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How to Pollinate a Pear Tree

By Frank Whittemore ; Updated September 21, 2017

To ensure a good fruit crop on pear trees, the blossoms need to be pollinated. This fertilizes the flowers, allowing the fruit to grow. Pear trees, in particular, have specific requirements as far as pollination is concerned. In fact, most pears are not self-fruitful and require a pollinizer for proper flower fertilization. Knowing and applying specific techniques that will improve pear tree pollination can greatly increase their yield.

Ensure that you are growing different types of pear trees that will cross-pollinate well. Some species of pear, including Anjou and Bartlett, are partially self-pollinating but should be cross-pollinated to ensure a good crop. Also, ensure that the varieties of pear trees you are growing will pollinate each other and will bloom at the same time.

Use honeybees to improve the pollination of pear trees. The blossoms of pear trees bloom for only a short period of time and do not produce enough nectar for them to be as attractive to bees as other possible forage. If you plan to use honeybees for pollination, install twice as many hives as you would for other fruit crops. Place the bees in the orchard when a third of the blooms have opened.

Plant different varieties of pear trees within a reasonable distance of each other to improve the pollination process. Plant each variety no more than 100 feet from another variety that will act as its pollinizer. This will also improve the chances that honeybees visiting one variety of tree will also visit another variety, thereby increasing the chances of cross-pollination.

Make sure your trees are in good health. Illnesses such as fire blight, a disease common to pears, can stunt or even kill flowers, thereby limiting or even eliminating the source of pollen for the trees. Manage diseases to help reduce the risk of them interfering with the pollination process.

Pollinate pear flowers by hand on dwarf and espaliered pear trees. Use an artist's paintbrush to gather pollen from the blossoms of one variety of pear and transfer it to another variety. While this is a tedious and time-consuming process, it will guarantee pollination.


About the Author


In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.