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Are Asian pears the king...

15 years ago

Are Asian pears the king when it comes to a low maintenance, easy to grow and disease resistance fruit tree?

I am new to gardening and planted 5 apple trees and 2 Asian pears and some other fruit trees. Almost everything else suffers from disease especially the apples. Asian pears seem to be the dream tree when it comes to low disease. But maybe I'm just lucky with my 2 trees?

On another note - what month does the Asian pear usually become ripe enough to harvest? From what I have read they are hard to figure out when it comes to ripeness,

Comments (31)

  • 15 years ago

    Asian pears ripen on the tree just like apples. So it is not hard to tell when they are ripe. By and large they are ripe when they taste ripe. I suppose there are some, like some apples, that need a period after picking for best quality. If so, I haven't grown any of them.

    It is your regular pears that must be picked "green" and ripened off the tree. They will not mature properly on the tree. Pick them when the seeds turn dark.

    My main complaint with Asian pears is they need a lot of thinning and it can be very tedious. The fruit is hidden in very thick foliage. Also some of mine cracked when it rained this yr. Bad cracks, had to pull that fruit. If it rains too much the fruit can be watery and not very sweet. But properly grown Asians can be very good.

    The Fruitnut

  • 15 years ago

    Well, Allenwrench, I guess you could say that. In my personal experience, pears of any kind are about the easiest tree fruit to grow, especially if you are not doing any kind of a spray program -- they might get coddling moth in the core, but generally very few worms in the flesh, most of the fruit will be edible. Contrast that with an apple, which is just a mess if not sprayed regularly all season. As far as disease problems go, pears don't suffer from too many, not nearly as many problems as apples or stone fruits.

    As far as when the Asian pears ripen, it depends on the variety and also, I suppose, on your location. Here in SE Michigan, ripening is between mid-August to mid-October, depending upon the variety. The later ripening ones, Korean Giant in particular, tend to have the best flavor and store the best, IMO.

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  • 15 years ago

    I was heart broken when my 2 Asian pear trees had fire bright disease but I could save these trees by removing affected branches.
    I am still worried if these trees start having fire blight disease again.
    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/02-011.htm

  • 15 years ago

    Question... If I were to plant some Asian pears (or some other fruit which is more susceptible to FB, would it be more likely to bring FB to my apple trees (which I don't believe are as susceptible? Thanks, -Glenn

  • 15 years ago

    Glenn,

    No, probably not really. Disease organisms are ubiquitous in the environment, it's just a question of how susceptible a particular plant is at a particular time, based upon factors like weather, etc.

    I've never seen fire blight here in Michigan (knock on wood), but I understand it can be treated fairly successfully with Agrostrep, a streptomyacin antibiotic spray for trees. I've used Agrostrep on bacterial diseases of peppers and cucumbers with good results.

  • 15 years ago

    I have one Asian pear (Shinko), and this is its second year of fruit production. The thinning is a bit tedious, and obviously will get moreso as the tree gets larger. Other than that, no problems (no spraying either)

    If you are in zone 6 or warmer, Asian persimmon might be easier than Asian pear. No thinning necessary. Paw Paw and mulberry are also known for lack of disease problems.

    >On another note - what month does the Asian pear usually become ripe
    >enough to harvest? From what I have read they are hard to figure out when
    >it comes to ripeness,

    Here in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania (zone 6) I picked my Shinko pears on September 21st last fall. There is a very cool trick to determining when they are ripe. Go out at night with a flashlight, and hold the light up to the back of the pear. Before it is ripe, the pear is opaque. When it is ripe, the pear will glow when you hold the light up to it. If the pear falls off in your hand when performing this test, it is definitely ripe :)

    Alex

  • 15 years ago

    Asian pears are very susceptible to Fireblight, and from what I read it can be spread by insects to any other kind of susceptible tree. I have three Asian pears, all three had a mild case of fireblight last year. This year two of them, my Shinseki and 20th Century, didn't have any Fireblight. But my Hosui has been hit really bad and I think it will die from it as I already have cut off more than half the branches and it is still spreading. Its a shame, as it was my best producer of the three.

  • 15 years ago

    I would agree that fireblight is the biggest problem. Don't count on spray to cure it either -- it didn't work for me this year since it was a "perfect storm" of weather conditions for fireblight. This year I got it only on my apples and quince/medlar but I have had hits on my pears in most years. You also may have problems with pear psylla.

    In terms of the king of low-maintenance decent fruit I would give jujubes that prize hands down. Plant, wait a few years, pick. Some of the fruits may crack and get infested by ants, but thats about as bad as it gets. Persimmons can be easy but I have found the persimmon psylla to be a big problem. Pawpaws are easy but lots of people don't like the taste of them very much.

    Scott

  • 15 years ago

    I've found that Asians are harder to take care of than the hyrbrid Pears. I concur that Jujube has to be the king of low maintenance fruit trees. I have had good luck keeping psylla off my Persimmon with Neem and Seaweed, so they have been low maint. as well.

