and make adjustments with lime or sulfur as recommended in the test results. pH adjustments to the soil should be made 6-12 months before planting.
Like other fruit trees, pear trees need full sun, and you should plant yours in the sunniest location possible. Do not plant where they will be shaded or get root competition from other trees. Consider the ultimate height of the tree and pay attention to overhead wires. Avoid low spots where drainage can be slow. If possible, plant pear trees on hilltops or slopes which provide what commercial growers call “air drainage” which can protect tender blossoms from late spring freezes and frosts.
The growing conditions are essential to keep your tree happy and healthy! Choose your planting spot wisely. If you are wondering how to plant pear trees read on!
Wondering when to plant pear trees? Containerized trees can be planted any time of the year. (Bare-root trees, not treated here, should be planted when dormant, during the winter.)
Thoroughly wet the soil line in the pot before starting. Place the pot on its side and slide the root ball out. If the plant is stuck, you can slip a long-bladed knife around the inside edge to loosen it. Gently loosen some of the roots along the sides and bottom, and pull them outward so they are not encircling the root mass. It might be necessary to prune some of the roots if they are growing in a circle around the inside of the pot.
Dig a hole a little deeper and 2-3 times wider than the tree was in the nursery pot. Do not add fertilizer or soil amendments to the planting hole or base of the tree. Build up a rounded mound of soil in the middle of the planting hole. Place the root crown on top of the mounded soil and spread the side roots out over the mound.
Root systems that are too long should be shortened rather than allowed to encircle the hole. The top of the crown should be at or slightly above ground level, and the graft union between the scion and the rootstock should be 2-6 inches above the ground surface.
Work the soil in and around the roots. When the hole is half filled, give it a good soaking of water. When the water has drained, readjust the depth of the stem if necessary and finish filling the hole. Gently tamp the soil down.
Build up a 3-6 inch high dike of soil on the ground around the outside of the root zone. This will help impound water over the roots while it sinks into the soil. Water the tree thoroughly. Spread a layer of organic mulch 3-5 inches deep over the root zone and beyond for a foot or two to help hold in soil moisture. You can use organic matter such as hay, straw, leaves, pine needles, grass clippings or compost.
Do not use mushroom compost as this contains lime and will raise the pH. If the central leader is long and whip-like, head it back to about three feet tall. Do not fertilize. If you have made it this far and are still wondering how to care for a pear tree after planting continue reading below!
Do not fertilize your new pear tree. Do water frequently and deeply for the first year. Pear trees should get about an inch of water each week from rain or irrigation. If rainfall is insufficient, water enough to soak several inches into the soil once a week. For newly planted trees, two gallons per week should be adequate except in drier, sandier soils where 6-8 gallons a week might be necessary.
Pull competing weeds as they appear, maintaining a weed-free zone of about three feet around each tree. You may have to protect the little trees from deer and rabbit damage. You may need to support the trees with wires and stakes for a year or two if they are weak and leggy. Mulch will help control the weeds too.
Begin training your pear trees during their first dormant season. If there is more than one upright shoot competing to be the trunk (central leader), select the strongest one and remove the others. Pear trees are pruned to a vase shape, with the modified central leader system, much like apple trees. Learn more about Basic Pruning for Trees and Shrubs. Don’t summer prune as this is when growing fruit are set and you may prune the fruit off. Prune fruit trees before the growing season and before flower buds appear.
Choose 5-7 side branches with wide crotches to serve as scaffolding, and remove all other side tree branches. The scaffold branches should radiate evenly around the trunk and be at least six inches apart vertically. The lowest scaffold should be around 18 inches above ground. The angle between a scaffold branch and the central leader (trunk) should be between 45° and 60°.
You can train the scaffold branches to grow more outward with weights or with spreaders inserted between the branch and the trunk. If there aren’t enough appropriate scaffold branches, finish the job the following winter.
During the second dormant season, cut off the top of the young pear tree 24-30 inches above the uppermost scaffold branch. This will cause new shoots to grow and sprout upward. During the third dormant season we will select the strongest upright stem to be the central leader (trunk), and we will remove all side branches from the scaffold branches except for the strongest two or three.
Do not prune off the short shoots that may develop on the tree trunk. They aren’t hurting anything and they are helping to provide food for the tree. Continue using spreaders to widen the crotches of the scaffold branches.
Mature pear trees should be pruned as needed to maintain the desired full size and shape, and to remove dead wood, crossed branches, suckers, and overly vigorous upright shoots (called water sprouts). Thin the inside of the canopy to improve air circulation and let sunlight in. Perform the annual maintenance pruning in winter when the tree is dormant but before buds have formed.
Pears are produced on short branches called spurs, which grow on wood at least two years old. Young trees may take 3-5 years after planting to develop fruiting spurs, but then the spurs may be productive for many years, so don’t cut them off.
In general, pear trees should not be fertilized. Applying fertilizer with nitrogen stimulates too much vegetative growth which then leads to fireblight, the bane of pear cultivation. The exception is for young trees (2-4 year old) in the poorest, sandiest soils, which may be given a complete fertilizer once a year in spring. Mature pear trees should not be fertilized at all.
Fruit thinning is usually necessary for mature trees. Too many pears on a tree can lead to broken limbs, smaller fruit size, and alternate-year bearing. Strive to have one or two pears in each cluster, spaced every 4-5 inches along the branches. Thin when the pears are about an inch in diameter for best results.
The pear is ready when the skin is soft to touch. You can leave the pear on the tree to finish ripening or pick the fruit earlier and hold it in storage. Allowing the fruit the ripen on the tree will lead to sweeter pears! Harvest pears in late summer or early fall.
