Plant pears in full sun in well-drained soil. Space dwarf trees 10 feet apart, and allow 12 feet between rows. Semi-dwarf trees should be planted 15 feet apart and allow 18 feet between rows.
Pear trees benefit from a balanced granular or spike fertilizer. Feed them in fall or winter. Do not overfeed with nitrogen. Fertilizers with a relatively large middle number 3-5-2 work well as they encourage fruit and flower production.
Young pear trees should be pruned to encourage an upright shape. As the trees age remove the leader and thin to develop an open vase-shaped structure. Remove center sprouts and old fruiting wood on older trees. Asian varieties are likely to need thinning due to heavy production, which can lead to broken branches. For more details consider investing in a good pruning book.
Disease and Pest Control
Pears are subject to Scab, Rust, Mildew and Bacterial Canker. Insects including scale, Pear Psylla, and aphids can reduce yields and increase stress on pears. Codling moth can be a severe problem during fruit production. Timed preventative sprays provide the best protection against most of these pests. See a Spray Schedule for more details.
Please note that in order to get heavy and consistent production, you must have at least two different varieties of pears. For example a Anjou will not pollinate itself, but it will pollinate a Bartlett and vice versa. If a neighbor (within 1/4 mile) has a pear of a different variety then you will most likely get pears.
*Asian and European pear varieties can cross-pollinate but only for specific varieties as it is important that the two varieties are blooming within the same period. An early blooming European pear can cross-pollinate with an Asian pear, as Asian pears typically have early bloom periods.
Download a complete information sheet on pears including popular pear varieties.
European Pear varieties:
Anjou – European winter pear, ripens mid-September. Large green pears require storage before use. Sweet, juicy and the best storage life of any pear.
Bartlett – European pear, ripens late August. Most popular pear. Sweet, and flavorful right off the tree. This is also a great canning variety.
Bosc – European winter pear ripens early October. Large long pears require cold storage before use. Very flavorful fresh or dried, the best baking variety.
Clapps’ Favorite – Ripens mid to late August. Large sun-yellow pears with red cheeks. It is fine textured, crisp and juicy with sweet aromatic flavor. Perfect for eating fresh, used in desserts, and for canning.
Comice – Ripens late October. Large, thick-skinned fruit with outstanding texture and flavor. Considered by many to be the best flavored European pear.
Conference – Ripens Sept/ October. Long bell shaped, bright green russeted pears are sweet and juicy with a smooth texture. Great for fresh eating, cooking and baking. Leave to ripen for 3 to 4 weeks aftewr picking. Excellent keeper, stores up to 2 month in the fridge.
Flemish Beauty – Large yellow pears with bright red blush. Firm yet tender flesh with a sweet aromatic-musk flavor. Ripens mid-September.
Highland – Produces medium to large yellow fruit in early October. The pears have a rich, sweet flavor and are juicy and smooth textured. Great for fresh eating and desserts. Flavor develops with storage. Stores very well.
Moon Glow – Ripens mid-August. Big bold yellow pear with a red blush. Soft (not mushy) flesh is sweet and juicy. Greaat fresh or for canning. Resists fire blight and stores well.
Morettini – Productive, early ripening pear, similar to Ubileen. Red blushed yellow pear of medium size. Juicy with fine and soft texture with mild tartness. Best eaten in a softening condition.
Orcas – Ripens Early September. Large with a sweet mild flavor good for canning and drying as well as fresh eating. Vigorous tree.
Red Bartlett – Red version of the well-known Bartlett. Fruit has a classic pear flavor with floral notes and a delicious buttery texture.
Regal Red Comice – Ripens late September to early October. Sweet, buttery, juicy and aromatic qualities make this pear excellent for fresh eating quality or canning. Good storage life.
Seckel – Small red-brown fruit with top quality sweet flavor. Great dessert quality pear for fresh eating, baking or preserves. Ripens late August.
Summercrisp – Ripens August into September. Textore is similar to an Asian pear, crisp and firm. Great pear flavor, juicy and delicious. Cold hardy and good disease resistance. Great fresh eating pear!
Ubileen – European pear, very early ripening in late-July to early August. Large red blushed pears with sweet rich flavor. Disease resistant.
Asian Pear varieties:
Chojuro – Medium brown-skinned Asian pear with firm and crisp texture. Flavor is mild and sweet. Ripens mid-August.
Kiki Sui – Medium to large green-skinned fruit with crisp, juicy texture. Distinctive flavor is rich and sweet. Ripens early September.
Korean Giant – Ripens in mid-October. Crisp and juicy with high sugar content. Heavy yields of large and round pears that can weigh up to a pound.
Kosui – Ripens mid-September. Medium to large pear with brown skin and a crisp, sweet-spicy flavor. Among the best flavor of the Asian-types. Fruits stores well.
Nijiseiki (20th Century) – Ripens late August. Medium round green-yellow skinned pear that’s firm, crisp, and juicy. Best known and most popular variety among the Asian-types.
Raja – Ripens in September. A golden brown Asian pear that is very sweet and rich in flavor. Very productive, disease-resistant and hardy.
Shinko – Asian pear, that is late ripening in late August. Medium golden pears are very flavorful. This is a favorite with home gardeners because of its heavy yields and long harvest season. It also has an excellent storage life.
Shinseiki – Early Asian variety, ripens in late-July. Very large golden pears are sweet, crisp with a fine texture. Considered the variety with the best flavor and the longest storage life.