  • 15 years ago

    Willy, thanks for the tip on neem, I will try that next year. I also mix seaweed with many of my sprays, never figured out how much it helps but I bought many years worth so I just keep on using it :-)

    One other potential challenger for king of the low-maintenance tree fruits is mulberries, but I am not growing them so cannot say myself.

    Scott

  • 15 years ago

    So as you can see it depends on where you are. Here we do not have fireblight to any significant degree but we do have pseudomonas. Different cultivars vary in susceptibility.

    Overall apple trees are the best choice for us.

    Not all European pears are picked and ripened in storage. A common exception is 'Bartlett'.

  • 15 years ago

    RE: Are Asian pears the king... Brought to you by
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    Posted by denninmi 6A (My Page) on Sat, Jul 26, 08 at 17:59

    Well, Allenwrench, I guess you could say that. In my personal experience, pears of any kind are about the easiest tree fruit to grow, especially if you are not doing any kind of a spray program -- they might get coddling moth in the core, but generally very few worms in the flesh, most of the fruit will be edible. Contrast that with an apple, which is just a mess if not sprayed regularly all season. As far as disease problems go, pears don't suffer from too many, not nearly as many problems as apples or stone fruits.
    As far as when the Asian pears ripen, it depends on the variety and also, I suppose, on your location. Here in SE Michigan, ripening is between mid-August to mid-October, depending upon the variety. The later ripening ones, Korean Giant in particular, tend to have the best flavor and store the best, IMO.

    *********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

    Thanks for so many replies!

    Is it like this with ALL apples? If you don't do anything to them but give water they will be a mess?

    Did nature screw up when it made apples?

  • 15 years ago

    Here in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania (zone 6) I picked my Shinko pears on September 21st last fall. There is a very cool trick to determining when they are ripe. Go out at night with a flashlight, and hold the light up to the back of the pear. Before it is ripe, the pear is opaque. When it is ripe, the pear will glow when you hold the light up to it. If the pear falls off in your hand when performing this test, it is definitely ripe :)

    Alex

    YES..very cool...THANKS!

  • 15 years ago

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujube

    will it grow in Z6?

    I am looking into mulberry trees. Where is a good source to buy them?

    And plums? Are they hardy and disease free?

  • 15 years ago

    > Is it like this with ALL apples? If you don't do anything
    > to them but give water they will be a mess?
    > Did nature screw up when it made apples?

    [Flame On]
    That's total nonsense. I don't spray my apple trees, nor do I water them. I get tons of delicious apples even though there's no rain during July, August and September here. I use plastic sandwich bags for Coddling Moth protection. Moths will do as much damage to asian pears as to apples. No black spot, no fireblight, no rust, no scab. And the variety of tastes and textures is way better than asian pears that IMO are sweet but flavorless.
    [Flame Off]

  • 15 years ago

    Allen, jujubes should do OK in zone 6. In zones 5 and colder there may not be a long enough summer to ripen them. Also if it is too cool during bloom you may not get a very big fruit set. Most years it should be fine in your zone I would say, but maybe not every single year. I had a low set this year on my jujubes due to a very unusual cool spring.

    There are many sources for mulberries, e.g. Raintree or One Green World.

    Plums tend to get bugs very badly and so require some work to get a crop.

    Scott

  • 15 years ago

    for mulberries I would suggest 'Silk Hope', for jujube I would suggest 'Ant Admire' and 'Honey Jar'
    Though jujube has no disease or pest problems, it does sucker from the rootstock. I will be glad when they develop a rootstock that doesn't have that trait. There is a native jujube in Florida and I wonder how it behaves? Another problem-free fruit is pineapple guava. Don't let the guava name fool you, it is not a tropical guava and is cold hardy - great fruit and edible flowers to boot

    Here is a link that might be useful: bittersweetgardens

  • 15 years ago

    Thanks for all the help.

    Re apples. I can only comment about my local. (Ohio Valley) And the apples are all sick here if left in a natural state.

  • 15 years ago

    Good mourning , I've enjoyed Asian Pears for so long that I'm planning to plant a Hosui & Shinko here in North Texas..( Pottsboro,Tx - 60mi due No. of Dallas). I've been reading this site for very good info & have hi-hopes that I will succeed.
    The question is where to buy . I'm considering "Willis Orchard, Berlin, Ga." ( approx. same zone) . Does anyone have a line on them OR can recommend another source ????
    thanks , mrfixit37

  • 15 years ago

    You might consider Womack's Nursery in De Leon TX. Their trees are OK and prices very good. But I haven't ordered from them in some while.

  • 15 years ago

    I'd go with another source. I've ordered from Willis and they have been honest in their dealings with me, but I have not been satisfied with the quality of their stock. One nursery near you that I've seen recommended here (and on Garden Watchdog) is Johnson Nursery.

