By National Gardening Association Editors, June 23, 2008
- Choose fire blight-resistant varieties and rootstocks, especially in areas outside dry western regions.
Most varieties will start to bear significant harvests after 5 to 6 years.
- Plant at least two different varieties for cross-pollination.
- Choose a site with full sun, moderate fertility, and good air circulation and water drainage.
Pears will do well in a wide range of soil types.
- Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart; space 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.
Use spreaders to encourage horizontal branching and earlier fruiting spurs.
See our article Fruit Pests and Diseases for controls of common pear pests such as pear psylla, codling moth, plum curculios, and fire blight.
- Don't let pears ripen on the tree. Harvest them when they reach a mature size but are still hard.
Early pears will ripen at room temperature in a few days to a week. Storage varieties will keep 1 to 2 months or more in a cool (40° F), dark place.