COMMON NAMES: PEAR, COMMON PEAR, PEARA
Pyrus communis or pyrifolia (PIE-rus COM-you-nis or pie-rah-FOL-ee-ah)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Deciduous fruit tree
HEIGHT: 15 to 25 feet
SPREAD: 10 to 15 feet
FINAL SPACING: 15 to 20 feet
NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Native of Europe and West Asia but will adapt to various of soils preferring sandy to sandy loams, good moisture and excellent drainage.
IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: Upright to spreading trees with early white flowers followed by colorful summer fruit.
FLOWERS AND FRUIT: White flowers in the spring prior to leaf emergence followed by edible summer fruit. Flowers bloom March to May, fruit ripens July through October.
BARK: Metallic gray to medium brown when young developing a heavier texture with age.
FOLIAGE: Leaves are simple, alternate and deciduous with primarily yellow fall color.
CULTURE: Pears are fairly easy to grow, especially for fruit trees. Having a successful fruit crop is harder.
PROBLEMS: Fireblight is the most common pest which can be avoided by cutting back on nitrogen fertilizer, use the Basic Organic Program, and spray with Garrett Juice plus potassium bicarbonate and/or garlic tea. See the appendix.
PROPAGATION: Done by collecting seed at maturity when the fruit is ripe and using cold stratification at 32 to 45 degrees for 60 to 90 days. Hybrids can only be propagated to come true to form from stem cuttings. For specific variety recommendations refer to Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening by Garrett and Beck.
INSIGHT: My personal favorites are the Asian pears. They are round, thin skinned and incredibly delicious. They are a little harder to keep healthy in Texas but worth the trouble.
Asian pears are excellent self-pollinating that are easy to grow. Other pears you might want to try include Ayers, Kieffer and Moonbeam. Although they are more difficult to keep disease free. Also, try the oriental pears such as Twentieth Century or Shinseki, they are round, thin-skinned and delicious. Under the Organic Program, growing them with success is possible.
Tip from a Reader on Hard Pears A.G., Houston
I was driving from Celeste to Houston and heard one of your callers talking about the hard pears on his tree he had to destroy. I baked two pear pies just before I left east Texas that morning. In fact, I look for those pears each year. I peel, cut, and cook them in water with a little sugar and cinnamon until they are soft. Then put them in a freezer bag and use them all year or as long as they last.
They are also good for making cobblers. I mash them into sauce and use them in pear cakes (like applesauce cakes) and in sweet rolls and other items. They are delicious. They are hard to peel and cut, but are worth it. If anyone has useless hard pears, please advise them, that with a little effort they can have wonderful fruit at no cost all year long.