What do you think of pears?

Do you have a pear tree in your garden? Are you interested in growing them?

A beautiful Winter Cole pear
A beautiful Winter Cole pear

We’re on a bit of a mission here at the farm to bring pears back into fashion, because when you get them right, they’re really delicious.

They also really lend themselves to preserving, they’re relatively bomb proof in the garden (as long as you keep the birds off), and they improve your food security by extending the fresh fruit season.

However they tend to be one of the more ignored fruits, and there’s a couple of reasons why.

One is because it’s very hard to pick them at the right time so they will ripen properly, though this is easier with some varieties (including the various types of nashis) than others.

Ripe nashi pears
Ripe nashi pears

Many types of pears go floury if you let them ripen on the tree, so they have to be picked when they are mature (but not ripe) and then stored in a coolroom or fridge for a few weeks before allowing them to ripen at room temperature. That means there’s a few variables you need to get right.

First, knowing when they are mature can be tricky; it’s about making sure that the seeds have gone completely dark brown and plump, and that the fruit has enough starch in it.

Secondly, you need to be patient and let the fruit stay in cold storage for long enough before you try to ripen them, or they just won’t ripen. This is something we’ve got wrong many times ourselves in the past – in our eagerness to get them to market, we’ve often either picked too early or not left them in the coolroom long enough.

Pear blister mite
Pear blister mite

Pears are relatively easy to grow. They can get a few problems, like Pear blister mite (above), Black spot (a common fungal disease) and of course the very common Pear and cherry slug, but none of those problems are too destructive or hard to control.

They’re usually very reliable trees, they thrive in conditions that other trees don’t like (e.g., soggy, or frosty areas) and it’s pretty easy to get them to crop well. 

Gorgeous white pear flowers
Gorgeous white pear flowers

Plus, they’re beautiful trees to have in the garden, with large glossy green leaves, beautiful white blossom, and a stunning autumn display. 

Clearly we’re big fans of pears, which is why we’ve been steadily expanding the number of varieties we grow on the farm. It also means we’re able to offer some unusual heritage varieties at Carr’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery (like St Michael Archangel, Glou Morceau, and Beurre Clairgeau, as well as the much sought after but hard to find Lemon Bergamot.)

If you’re tempted to plant a pear tree but don’t feel confident in how to grow them, take our short course Plump pears and quirky quinces for information about pests and diseases that affect these fruits, how to prune them, and a bonus bundle of 5 tried-and-true pear and quince recipes.

Pears featured at the National Gallery of Australia
Pears featured at the National Gallery in Canberra

6 thoughts on “What do you think of pears?”

  1. One issue with european pears is the large size of the trees. I understand there are some dwarfing rootstocks out there. Do you have any or plan to get any?

    1. Hi Steve, quince is sometimes used as a dwarfing rootstock for pears. We haven’t done this in the nursery yet, but have plans to in the future, so stay tuned!

      1. I have a dwarf pear BUT it is still over two metres high so have pruned the central leader quite significantly.

        1. Great comment Primrose – demonstrates that even if you have a dwarfing rootstock, it still pays to prune your tree in the right way to keep it to the shape you want. We actually usually recommend vase shaped trees rather than central leader on all rootstocks except very dwarfing, because spreading the vigour into multiple limbs from low down in the tree helps to maintain the height at a more reasonable level. Good luck with your pear.

  2. I am keen to grow pears but concerned not cold enough here? Could you please advise / recommend varieties suitable to clay soils overlaid with sheep yard manure located near Miles Qld? We have temps ranging from 40 to minus 6.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Roni, sounds like your climate is probably fine to grow pears. They (and other deciduous fruit trees) need enough “chill factor” – if you really want to figure this out, it’s Unit 7 in our “Home Orchard Design” short course ( https://growgreatfruit.com/product/home-orchard-design/), but it’s probably a fairly safe assumption that you do. Good luck growing some beautiful pears!

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