Pears are a well-known and popular fruit. Pears are grown commercially in the United States mainly in California, Washington and Oregon. Many people in USDA planting zones 4 through 9 grow pears in their home gardens, too. The moonglow variety was introduced as a pear tree with a higher resistance to fire blight than the older cultivars. Fire blight is a bacterial disease that can kill pear trees. The fruit is sweet, soft and ready to pick in August. Pick moonglow pears before they are ripe on the tree as they will ripen more evenly after harvest.
Choose two varieties of pear trees, for pollination, that are recommended for your area. They should be healthy, 2 to 4 feet high and have about 1 ½-inch diameter trunk.
Find two high locations on your property within 40 feet of each other. The area should have full sun and be clear of any overhead wires as these trees can grow to 25 feet high. Do a soil test to determine the pH level. Ideal pH for pear trees is 6.0 to 6.5.
Dig holes two times the diameter of the root ball and an inch deeper than the container. Clean the soil and surrounding 2 feet of all grass and weeds. Amend the soil with one part compost to three parts original soil. If the soil is particularly heavy and does not drain well, change the ratio to 1:1. Add lime or aluminum sulfate according to the results of the soil test to adjust the pH to 6.5. The amount of amendment will depend on the current level of the pH so follow manufacturer's directions.
Remove the trees from the containers or burlap and place the roots in a bucket of water 30 minutes to an hour before planting.
Place the trees in the planting holes and gently spread the roots around. Adjust the height so the graft line is 2 inches above ground level. Fill the holes halfway with amended soil and water slightly to settle the soil around the roots. Continue to fill until the soil is the same level as the surrounding ground. Tamp down firmly.
Water the trees to totally saturate the area. Water every other day for the first 2 weeks and then once a week throughout the growing season when rain is not sufficient. Extra water may be needed from time to time during very hot and dry weather.
Apply a 13-13-13 fertilizer after you start to see new growth. Spread it in a 2-foot diameter around each tree, keeping it 6 inches from the trunk. Water the soil to leach the fertilizer in immediately after application. Follow manufacturer's directions on the amount to use per age and size of the tree.