Pear treesWe have an extensive range of pear trees and can advise on choosing the best pear trees for your garden or orchard project.
More about Pear trees
Pears are related to apples, and most of the horticultural requirements and challenges of apples apply also to growing pear trees. However pear trees are a bit more demanding than apple trees - they prefer slightly warmer conditions and are a bit less tolerant of soil and situation, and crop yields are lower.
On the plus side, pear trees are less susceptible to the various pests and diseases commonly experienced with apples.
When it comes to flavour, pears have an aura of exclusivity which you don't tend to find in apples.
Although there are some culinary pear varieties, all the ones we offer are dessert pears - good for eating fresh, but also useful for culinary purposes too.
Unlike apples, pears cannot be ripened on the tree. This is because pears ripen from the inside out, so by the time it looks ripe the flesh will actually be over-ripe. The time to pick is when the pears are still hard, but the stalk snaps readily from the branch with little effort. Then, put the newly-picked pears straight into a fridge - allow a day or so for summer pears, and 3-4 weeks for the longest-keeping winter pears. Finally, place them in a fruit bowel and allow them about a week to ripen to perfection. Oregon State University has a very good article on how pears ripen.
Pears are fundamentally self-sterile so will require a pollination partner, in other words a compatible pear tree of a different variety growing nearby. Even the varieties we list as self-fertile will be far more productive with a pollination partner. Conference is probably the most reliably self-fertile pear.
Most European and Asian pears are genetically compatible and therefore capable of cross-pollination, but most Asian pears flower earlier than European ones so in practice cross-pollination is not usually reliable. European pears and Perry pears are however compatible and flowering times usually overlap. Conversely, the various ornamental pears such as Chanticleer, do not seem to be good pollinators of fruiting pears.
Most pear varieties are supplied on quince rootstocks. These help keep the size under control but they are very demanding of water during the spring, and regular watering is very important for the successful establishment of new pear trees.