Pear Essentials

by National Gardening Association Editors

Planning

  • Choose fire blight-resistant varieties and rootstocks, especially in areas outside dry western regions.
  • Most varieties will start to bear significant harvests after 5 to 6 years.
  • Plant at least two different varieties for cross-pollination.

Preparation

  • Choose a site with full sun, moderate fertility, and good air circulation and water drainage.
  • Pears will do well in a wide range of soil types.

Planting

  • Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart; space dwarf trees 12 to 15 feet apart.

Care

  • Pears do best with a small amount of fertilizer early in the year. Heavy doses of nitrogen will make the tree more vulnerable to fire blight.
  • Use spreaders to encourage horizontal branching and earlier fruiting spurs.
  • See our article Fruit Pests and Diseases for controls of common pear pests such as pear psylla, codling moth, plum curculios, and fire blight.

Harvesting

  • Don't let pears ripen on the tree. Harvest them when they reach a mature size but are still hard.
  • Early pears will ripen at room temperature in a few days to a week. Storage varieties will keep 1 to 2 months or more in a cool (40&deg F), dark place.


Table of Contents Pear Varieties
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