A pear tree is a must for your garden. Besides giving delicious fruit, if you choose the right one, the tree has a whimsical shape, which can add to the atmosphere in your garden. These atmospheric trees give your garden a little something extra. In the spring, a pear tree gives pure white blossoms.
Maintenance is not very labor intensive. If you plant the tree in the right way in the right place, apart from some feeding and pruning, you don’t have to do much but pick the tasty fruits.
The scientific name for the pear tree is Pyrus. The height of the tree varies, depending on the circumstances, from 8 to 20 meters. The pear also occurs as a medium-sized shrub. The shrub form grows between 2 and 4 meters high. In addition, the cultivated pear trees come in a dwarf form, low trunk, half trunk and standard tree. A pear tree and an apple tree are sometimes confused, the differences for you in a row:
|Pear Tree||Apple Tree|
|Pointy leaf||Pointy leaf|
|White blossom||Red/(light) pinkish blossom|
|Egg-shaped crown||Round shape|
|Pointy buds||Blunt buds|
|Pears as fruits||Apples|
If you want to know more about apple trees read our article about Apple tree varieties.
Pear tree blossom
Most pear trees bloom with bright white blossoms in the month of April. The pear has “suffered” from good years and not so good years in terms of blossom and fruit. One year the tree blossoms more abundantly and therefore has more fruit than the other year. It is important to ensure that the tree receives sufficient nutrients for the production of blossoms and fruits.
When the weather is dry, you can replenish the tree’s moisture by giving it extra water.
Factors that play a role in the rate of blossom growth and fruit yield are:
- Nutrients/ overall health of tree
- Pests and disease that limit tree growth and flowering
- Too fast growth of the tree, the tree then puts its energy into growing instead of developing the bloom and fruit
- Difference in self-pollinating trees and trees that do not require self-pollination
- Poor shape of the tree, this is the reason why pruning is necessary
As with apples, there is a distinction between self-pollinating pear trees and pears that require cross-pollination. Virtually the largest group of pear trees require cross-pollination. That is, you need multiple species of trees to get fruit. Exceptions to this are the well-known ‘Conference’ pear, ‘concorde’, Doyenne du Comice’ and ‘Gieser Wildeman’.
Check more about pear tree varieties in the article Pear tree types.
Planting a pear tree
Pear trees love sunshine, so make sure the tree has a sunny spot.
Planting the pear tree is quite simple. Make sure you dig a sizable hole so that the tree can go into the ground with roots and all, without being forced. Work some potting soil into the bottom of the planting hole, so that the tree has enough nutrients to thrive. Fill the hole with soil. Make sure that the grafting place, the bump where the graft has been placed on the rootstock, is about a fist’s height above the earth. Press the earth firmly around the trunk and water the tree. When the weather is dry, make sure the tree gets enough water in the following weeks as well.
Moving a pear tree
Fall is the best time to move a tree. When you want to move a pear tree, make sure you stick a spade into the ground well around the roots. Dig a trench and try to dig/poke so far that the tree becomes ‘loose’. When the tree is completely ‘loose’, you can lift it up and put it in the right place. Whether this is doable by hand, or requires mechanical assistance, depends on the size of the tree.
For planting in the right spot read the section above on Planting Pear Trees. Make sure the tree is at the same depth or slightly less deep. Then you can prune the tree, this will make the tree produce extra roots so that it settles well in its new location. Read about pruning the pear tree here.
Pear tree fertilizer
Almost every tree likes a soil with sufficient nutrients. Because fruit trees not only stay healthy, they also bloom and produce healthy fruit, they need sufficient nutrients. Fertilize in the spring, the first time in February-March and a second time in June. In any case, you do not need to fertilize after July. By adding humus to your soil, you ensure a good soil, which retains the water and food and gradually releases it to the roots of the tree.
Complete fertilizer consists of the following nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Magnesium and Calcium, supplemented with trace elements. Most fertilizers contain these ingredients. Compost and organic fertilizers also contain the required substances.
Old pear tree
An old(er) pear tree is a tree with character, they have a whimsical shape. In addition, you immediately have a large mature tree in your garden and you can enjoy the blossoms and fruits. The disadvantage is the price tag.
Move an old pear tree
The best thing for the tree is not to move it, but if you really want to do this then it is possible. If you know early on that you want to move a tree, you can do some useful preliminary work. You can remove the water locks from the tree by pruning them. The tree then does not need to expend unnecessary energy. In addition, it is wise to cut the roots around the tree with a spade. Do not do this at the bottom, so the tree has enough grip.
It is best to do this in the months of March or April. The tree will then produce small hair roots at the place where you cut the roots, which ensure that the nutrients can be absorbed well at the new location. In addition, the root ball becomes more compact, which makes it easier to move the tree in the autumn. So you move the tree in the autumn. You try to preserve as much of the root ball as possible. The planting hole at the new location should be big enough for the root ball. Take a good look at the root ball and the part the tree loses in the root ball.
