Pear tree is among the most common fruit trees found in our orchards.
Key Pear tree facts
Height – 16 to 50 feet (5 to 15 meters)
Soil – ordinary
Exposure – full sun
Foliage – deciduous
Special characteristic – very long lifespan
Pruning and planting are all practices that, if well performed, will increase pear harvest.
- Health: health benefits of pears
Planting a pear tree
This fruit tree, like most trees, is best planted in fall to favor root development before winter.
If 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
Once 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.
- Annual pruning will ensure that you will get a better pear harvest.
- Look up the different steps of a pear tree’s pruning cycle.
Harvesting and keeping pears
Know 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.
- Read our article on how to keep pears.
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 an infection appears at the end of the fruiting cycle, degradation is limited and perhaps only a slight coloration of the pears may be observed. The harvest is not lost by far, but it is less guaranteed 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.
- Similar treatments to those for fighting scab are recommended.
- Fermented horsetail tea also produces very positive results against European brown rot.
- Read our page dedicated to fighting European brown rot and rotting fruits.
Insects and parasites – Aphids, scale insects…
If you observe that the leaves of your pear tree become sticky and roll themselves 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.
A summary of pear tree diseases
- Powdery mildew – white velvet covers leaves.
- European brown rot – pears rot while still on the tree.
- Codling moths or fruit worm – brown stains on leaves and fruits.
- Scab – brown stains on leaves and fruits.
- Rust – brownish-orange lesions appear on the underside of leaves.
- Aphids – leaves lose their original color and curl themselves into tube shapes.
Learn more about pear trees
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 gardens, or in large orchards for commercial pear production.
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!
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Red-green pears by PublicDomainImages under Pixabay license
Pear tree by Alicja Juskowiak under Pixabay license
Pear tree blossoms by Ylanite Koppens under Pixabay license