How to Grow Pear Trees
How to Grow Pear Trees
Pears are treated in a very similar manner to apples with regard to planting and general cultivation. They do better if given a rather warmer and more sheltered site than apples — they do not stand up to wind well — and need a slightly lighter(they resent cold, wet clay soil), though they do not produce good fruit on poor, sandy or gravelly soils.
The choicest varieties should, for preference, be trained against a sunny wall or fence, but there are many kinds which can be grown quite satisfactorily in the open, either as bushes or standards.
Trained trees are usually grown as cordons or espaliers. If the soil is naturally heavy it is advisable to improve the drainage. Grow them in soil which has been well manured beforehand and plant at any time between November and March, but preferably before Christmas. Thereafter mulch every spring, after applying a slow-acting nitrogenous fertiliser such as hoof and horn or dried blood; this will not be necessary in all cases and, as with many plants, feeding depends on the growth and general health of the plant and the soil in which it is growing.
Pruning is practically the same as that advised for apples, but pears form spurs even more readily than apples and so are particularly well adapted to the more restricted forms of training such as single-stem cordons or horizontally-trained trees (espaliers). These should be pruned in summer shortening laterals a few at a time during July and early August to five leaves. This should be supplemented by winter pruning, at which season the laterals may be further shortened to two buds each, leading growths being cut back by about a third. The fruits require thinning but this must not be done too drastically as some will fall before they are fully grown.
Increase byvarieties on to the following rootstocks: Quince A for larger trees, Quince C for cordons, espaliers, etc. Do not obtain pears grafted on to unselected seedling stocks as they take a very long time to come into bearing. Sometimes a variety is incompatible with quince, so double grafting has to be carried out, using another suitable pear variety for the intermediate graft. do make sure when planting that the union of stock and scion is above ground; it is very easy for the scion to root if the union is at or below ground level, and then the tree will be tall and unfruitful.
Pears will pollinate one another without difficulty, but the more different varieties that are grown the more heavily they will crop.
The following dessert varieties — a small selection of those available — are given in order of season. Doyenne d’Ete, August (very good flavour). Williams’ Bon Chrétien, September (can be picked a few days before ripe, kept in a cool store and used as required; very good flavour). Dr Jules Guyot, early September (can also be picked and kept a few days before being eaten). Louise Bonne of Jersey, October. Beurré Hardy, October. Conference, October — November (nearly self-fertile, needs to be picked and kept a few weeks before eating). Doyenne du Cornice, November (a shy cropper but the pear par excellence for flavour; do not spray with lime-sulphur). Packham’s Triumph, November — December (good for bottling). Josephine de Malines, December — January (very good flavour, stores well and makes a good pear for Christmas).
Two good cooking varieties are Bellissime d’Hiver, which keeps from December until March, and Catillac, with a season from December to April.