Pear Pollination 


Most pears require pollination by another pear to produce fruit. Kieffer is the one pear which is truly self-pollinating. Almost all other combinations of two pears will do the trick. The only exception is that Bartlett and Seckel cannot pollinate each other, but they can pollinate almost all other pears. So if you plant both of those, you will still need another pear to pollinate each of them.


To have successful pollination, the pear blossoms must be open at about the same time. While the pollen is compatible between Asian and European pears, the bloom time is often not overlapping. Generally, Asian pears are early bloomers and European pears are mid-season bloomers. To be on the safe side, we recommend that Asian pears be used to pollinate each other. And we recommend that European pears be used to pollinate each other.

About Pears 


Pears have been cultivated for thousands of years. References to pears in China date back to 5000 B.C. In 800 B.C. Homer’s refers to pears as “a gift from the gods” in his epic The Odyssey. Pears were brought to the United States by early European colonists in the 17th century.


Pears fall into two basic types: European and Asian. They can pollinate across these two types, but the fruit itself is quite different. European pears are generally “pear” shaped, while Asian pears are usually round, like an apple. Sometimes Asian pears are referred to as “apple pears” but their taste is very different from an apple. Asian pears are extremely juicy and almost effervescent to the taste.

Pear Pruning


Pears are arguably the most attractive of all fruit trees. They will  naturally form a well balanced shape similar to the popular flowering Bradford pear, with just a little coaxing. And when they bloom, fruiting pears have a  beautiful, white show of flowers in the early spring.


First year pruning sets the eventual shape of the tree. If your tree is taller than 4-5' above ground,  after it’s planted, trim it down to that height. Pick out the dominant branch that is the most vertical at the top of the tree.  This  will be your central leader. Thin out the inward growing branches and any branches which are crossing over each other. Trim off the tips of the larger  branches to encourage growth. See the diagram for a before and after look at the branches.


Any shoots or branches which come from BELOW the “bud union” should always be pruned – now and in the future. Brand new stems that grow out of the ground, from the root systems are called suckers. If you see them, simply cut them off at ground level. When the tree matures, suckering usually diminishes.


If your trees set fruit this first year, pick off some of the  immature fruits, spacing them about 8" apart on the branches. This will encourage proper ripening, allow the spray to cover well, and improve vegetative vigor. Fruit thinning in the future is also  important for the very same reasons. Less is more. If you don’t thin, you will get many more fruits than the tree can handle, resulting in broken  branches and small fruits. Don’t be afraid to thin. The resulting fruits will be fuller and much nicer.


In later years, you should  continue “shape” your tree. Pear trees  are best trained to a central leader (uppermost upright limb). This is the natural way your pear tree will want to grow. Pruning will keep your  tree vigorous, encourage the establishment of fruit buds and enable you to keep your tree down to a manageable size.


It is generally best to prune pear trees when they are  dormant. Pick a nice pleasant, sunny  winter day and enjoy this part of orcharding. Summer pruning is helpful to retard growth of the tree.  So if the tree is growing very aggressively  and getting taller than you like, take it back in July to control this growth.