Fresh pears make a tasty treat, but growing your own can be a challenge. Many varieties will not succeed in Florida's warm climate, but there are a few that are adapted to the weather in the northern part of the state. With the right choice of cultivar and careful management, you can add pear trees to your home orchard, and the reward of fresh-picked pears will be worth the effort.
Choose your cultivar. Pear varieties that grow well in northern Florida include Baldwin, Flordahome, Orient and Pineapple.
Plant 1- to 2-year-old nursery trees during the dormant season; the best time for planting is late December through January to allow solid root establishment before spring growing begins.
Dig a hole large enough to fit the root system without crowding or bending the roots.
Prune long or broken roots before placing the tree in the hole.
Carefully set the tree upright in the hole at the same depth it was planted in the nursery.
Fill in the hole to about two-thirds full, packing the soil firmly around the roots after every other shovelful.
Water the tree and wait for the water to soak into the soil before filling the rest of the hole.
Build up a small ridge of soil around the hole to act as a water reservoir.
Plant different varieties of pear tree if you have a cultivar that requires cross-pollination. Flordahome and Pineapple pears both need to be cross-pollinated with a different cultivar, so plant these together or with another cultivar that blooms at the same time.
Prune your pear trees yearly to remove diseased or dead branches and to shape the tree.
Mulch around the base of the tree to help control weeds and retain moisture.
Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at a rate of about 1 lb. per year of age of the tree until you reach a maximum of 10 lbs. Split the fertilizing into two applications, one in January or during the tree's dormant period and one in June at the beginning of the rainy season.
Water as needed depending on rainfall and soil type, soaking the area under the canopy to a depth of several feet. You may need to water every seven to ten days during dry periods.
Watch for fire blight and prune out any affected parts of the tree, cutting 8 to 10 inches below the lowest infected area you can find. Burn the pruned material to prevent spreading the disease.
Pick pears just before they ripen, wrap them in paper and store at room temperature to achieve uniform ripening.