How to Raise Pear Trees

Overview

Pears are one of the oldest cultivated fruit in the world. They come in many varieties although Bartlett is the most popular in the grocery store. Pear trees do not self-pollinate and need a tree of a different variety to cross-pollinate. The trees produce beautiful fragrant white or pink flowers in the spring that look wonderful in your landscape. They can reach heights of 15 to 30 feet and span 10 to 20 feet, which means you will need some room to grow them. They aren't hard to grow and take 4 to 5 years to fruit.

Step 1

Choose a location that has full sun and is on the highest elevation of your landscape. Even if it's just slightly higher it will give the tree and buds a little protection from a late spring frost.

Step 2

Test the soil for PH. Soil test kits can be purchased at your local nursery. If the PH is lower than 6.5, cultivate some lime into the soil to bring it up to 6.5. Remove all weeds from the area where you plan to plant.

Step 3

Dig the holes for the trees in early spring. The holes should be twice the diameter of the root ball and about 24 inches deep. Work compost and leaf mold into the removed soil to assist in drainage. Fill the hole up with the amended soil to the level you will be planting the tree. If the tree came in a container, it should be planted at the same level as in the container. If the tree's root ball was wrapped in burlap, there will be a dirt ring around the trunk at the level it was grown. Do not plant the tree any deeper than that dirt ring.

Step 4

Remove the tree from the container or burlap and gently spread the roots. Lower the tree into the hole and fill with soil half way. Water so the soil packs around the root ball and then continue to fill the hole. Hand tamp the soil down so it is level or slightly higher than the ground around it, as it will most likely settle down as it is watered.

Step 5

Cut off any part of the tree over 3 feet from the ground. Many nursery trees have already been pruned for shaping, but if yours have not, cut off any side branches that are crossing other branches, have narrow crotch angles or are lower than 18 inches from the ground.

Step 6

Water well right after pruning and keep soil moist as the roots are getting established. Once you start to see growth, water for long periods of time 2 or 3 times a week depending on rain and heat. Don't allow the soil to completely dry out, especially during the growing season. Once the tree goes dormant for the winter, stop watering until early spring.

Step 7

Fertilize the trees with a half pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer about 3 weeks after planting. Keep the fertilizer 16 to 20 inches away from the tree trunk. In years 2 through 6, use a pound of fertilizer a year and increase to 2 pounds for the mature trees.

Step 8

Prune to shape and keep your tree healthy using a central leader system. (See reference: Training and Pruning Fruit Trees.) Pear trees are very susceptible to fire blight, which can come in through open wounds from pruning. Therefore, the trees are not vigorously pruned except to shape, remove dead wood and suckers, and to thin them out. Disinfect pruning shears in a one-part bleach to 10 parts water solution between cuts.

Things You'll Need

  • One year old pear trees
  • Soil test kit
  • Lime
  • Compost
  • Leaf mold
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Gardening gloves

References

  • Growing Pears
  • Planting Pear Trees
  • Training & Pruning Fruit Trees
Keywords: planting pear trees, growing fruit trees, training pear trees

About this Author

Dale DeVries has been cooking for over 40 years. First teaching her five daughters to cook, she quickly moved on to teaching at a private High School. Dale has catered parties and weddings throughout her life, from gourmet to the simple family type dinners. She says the fun is in creating new recipes that noone has heard of.