We chose this interesting collection of pears for their wonderful fruit quality and because they are among the easiest for backyard gardeners to grow. We use the superior winter hardy, semi-dwarf Old Home x Farmingdale (OHxF) 333 rootstock.
Hardiness: On our OHxF rootstocks USDA Zones 4-9.
Sun or shade: Full sun.
Plant spacing: 15’ on OHxF
Harvest Time: July-October.
Origin: Caucasus mountains.
Life expectancy: 60 years.
Years to first fruit: 2-3
Yield: 50 or more pounds per tree.
How to Grow
Soil requirements: A well drained, slightly acidic loam soil but tolerates a wide range of soils.
Pruning: See Tree Owners Manual that comes with each order.
Pollination: Each variety needs a pollinizer. Because pear blossoms are relatively unattractive to bees, plant pears next to each other and keep weeds down at blossom time. European pears start blooming in late March. Oriental pears start blooming before Europeans; but late blooming Asians overlap with and will cross pollinate early blooming Europeans.
Cultural requirements: Pear branches grow upright and need spreading. Pears should be picked before they are fully ripe and ripened off the tree. Using the maturity dates offered with each variety as an estimate, cup your hand under the pear and lift up. If the pear stem breaks, the pear is ready to pick. The earlier pears only need a few days on the counter to ripen. The later pears need to be stored in a dark cool place for a month or more then put on the counter to fully ripen.
Disease resistance: Many of the cultivars we offer are resistant to fireblight which while not a problem west of the Cascade Mountains, is a major problem in most of the nation. Among the resistant varieties are: Atlantic Queen, Blake's Pride, Potomac, Warren, Spaulding, Harrow Delight, Dabney, Ayres, Seckel and Honeysweet.
How to Use
In the landscape: The shape of a pear tree is strongly vertical. They benefit from espalier training.
In the kitchen: Great for fresh eating. Dried, they taste like candy. Use for canning, jams or preserves. As desserts, they can be poached and served with flavorful sauces. Great sliced with cheeses. In France it is the king of fruits, prized by chefs.