A Gallery of Great Pears for the Home Orchard

Friday, January 30th, 2015 by Jenny Watts
    • It’s bare root season, which means you can save money on fruit trees by planting them now. A wide selection is still available.
    • Start an asparagus bed so you can enjoy their young, tender shoots straight from the garden.
    • Artichokes can be planted now from dormant roots. By next spring, you’ll be harvesting your own delicious buds.
    • Plant strawberry plants now for delicious strawberry shortcake this summer.
    • Pansies will brighten your flower beds with their happy faces. They will bloom all through the spring.

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.

Ripening a week or two after Bartlett is the Magness pear. This soft, sweet, juicy dessert pear is almost free of grit cells. The greenish-yellow fruit develops a red or russeted blush. Magness is very disease resistant, especially to fireblight. It does require a pollinator.

Similar to the Magness is the Warren pear. It is an excellent quality dessert pear that has no grit cells and a superb, buttery flavor. It is self-fruitful and a good keeper.

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. Seckel pears are a sweet and delicious treat!

Midseason pears mature in September and October. D’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. Red Anjou pears are nearly identical to the original D’Anjou with the exception of its deep maroon color. Bosc has a long, narrow shape with skin that is heavily russeted. The flesh is crisp and fragrant with a distinct flavor. Baked or poached, it is one of the best.

Late season pears ripen from October into November. 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, and are a favorite in holiday gift boxes. They are very soft when ripe and creamy in texture. Winter Nelis is the latest pear. It is quite small with yellow-green skin, but has a juicy, sweet, rich flavor. It is very good eaten fresh and also fine for baking.

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 than if planted alone. 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 trees, on OHx333 rootstock, 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, year after year.