Keep your tree in good health!
Pear trees are very susceptible to fire blight, a bacterial disease spread by sucking insects. Fireblight is most prevalent in early spring when the tree is growing its fastest. The disease attacks young, fast growing shoots, and can lead to the death of the tree. The best prevention is to discourage overly strong, lush growth.
Minimize nitrogen fertilizers which encourage vegetative growth. Minimize heading back pruning cuts which encourage vigorous upright shoot growth. Instead, you should encourage side branching and lateral spur growth by training the scaffold branches outward with weights or spreaders.
If young twigs and shoots develop brown or blackened leaves and look like they’ve been burned, fireblight has struck. Cut back diseased branches to 3-4 inches below the infection. Disinfect your pruning shears with bleach between cuts. Dispose of diseased material. You also can try Serenade® Garden Disease Control, or Ferti-lome® Fire Blight Spray. There are some blight resistant varieties such as Orient Pear and Pineapple Pear.
Several kinds of insect pests attack pear trees and fruits. Many, including the pear psylla, scale insects, mites, and aphids, can be controlled by spraying the trees with horticultural or dormant oil in late winter, or insecticidal soap directly on the pests when they appear. All three of these products are accepted organic pesticides, and work by smothering insects and their eggs. As always, follow manufacturer’s label directions.
We hope you enjoyed this step by step guide on how to grow pear trees. Enjoy your new pear trees and fresh fruit! With firm flesh when eaten raw, a juicy pear is a delicious snack or can even be cooked with to make baked goods or treats.
Regardless of whether you take softwood or semi-hardwood, you’ll need to measure a section that begins at the tip of the branch and reaches about six to eight inches back along the stem.
Cut it away from the tree with the pruning shears. You’ll need to take at least three to six cuttings as not all will necessarily be successful. If you can, take them from two different cultivars.
Trim the base of the branch to a 45 degree angle.
Next, trim off all the leaves and any buds present on the bottom two-thirds of the cutting. New roots will actually grow from the leaf nodes.
Here are a few problems you may encounter when growing pears.
A whitish powdery coating will be the first sign of this nasty fungal infection. Overly moist conditions or introduction via pest are possible causes. Use a fungicide to treat it.
This soil-borne fungus causes reduced growth and mid-summer collapse in trees. Avoid it by tilling and solarizing your soil a year before planting if this disease is common in your area. You can also buy resistant varieties, and keeping trees appropriately watered and fertilized will help them resist the disease.
This disease c ommonly affects fruit trees such as pear and apple. It’s a bacterial disease that is visible on stems and trunks of plants. Blight prevents fruit production via elimination of blossoms. Environmental conditions are the primary cause of this illness.
It’s also important to avoid over fertilizing and poor pruning techniques to prevent rapid growth and nicks in wood that may be an entryway for the pathogen. If the infection is localized, remove the branch or stem affected. Scraping is also possible. Another solution is using copper products designed to control this type of blight.
These little insects that love to attack foliage are fairly easy to control. A strong spray from the hose is usually enough to dislodge these pesky critters.
Originating in Europe, this pest spreads disease and may even kill trees. It can be controlled using biological pest control. This method involves introducing predator insects such as lacewings or parasitic wasps to destroy harmful pests. Chemical control is possible, but must be timed correctly.
These worms will skeletonize leaves and can nibble on young fruit. They can completely defoliate a small tree. You can sometimes spot them as they dangle on silk strings attached to the tree canopy. Encourage natural predators like birds, flies, and wasps to keep them under control. You can also use sticky traps during the spring when the females are laying their eggs.
Asian pear trees (Pyrus pyrifolia) are deciduous fruit trees that grow in well-draining, slightly acidic soil. They are more tolerant of wet conditions than many other trees, but they still need good drainage. Asian pears reach about 20 feet tall. They are spring blooming and summer fruiting, and grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. Young trees need pruning to give them a good structure. Older trees are pruned for maintenance and to remove old non-bearing spurs. Pruning is done during the winter dormant period.
Cut the tree back to one main whip 2 to 3 feet from the ground at the time of planting. Loppers or pruners will work for limb removal until the branches are larger than an inch in diameter. After that, a pruning saw is necessary.
Prune the tree again during the winter dormant period after it has gone through one growing season. Remove any limbs growing lower than 18 inches from the ground. Choose four to six of the best branches above that point to keep, and remove the rest. Make cuts just outside the branch collar. Do not cut into the trunk, or leave a stub.
Cut back the selected branches by half. Each branch should be 1 to 2 feet long. Make the cuts at a 45-degree angle so water does not collect on the cut surface.
Thin out the tree canopy beginning the third year. Remove vertical, crossing and downward-growing shoots. Thin out 10 to 20 percent of the previous year's growth to let light reach the center of the tree. Once the tree begins to bear fruit, remove spurs that are more than six years old, as the fruit will not be as good.
Cut dead branches back to the branch collar any time during the year. Diseased branches should also be cut when they are discovered to keep the disease from spreading. Remove the entire branch back to the collar, or just remove the diseased part of the branch. Cut back at least 6 inches into healthy wood and dispose of the diseased material.
First fruits are expected in the second or third year after growing nashi pears tree. Harvesting should be done when fruit change its color to yellow or bronze green and exude inviting fruity odor.
Nashi pear fruit is crispier than apple and taste like pear or even better and refreshing. If you look at it much closer, you see that its fruit is sprinkled with tiny flecks, which are of caramel color. It’s good to properly cool the fruits before eating, then they taste great.