Plant an old pear tree
In the new planting hole, process ample potting soil to give the tree a good start. If necessary, you can use tree poles to give the tree some support. Then pack it firmly with soil, just below the line where the tree was originally planted. Then give the tree water and in the spring nutrients for the extra energy the tree will need to regrow.
When you have planted the tree, it is necessary to do some trimming right away. The part you have lost in roots, you should also prune approximately. So if you lose 1/5 of the roots, you will also have to prune about 1/5 of the tree above the ground. If you want to know more about how to prune a pear tree, read pruning pear trees.
There are different types of pear trees. In terms of the characteristics of the tree, but also in terms of the characteristics of the pear. There are hand pears, cooking pears and decorative pears. Hand pears are pears that you can pick from the tree, wash and eat when they are ripe enough.
Hand pears come in a variety of flavors. The stewing pear you can use as the name suggests stewing them and using them hot or cold in dishes. In addition, just like crabapples, there are also decorative pears. These you can not eat, but the trees of the ornamental pear give beautiful pure white blossoms.
When to harvest pears
Depending on the variety, you can harvest pears. You can test this, by grasping the fruit and turning it a quarter turn. If the stalk comes off, the fruit is ripe. If not, leave it hanging on the tree. If the fruit falls from the tree, it is also a sign that it is ripe. Generally this is in the month of September, although there are early birds who can already harvest in August. The weather also plays a role in this.
Fruits that have fallen off the tree by themselves are best eaten quickly. They will not stay fresh as long. Pears with some damage, or pears that have grown bigger, are best consumed quickly or used to make jam or pie. On average pears will keep for about 3 months under the right (cool) conditions.
Pear tree diseases
Some diseases and pests you may encounter in your pear tree are pests such as lice, caterpillars or wasps. Also gall mite, pear rust or leaf infestation are visibly common problems you may encounter in your pear tree.
Lice in pear tree
Aphid is a critter that sucks the nutrients and juices from the leaf of your pear tree to develop. With each bite, the aphid pushes some saliva into the cell of the plant, weakening the plant or pear tree in this case. An ecological solution that gets rid of your aphids and also a fun solution are ladybugs. Other ways to fight leaf aphids can be read here Aphids on your plant? 7 tips to take control.
Controlling caterpillars in pear tree
Caterpillars are larvae of butterflies. Because caterpillars develop in a short period of time, they also take in a lot of food in a short period of time. For example, they can gnaw away some of the leaves on your tree in a short period of time. There are some ecological solutions, for example birds find the caterpillars a delicious meal. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs inside the caterpillar, with the larvae of the parasitic wasp feeding on the caterpillar.
Scents from plants such as nasturtiums, sage or chives also keep certain butterflies away. Another solution for young pear trees is to stretch a protective membrane or net over the tree in the spring. In addition, pesticides are available at the garden center.
Protect pear tree from wasps
The best method to protect your delicious sweet pears from wasps is to pick them in time. Should the pears not yet be ripe enough, you can hang a decoy in the tree to lure them. You can make a wasp trap yourself.
Pear tree no fruit
Of course that’s what you don’t want, no fruit in your tree. To consider what might be causing you to have no fruit in the tree you can think of the following reasons.
- It is possible that the tree has put too much energy into its development and growth, leaving no energy left for the fruit. If so, provide additional nutrients in the soil around the pear tree.
- If you have already fertilized a lot, you could be over fertilizing. Follow the instructions on the packaging of the product you are using and fertilize twice a year, in March/April and again in June if necessary.
- You may have a tree that needs cross-pollination, find out what kind of pear tree you have and see if it pollinates itself or needs a nearby tree.
- The shape of the tree affects the growth of the blossom and fruit. Sufficient sunlight must be able to shine on the buds, blossom and fruit. By pruning properly, you ensure sufficient light in all areas of the tree. Read here about how to prune a pear tree.
Black leaves in your pear tree
This phenomenon is a result of pear scab. Pear scab is caused by a fungus. It leads to dark brown and black spots on the leaves of your pear tree. You will also see spots and dots appear on the (especially young) branches. You can prevent this by removing the fallen leaves and affected branches in time. The fungus can survive the winter and strike again the following year. Do not throw the leaves on the compost heap. Also make sure that enough wind can blow through the tree. If the leaves of your pear tree stay moist for too long, you have a greater chance of developing scabies.
Gall mite pear tree
The gall mite is a very small spider that overwinters between the buds of the leaves and blossoms of your pear tree. These leaf gall mites suck the plant sap from the buds. When the leaf emerges, they penetrate the leaf and you will see thickening in your leaf. You can protect your pear tree by spraying it with spray sulfur.
Pear rust is a fungus that attacks the leaves of your pear tree. Orange-colored spots appear on the leaf, which then produce wart-like protrusions on the leaf. Eventually, the leaf falls off. A large infestation causes the fruit not to grow or not to grow well. It is best to remove the affected parts and throw them in the green bin. If you want to protect your tree before you see the pear rust, you can spray the tree with spray sulfur.