Pears on tree.
image by Photo by mattjiggins: Flickr.com
Pears are ideal for the home garden. They grow well with very few problems, and consistently produce a bouquet of flowers in the spring and sweet, nutritious fruit in the fall.
Pears begin to produce after about five years from seed. Transplanted trees will produce in about three years. For best fruit production, plant two trees to encourage cross pollination. Pears are a beautiful addition to the home landscape and can be trained to grow to desired shapes and sizes.
Choose a location that is sheltered from the wind with plenty of sun. Choose a variety of pear that best fits your growing conditions and space available. Dwarf or semi-dwarf pear trees are easy to care for and harvest.
Prepare the soil by digging in some organic compost or fertilizer if the soil is not fertile. Fertile soil needs no additions.
Purchase a pear tree from a reputable nursery or grow your own from seed. Seeds from ripe pears can be planted directly into the ground in the fall or into a pot outdoors. Pear seeds sprout in the spring.
Transplant your pear tree in late winter, or early in the spring. Dig a hole larger than the container your tree came in. Remove the tree and place it in the hole. Backfill the hole and tamp the earth down firmly around the tree.
Water the pear tree thoroughly. Continue to water, as necessary, until the tree is mature. Do not allow the ground to dry out completely.
Stake the tree for support, tying it with cotton twine. Young pear trees are susceptible to strong winds that can damage the tree or cause it to grow at an odd angle.
Prune the pear tree back after planting to about half its original size, leaving at least four buds. Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree.
Prune the tree each winter during the dormant phase. Shape the tree into the shape of a wine glass, thinning out branches to open up the tree and allow in light.
Thin the fruit. Remove the center pear of each set. This will allow the remaining pears more room and increase fruit yield.
Rake under the pear tree every week or two during the late winter and early spring to prevent pests.
Apply a dormant oil fruit tree spray in the spring, as soon as the buds appear. Follow safety precautions on the label and wear protective clothing.
Harvest fully-ripe fruit as soon as the color begins to turn and the fruit softens slightly. Fruit harvested slightly early will keep well and can be ripened on the windowsill.