Home gardeners love to grow pears, partially because they are sweet-tasting, and perhaps the easiest fruit tree to grow. Many fruit trees have problems with insects. Many are highly susceptible to plant diseases. Pears have far fewer problems with either. They just grow and produce year after year, with very little fuss or attention. You will find growing pears to be a rewarding experience the first time you bite into a fruit growing in your own backyard!
Pears get far less attention than other fruits, too. Yet, they are sweet and tasty, and nutritious. Like apples, they are long keepers, if picked when still green. If kept in a cool location, they will last for months.
Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 – 9.
Pears are grown from seed. It takes several years to go from the seedling stage to a fruit-producing tree. Most people let the garden nurseries start pear tree seedlings, and nurture them to a size that can be transplanted to your garden. The trees at your local nursery are a couple of years old. This small pear tree will still need to grow another 2-4 years to get your first fruit.
You can also graft branches from a pear tree onto other fruit trees.
Select a location in your yard that receives full sun. Dig a deep hole. Add plenty of decomposed compost, if available. Mix thoroughly with regular garden soil. If the tree you have bought is inside of a decomposable peat pot, leave it in the container. It is helpful (but not required) to slit the container to allow roots to more easily exit the container. While making the slits, be careful not to cut the roots, as you can do more harm than good. If your tree is in a burlap bag, remove the bag. Gently spread the roots in the hole you have dug.
Bury the plant up to where it was in the container. Soak the soil thoroughly. Add more rich garden soil, if needed.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5.
Growing pear trees is easy. Once your new tree is planted, it should grow well with little or no attention. After planting, we recommend staking the tree in its first year of life. Strong winds can bend the young sapling, causing the trunk to grow at an angle. Really strong winds might even cause the tree to sway and damage roots.
Tip: Fruit tree fertilizer spikes are a great way to boost the growth of your new pear tree. The spike slowly releases a fertilizer specifically formulated for fruit trees.
The size and number of pears are dependent upon several things. Sometimes, mother nature pollinates a profusion of blooms. Sometimes frost nips a portion of the blooms. However, in a good year, so many pears may be on the tree, that the pears grow smaller. Growers can compensate for this, by removing a few of them early in the season. Should you do this? Probably not in your first few years of growth, as you do not have the experience to judge if there are too many baby pears on the tree. But, we do recommend removing any pears that are damaged by insects, leaving good pears to grow bigger.
Each spring, before buds open, apply a dormant oil fruit tree spray. This will kill a variety of insects.
Pear trees and their fruit are less susceptible to insects and disease than many other fruit trees. If you use insect and/or disease sprays, we recommend you follow the directions on the label carefully. And by all means, wear protective clothing and a mask when spraying.
Harvest fruit just before it turns completely ripe. Pears are ready to pick when they have just begun to soften. The fruit will still be hard, making it easier to handle and store without bruising.
Store fruit in a cool, dry place, out of sunlight. The fruit stores well for extended periods in the refrigerator.
Like other plants, pruning established trees are healthy for them. It results in a bigger crop. Prune pear trees annually in the early spring, before the new year’s growth begins.
First, remove dead or unhealthy branches and limbs. Top off the main trunk and any suckers at a height that you can reach the fruit with a ladder. Also, prune in areas where growth is very bushy. This will increase sunlight and air penetration, to help the overall health and growth of the tree. You can also prune branches to maintain a shapely-looking tree.