A Gallery of Great Pears for the Home Orchard

Pear trees produce generous crops of delicious fruit and make handsome landscape trees with their glossy leaves and white blossoms. They are long-lived trees and are one of the easiest fruits to grow in this area.

There are many tasty varieties to choose from that will give you fresh fruit over a long season. ‘Bartlett’ is the earliest pear in this area. It is the thin-skinned yellow fruit familiar in the market in late summer. Perfect for canning, and excellent for drying, they are sweet and juicy and delicious for fresh eating. ‘Sensation Red Bartlett’ is similar, but with an attractive red skin. ‘Harrow Delight’ is even earlier than ‘Bartlett’ and very similar with smooth, sweet flesh.

Mid-season pears mature in September and October. ‘Anjou’ is a large, green pear that is firm but not especially juicy. Sweet and mild-flavored, it makes delicious pear pies and is an excellent keeper. ‘Bosc’ has long, narrow fruit that is heavily russeted. The flesh is crisp and fragrant with a distinct flavor. Baked or poached, it is one of the best. The smallest of the commonly grown pears, ‘Seckel’ is also the sweetest. So small that they can be canned whole, they are also delicious fresh.

Late season pears ripen in November. ‘Warren’ pears are juicy and sweet with buttery texture and very good keeping abilities. ‘Comice’ pears, green and often with a red blush, are the favorite of many for eating fresh and as a dessert pear. They are too juicy for cooking, but the very best for fresh eating.

Pears need pollination to bear a good crop. Plant two or more different trees within 100 feet of each other and they will all bear more fruit. If you only have room for one tree, plant one grafted with three or four varieties, or do your own grafting. Most varieties will start to bear significant harvests 5 to 6 years after planting.

Choose a site with full sun, moderately fertile soil, and good air circulation. Pears will do well in many different soils. Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart and dwarf trees 12 to 15 feet apart.

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.

Pear trees live for many years and with proper pruning and care, will give you an abundance of delicious fruit.

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