  • 15 years ago

    MrFixit37-
    You can always check them out on "Garden Watchdog" which rates online nurseries. Compare their customer ratings with other companies that you know and respect. The easiest way I've found to get there is to Google the word "Scoop" (as in 'the scoop on this nursery') and then "Willis Orchard", so "Scoop Willis Orchard". I don't have any first hand experience with this company, but from what I see up there, I'd be a bit nervous but then again, the company does seem to be responding reasonable to many of the complaints. -Glenn

  • 15 years ago

    oops, "reasonably"

  • 15 years ago

    also think of bob wells in lindale for bare roots.

    i've bought potted asian pears from northaven in dallas, & doan's in irving; but my bare root asian pears are doing better.

  • 15 years ago

    Try Womack, Texas Pecan or a retail store that carries these two companies products. Also, L.E. Cooke has really nice stock but they are only wholesale so again look for a retail outlet that has there trees. For Asians I think Shinko is about as good as it gets for fb resistance. Hosui is the king of flavor as far as I have tried.

    Hope that helps,
    Scape

  • 15 years ago

    Had trouble with my Asian Pears cracking last year. Someone told me that it was a :chromium deficiency". Anyone have an opinion, info etc about this problem?
    I live in Missoula, Mt now, but grew 5 varieties in Wa state and never had cracking..

  • 15 years ago

    Well, the traditional cause of cracking in most fruits is inconsistent soil moisture, generally dry soil which causes the forming fruit to slow down and the cells to become a bit hard, often forming some corky tissue known as suberin as well as woody tissue known as lignin. Then, a sudden influx of moisture, such as a heavy rain, makes the cells swell, and, with the fruit already being somewhat hardened and stunted, it can't take the internal pressure and it splits.

    I have no personal knowledge of what specific deficiencies might cause what in pears, but it's certainly possible that a trace element deficiency might cause some types of problems. It may be a matter of your soil chemisty -- the elements may be there, but may be chemically bound up due to the type of soil (most common in clays) and due to pH issues (both high and low pH soils have specific nutritional problems). In Montana, I would think that you most likely would have high pH soils, but I suppose the opposite is always possible as well.

    I think the good news is that most micronutrients are pretty easy to supplement, although you may want to get a soil test and address the underlying pH and other issues first, or else any fix will be pretty temporary. A lot of fertilizers have some trace elements now, and there are compounds like S.T.E.M. (Soluble Trace Element Mixture), a brand of supplement sold for greenhouse, nursery, and farm use.

    Dennis
    SE Michigan

  • 15 years ago

    I missed this thread and probably could have been some use as I grow Asians in the humid northeast- which is more like your climate than the locations of most of the posters here.

    To me Korean Giant aka Olympic is best of Asians because it is the biggest and sweetest variety I've grown. University of Kentucky concurs in their research. I've never seen an Asian here bothered by fireblight, maybe because they start growth before warm weather. The consensus in this part of the country is that the Asians are easier to grow than Euros because they are not susceptible to scab or psyla, which can be devastating and more difficult to treat than most problems on any fruit here.

    I used to really like the taste of my KG's but after I had unlimited access to them I began to lose interest. I now far prefer my different Europeans because they are more interesting to me. This is all so subjective and people who sample my KG's usually just go gahgah

    Fireblight is something that can be spread from more susceptable trees to less. I have not seen research on this but my observations are conclusive as far as I'm concerned although I've only actually seen examples on 3 sites. On one site the quince there had fireblight for 2 or 3 seasons before it spread to europears. It went from susceptable pears (bosc most affected) the next season to most of the apples with Honeycrisp most affected.

    The strikes never went deep except in the Bosc and Quince and last year wasn't too bad. I've yet to loose a tree to fireblight after 2 decades of caring for thousands of trees in the northeast. This is probably because I don't manage any full dwarf apple trees which are more susceptable.

    In your climate you may get Jap type plums without much difficulty, or not. Scott has troubles in Maryland but I get unsprayed fruit often in S. NY and vacinity.

    Illinois Everbearing is usually touted as the best Mulberry for my climate. I have also tried Oscars, which I didn't care for. Silk Hope couldn't take our winter. Burnt Ridge has some IE available.

  • 15 years ago

    My guess is that in Pennsylvania the easiest to care fruits will be mulberry, chestnut, and hardy kiwi. Same as here in MI. I agree with Dennis that pears are quite easy around here, but still they do have bugs if you do not spray. Here, raspberries and currants are also ridicolously easy.

  • 15 years ago

    SCAB causes fruit cracking and spliting in apples, pears, asian peras, and other pomes. You can try to treat with Neem oil, but of course it is less effective than deadlier poisons. Scab can kill your whole tree, as well as fireblights, but in Houston TX fireblight is so common that it can be seen on any untreated bradford pear (ornamental), but usually only a small # of end branches die (top 5-10 leaves). I believe I lost a pome last year to Cotton Root Rot, and have been acidifying my soil since. My asian and 'normal' pear trees look very healthy, but some of the fruit are getting scab and cracking :( time to break out the Neem again for me.
    do a google search on cracked pomes and soil moisture (i.e. (apple OR pear) +(crack OR split) +moisture +soil ) and you will find it is quite well documented by controlled studies that it isn't cause by the dry-->wet soil theory.