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Pear tree, care from planting and pruning to harvesting pears

Pear tree

Pear tree is the most common fruit tree in many orchards.

Key Pear tree facts

NamePyrus cummunis
Family – Rosaceae
Type – deciduous fruit tree

Height – 16 to 50 feet (5 to 15 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary

Blooming: spring    –   Harvest: summer-fall (species)    –   Lifespan: 30-80 years

Pruning and planting are all practices that, if well performed, will increase pear harvest.

Planting a pear tree

This fruit tree, like most trees, is best planted in fall to favor root development before winter.

Pear tree careIf you’re planning on planting in spring or in summer, provide for more regular watering, especially at the beginning.

  • Pear trees like well-drained ground.
  • It needs sun to bear fruits.
  • Adding fertilizer upon planting such as manure and seaweed will help your pear tree to take root and grow.
  • Find our advice on planting.

Pruning and caring for pear tree

Pear tree pruningOnce planted, caring for a pear tree is quite easy, and the only real danger to consider are the various fungus that require special treatment (see the paragraph below about diseases).

In order to guide the tree into producing many beautiful pears, it is important to perform a fruit-inducing pruning before spring growth has started.

Harvesting and keeping pears

When should pears be harvested? This is a common question, because it is sometimes difficult to determine the best moment.

Pear harvestKnow that you should not just wait for them to fall to harvest.

Actually, if you twist them a quarter of a turn and that they detach without needing any further effort, then you know the right time to harvest the pears has come.

Once the pears have been collected, the goal now is to store them in the best possible environment to keep them as long as possible.

Pear tree diseases

Pear trees, like most fruit trees, are vulnerable to several common diseases, especially fungus.

One of the most common pear tree diseases is scab.

Pear tree scab

If a scab infection appears at the end of the fruiting cycle, damage is limited. Perhaps only a slight discoloration of the pears may be observed. The harvest is not lost, but it is less sure that pears will keep for long.

However, if scab appears early in the season, it is recommend to treat it in order to stop the spread of the disease. An early onslaught of scab may hinder pear development and compromise the harvest.

  • A regular application of fermented stinging nettle tea as soon as buds have formed can prevent scab altogether.
  • Spraying with Bordeaux mixture also protects against the spread of scab.
  • There are a number of efficient chemical scab-fighting fungicides, both preventive or curative, but it is best to use them only once scab has already invaded the pear tree.
  • Do not treat if you are only a few weeks from harvest.
  • At the end of the season, gather all the leaves and destroy them to avoid letting scab hibernate in your garden over the winter.
  • Read our page dedicated to fighting scab.

Rotting pears, European brown rot

Another common infection of pear trees is European brown rot, where Monilinia fungus is active. This fungus can cause extensive damage and it is preferable to prevent it altogether.

Insects and parasites – Aphids, scale insects…

Disease pests pear treeIf you observe that the leaves of your pear tree become sticky and roll up, you are certainly faced with an onset of aphids or scale insects.

  • Here is how to fight aphids.
  • Here is how to fight scale insects.
  • Set up pheromone traps in the tree
  • A collar of sticky glue wrapped around the trunk protects the tree from many insects that would otherwise set up shop in the tree and on its leaves.
  • Wasp becomes common if a few pears are overripe.

Other key pear tree diseases

Learn more about pear trees

Pear tree flowerPear trees, famous for their long lifespan (sometimes nearly 200 years), are trees native to Europe and Asia.
Usually of an average size, some specimens are known to reach up to 50 feet (15 meters).

Pear trees bloom as soon as April, and produce marvelous little white flowers, sometimes pink, that bees are drawn to in spring.

It can also be found in the wild, in our garden as , or in large orchards for commercial pear production.

  • Some pear tree varieties are planted for their beauty. Even if their fruits aren’t good at all, they’re still very ornamental. One such species is the Bradford pear.

Smart tip about the pear tree

During planting, mulch the foot of your tree to protect it from from freezing.

Repeat this operation every year, you’ll avoid both weed growth and using products that are toxic for the pears you’ll be eating!

Images: Pixabay: Alicja Juskowiak, Greg Montani, Hans Benn, Günter, Ylanite Koppens, Maria Groot
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  • Bert Hilloway wrote on 17 June 2019 at 13 h 43 min

    I’ve got an old pear tree and its pears are delicious. The main trunk is breaking to pieces, but a few shoots are very vigorous. Can I make cuttings from it?