General Characteristics: Exceptional fresh fruit. Asian pears are one of the best for fresh eating and in salads but they also make great pies. Cooler summers will delay the ripening process but a warmer one will hasten it. Great for fruits, and nice in the landscape as small trees with beautiful, white spring flowers. Self-pollinating.
When fruit trees produce a large spring bloom, it does not guarantee a plentiful harvest. Successful pollination must occur to produce viable seed, which leads to the development of fruit. There are several ways in which pollination can occur: some fruit trees are "self-pollinating", others are partially self-fertile and require another tree to provide pollen, usually from the same type of tree but a different variety.
1. Plant two or more varieties of the same tree. This is the most reliable way of ensuring successful fruit. This is a good idea even with trees that are self-fertile as more fruit set is likely when they are cross-pollinated.
2. Attract bees to your yard. Bees are the number one source for pollination in all fruits.
3. Avoid using insecticides. Although insecticides can benefit by killing harmful garden pests, they also can kill beneficial insects (bees) and therefore should be used only when absolutely necessary. It is NEVER recommended to use insecticides near your fruit trees when they are in bloom.
1. Thin Fruit. After fruit set, if the tree has produced a large amount of fruit and when the fruits are still small, remove 20-35% of the fruits. This will allow the plant to put all of its energy into the remaining fruits, which will, in turn, produce larger and healthier fruit. If thinning is not done and the plant produces an over-abundance of fruit, it sometimes will throw the tree into a biennial (every other year) producer. Therefore, it is important to thin fruit when the tree produces a large amount of fruit.
2. Rake Leaves. Do not allow fruit tree leaves to fall and remain on the ground under your trees. They can produce spores that can be harmful to the fruit tree. It is important to remove the leaves in the fall before winter.
3. Prune your Asian pear trees in the winter when they are dormant. Asian pears have a different growth pattern than their European cousins. Begin pruning and training the first year. Trim the top of your tree the first winter by clipping the main leader just above a bud junction. Continue thinning the tree until you have four or five strong branches by the third year. In some cases, branches in Asian pears may grow at too narrow an angle and require a branch spreader. Branch spreaders press down on branches to increase the angle with the trunk.
4. Cultural Practices. In areas that mice and rabbits are a problem, wrap the trunk of the tree with a quality tree wrap. Also, avoid mechanical injury with weed-eaters and lawn mowers as damaging the bark near the base of the tree can limit fruit production, stunt growth, and in some cases lead to the death of the tree.
5. Fertilization. Fire blight is a common problem on new growth with Asian pears. Because of this, refrain from fertilizing your tree for the first few years of growth. After three years, about 1/2 cup of 13-13-13 balanced fertilizer can be applied once a year. Increase the amount by 1/2 cup per year until you are applying 2 cups per year. If you have any concerns about fire blight, refrain from applying any fertilizer.
6. Fruit Culling. To get larger, sweeter pears, you will need to cull part of your fruit crop during the growing season. Many Asian pears will produce 8 to 12 blossoms per cluster. Reduce the number per cluster to two or three for better pear production. If you have too many clusters on your tree, thin the clusters until they are no closer than 6 inches.