Pear Essentials

By National Gardening Association Editors


  • 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.

Other articles in this series:
1. Meet the Asian Pears
2. Pear Essentials ← you're on this article right now
3. Pear Varieties
4. Pear Care
5. Fireblight Disease on Pears
6. Codling Moth on Pears
7. Harvesting Pears

This article is a part of our Fruit Gardening Guide for Pears.

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