How to Grow Pears (Pyrus communis)
Pear blossom opens early, and is somewhat tender, so that if possible a position sheltered from east winds should be chosen.
Pears succeed only on good rich loam. In ordering pears from a nursery, it is always best to tell the nurseryman what the gardenis like, as pears on pear stock are more suitable for light soil, while those on quince stock are better for heavy soil.
Standard pears are planted 24 ft. apart, half standards ft. apart, bushes 10 ft. apart, espaliers ft. apart, and cordons 2 ft. apart.
Pruning of pear trees is done in much the same way as already described for apples. As a rule, however, pruning is less necessary with the pear than with the apple, as the trees often seem to make cordon-like branches naturally, without any assistance from the gardener. In any case it is a mistake to prune too severely while the trees are young.
Fertilizers can be supplied as for apples, and stable manure also given according to the amount of stem and leaf growth made each season.
Lime is a very important fertilizer here as in all parts of the fruit garden. A dressing of nitrate of soda just before the flowers open, often helps to produce quantities of good fruit.
Some of the best varieties of pears for the amateur are described as follows:
BEURRE D’AMANLIS. September; large yellowish green, bronze cheek with small russet patches; excellent cropper as pyramid or standard.
BEURRE DANJOU. November-December; large yellow green, slight brown flush; flesh white, melting, with delicate perfume; growth weak, requires a wall or warm corner.
BEURRE DIEL. October-November; very large, yellow, covered with conspicuous brown dots; flesh tender, vigorous, fertile, of good flavour when well grown on quince; requires a wall in colder climates.
BEURRE SUPERFIN. October-November; golden yellow covered thin cinnamon russet; flesh melting, of delicate perfumed flavour; growth moderate, fertile.
CATILLAC. December-April; large, roundish, dull green with brown red flush; flesh firm, cooking well; makes an irregular pyramid on quince, but fruits early; succeeds as a stan.lard, and on north and east walls. One of the best cooking pears.
CONFERENCE. October-November; medium, very long-necked, dark green, with brown russet, flesh of pinkish tinge; vigorous and most regular cropper. Good where only one pear can be grown.
DOYENNE DU COMICE. November; large, pyramidal, lemon yellow, with slight russet; flesh yellowish white; growth vigorous and moderately fertile.
LAXTON’S SUPERB. August; large, flesh very tender and deliciously flavoured.
LOUISE BONNE OF JERSEY. October; medium, smooth, yellowish-green, with dark red flush and covered prominent dots; flesh white, melting and of distinct flavour.
PITMASTON DUCHESS. October-November; enormous, golden yellow, with slight cinnamon russet; flesh yellow, tender, juicy and highly flavoured in good seasons; growth vigorous, fertile; not recommended for standards.
WILLIAMS’ BON CHRETIEN. September; medium, yellow with russet dots and faint red streaks; flesh white, fine grained, melting, and of strong musky flavour; growth vigorous, fertile.
Pears need special care when they are gathered. They are best not allowed to turn colour on the trees, but should be gathered just before they ripen. It is also a useful practice to gather them in batches from the same tree, say at intervals of three or four days, as those that are gathered ripen rather quickly, and the fruit is available by this method for a longer period.
The very late-fruiting pears need plentiful sun before they are gathered and should be left on the trees until the end of September.