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Ask Casa: I Need Help With My Pear Tree

Hi Casa,

I have a pear tree on the side of the house, and it's my first full Spring there, so I want to treat it right this year and get pears I can actually eat from it. I know fruit trees might not be a wide-range enough topic for a post, but if you have any suggestions or websites you could point me towards, I would appreciate your input! I know there is some trimming and recommended spraying involved, but beyond that I am lost.

Thanks for any help!

Hi Adelka,

Some of the advice for taking care of pear trees can be extended to fruit trees in general, so I'm sure your question will benefit a lot of Casa readers. I actually have two pear trees in my yard — an Asian pear tree and a D'anjou pear tree.

To see the rest of my answer, just

I've been very lucky with my trees — they've required a minimum of care, and have mostly taken care of themselves. This may be due in part to the fact that Northern California and the Pacific Northwest are two of the easiest climates in which to grow pear trees. I would definitely ask your local nursery for advice about growing pear trees in your specific region.

However, in general, pears like to be planted in a spot that's slightly elevated and on a slope because they bloom early and the flowers may be susceptible to damage from frost. Pears prefer heavier soil types, such as clayey loam with porous subsoil or medium or sandy loam. For fertilizing, organic fruit tree fertilizer spikes are a great choice, as the spikes slowly release nutrients into the soil.

Pear trees will require pruning, which should mainly be done in the Winter, and should be light — don't cut it back drastically. Just concentrate on pruning patterns that will create a well-shaped tree that has strong branches. Remove any central branches that are thin or weak, as well as any that look like they may be infected with blight.

Since pears are self-sterile, they need more than one variety planted within 50 feet of each other so they can cross pollinate. About halfway through the season (midsummer), thin fruit so the branches won't break. This will also help to produce larger fruit. Try to leave one pear per cluster, with clusters spaced about six inches apart. To thin the fruit, just hold the stem with your thumb and index finger and push the pear off the stem with your other fingers.

In general, I would avoid spraying if you can help it. Fire blight is the most common disease for pear trees, If you encounter this disease, contact a local nursery to decide on steps to take, though it's always advisable to prune back any branches (using a diluted bleach and water mixture to rinse your pruning shears in between cuts) that have been affected by blight.

I hope this helps!

Cheers and happy growing,



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