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Pear Report, Southeastern NY

13 years ago

Two days of steady rain has me in front of my computer overly involved with my favorite forum. If I can't be with my fruit trees I may as well write about them.

Dry hot weather really brought out the best in pear quality this season starting with the Asians. I sampled the first truly sugar sweet 20th Centuries I've grown here without being against a south wall. If I lived in the rainless west I might still be a big fan of Asian pears.

All Asian varieties I grow were outstanding this season whereas in the past only Korean Giant filled the bill in terms of brix. I should say all pears were outstanding not riddled with stink bug and CM damage. On my property such damage was at unacceptable levels while the Euros were great. Other sites had much cleaner fruit (thank goodness).

But I find Asian pears extremely boring- sugar water with texture and a bit of butterscotch. I'm not putting down the fans of this fruit as I used to be one, just stating my present opinion. I will focus on the Euros I grow in this post.

Highland: This one is still a disappointment to me as even on this summer of clear warm days it didn't get adequate sugar. The other day I picked up one off the ground that was huge, firm ripe, and been grown in absolute full sun. I picked up a Bosc pear in similar condition off the ground a few feet away and the Bosc was easily the superior pear for one reason- it was plenty sweet while the sugar of the highland was faint. I've found the same from my properly aged Highlands. Wonderful juicy, melting texture but inadequate sugar.

Seckel: Even better than usual this year with extra sugar from a pear always plenty sweet. Great texture as well and can be eaten crisp or luscious. Well worth taking the time to thin for some exceptional pears. You can wait until some pears begin to drop to harvest, which takes the guess work out of picking time.

Aurora: Best year yet for this beautiful pear. Bronze like a Bosc but fatter and more completely russeted. More a luscious type in texture than the grainier Bosc. A bit early for me though.

Bosc: It's a really nice pear and well worth growing until certain pests arrive. Here those include fireblight (it is my most susceptible variety by far), scab and psyla. On many sites it defoliates early due to pest pressure when other varieties are still healthy- on other sites it's fine.

Bartlett: One of the most reliable and easiest to grow pears although it doesn't excite me. I ate one pear off the ground that was totally amazing from one tree this season but sampled others just as ripe that were nothing special. I'm going to keep an eye on that tree and see if one branch isn't producing superior fruit because the really good one was slightly russeted while others I sampled were smooth. Hope I've got a sport!

Harrow Sweet: Only got a few pears off a small tree for the second season and I'm very impressed. It's relatively late and really gets up the sugar- or has the last 2 seasons of opposite weather. Very good size as well. Bartlett type, but sweeter. I'll be grafting pieces onto my Boscs in my nursery as insurance as it's supposed to be FB resistant. It is also resistant to psyla and other pear problems. I wish ACN sold it- got mine from Hilltop.

Sheldon: Similar to Highland and one worth growing. Got it from Cummins

Delicious: Not as delicious as Sheldon or Highland but similar.

Duchess: Good Bartlett type and very easy to grow but too early to interest me.

Atlantic Queen: See Highland, but earlier.

OK, not comparable to Scott's peach list, but maybe others can add some varieties to what I've started as well as reporting on their experiences that absolutely contradict mine with the varieties I've mentioned.

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