Proper Care and Feeding of Pear Trees

The pear tree comes in flowering (Pyrus calleryana) and fruiting (Pyrus communis) species. Many cities and neighborhoods across the United States have been planting flowering pear trees alongside roadways and around public buildings. Recently, however, questions about the longevity and invasiveness of certain species have brought their use into question.

The Bradford variety is particularly notorious for having weak limbs. And, although newer species are resistant, most flowering pear trees are susceptible to fire blight, a disease that shortens the lifespan of pear trees.

Growing a Flowering Pear Tree

Variety: Pyrus calleryana
Zones: 5 to 9
Soil Type: Average soil requirements
Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
Sunlight: Prefers full sun
Watering: Average watering needs

Flowering pear trees should be planted in full sun and soil with good drainage. Fertilize your pear in the spring with a balanced fertilizer or fertilizer tree spikes. Pruning should be done in late winter to remove dead or damaged limbs and to remove any limbs that grow across other limbs.

Flowering Pear Tree Varieties

  • Chanticleer: Smaller than other varieties, Chanticleer has a narrow form and plum-colored fall foliage.
  • Redspire: Known for its narrow, pyramidal shape, Redspire grows to more than 30 feet tall and is attractive to bees and butterflies.
  • Aristocrat: Cold hardy over a wide range, this flowering pear is widely recommended as an alternative to the Bradford variety. Grows to 35 feet high.

Growing a Pear Tree For Fruit

Variety: Pyrus communis
Zones: 5 to 9
Soil Type: Average soil requirements
Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
Sunlight: Prefers full sun
Watering: Average watering needs

Fruiting pear trees require plenty of sun and well-drained soil. If you don't have a self-pollinating variety, you'll need to plant more than one tree if you're looking for fruit. Pears should be harvested before they are fully ripe and should be allowed to ripen in a cool, dry place.

Pear tree care for fruiting varieties includes pruning in late winter to create open space in the center of the tree. This allows for light and air circulation throughout the interior of the tree.

Fruiting Pear Tree Varieties

  • Beurre Hardy: A vigorous grower with smooth-fleshed fruit. Fruit is yellow to green with some reddish coloring.
  • Conference: Popular with commercial growers, Conference offers a generous crop and is self-pollinating.The elongated fruit is green.
  • Concorde: A compact tree, Concorde bears tons of medium- to large-sized fruit.
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