Pear

Updated: Mar 31

Pears are fruits produced and consumed around the world, growing on a tree and harvested in the Northern Hemisphere in late summer into October. The pear tree and shrub are a species of genus Pyrus, in the family Rosaceae, bearing the pomaceous fruit of the same name.


Either referred to as the European pear tree or the common pear tree, this tree is a small deciduous variety that is native to central and eastern Europe, as well as southwestern Asia. Pear trees are a very important fruit tree to temperate regions, along with apple trees and peach trees.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

18 to 20 feet


Width-Circumference (Avg)

8 to 12 feet


Approximate pH

6.0 - 6.5


Types of Pear Trees


The Bartlett Pear Tree

The Bartlett pear tree is a cultivar. It’s also known as the Pyrus communis (the common pear tree) and as the Williams’ Bon Chretien pear. These are a very long-lived pear variety, with some trees living over 100 years. They produce pears that are yellow and red, and that can tolerate much warmer temperatures than other pear tree types.


The Callery Pear Tree

Pyrus calleryana, also known as the Bradford pear tree cultivar, the Callery pear tree grows to be five to eight meters tall with a round conical crown. This pear cultivar produces inedible fruits, but these are known for being exceptionally lovely ornamental pear trees. They exhibit exquisite fall colors, with their leaves changing to yellow, red, orange, pink, purple, and bronze in autumn.


The Kieffer Pear Tree

The Kieffer pear tree is a hybrid between the European pear tree and the Chinese pear tree. This pear tree variety is tolerant of exceptionally hot climates and produces large yellow pears that are particularly crisp.


Planting Pear Trees

  • Plant pear trees in early spring. Order bare root plants in mid-winter so that they arrive in time.

  • You’ll need full sun for best fruit set and fertile, well-drained soil as well as good air circulation.

  • If you live outside of the dry western regions, you should choose fire blight–resistant types and rootstocks.

  • Plan to plant at least two varieties of pear trees, as they will need to be cross-pollinated to produce fruit. Make sure the varieties are compatible with each other.

  • Space standard-size trees 20 to 25 feet apart. Space dwarf trees 12 to 15 feet apart.

  • For container-grown trees, remove the plant from its pot and remove any circling roots by laying the root ball on its side and using shears to cut through the roots.

  • For grafted trees, position the inside of the curve of the graft union away from the sun when planting.

  • Dig a hole that is a few inches deeper and wider than the spread of the roots. Set the tree on top of a small mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Be sure to spread the roots away from the trunk without excessively bending them. Do not add fertilizer or topsoil to the hole.

Growing Pear Trees

  • Water the young trees well during dry spells to help establish the roots.

  • Apply a small amount of fertilizer early in the year. Add 1/8 pound of ammonium nitrate per tree multiplied by the number of years the tree has been set in moderately fertile soil. If you have highly fertile soil, use less fertilizer.

  • If the leaves are pale green or yellowish during the summer, use a little more fertilizer the next year.

  • If the tree grows more than 12 inches in one season, use less fertilizer the next year.

  • Be very careful when applying fertilizer! If you give your trees too much nitrogen, they will become more susceptible to fire blight and also may focus too much energy on producing foliage instead of flowers and fruit.

Pruning Pear Trees

  • Prune annually to keep the tree healthy. Generally, prune lightly to keep the trees looking their best and productive.

  • For dwarf trees, prune them to a central leader system.

  • Standard-size trees can be pruned to either a central leader system or a modified leader system, which is easier to maintain.

  • The central leader system features a central trunk with branches that spiral out every 5 to 8 inches, making sure that no branch is directly above another. The training for such a system begins in the early summer of the first year, during which time you should remove any shoots that form within 18 inches of the ground. The end result should resemble a Christmas tree.

  • Use spreaders to help shape the branches of the trees. These help the branches to spread outward rather than upward. When the branches are small, you can use clothespins to push the branches away from the main trunk. For bigger branches, use wooden slats with a “V” shape notched into each end.

  • Remember to thin the fruit as well, leaving about 6 inches between each cluster of fruit per branch.

  • After your trees are established, water them regularly.

Harvesting Pear Fruits

  • Harvest pears when they are mature but still hard. Ripen the pears at room temperature for the best quality fruits.

  • Mature pear trees produce a lot of fruit in a short window of time. Be prepared!

  • To store pears, pick them when they are fully grown but still very hard. You can keep them in the refrigerator; they should last for about 1 week. You can also keep them in containers in a cool (about 40°F), dark place; they should keep for 1 to 2 months.

  • You can also can the pears for longer storage.

Common Pests & Diseases


One of the most common problems found on pear trees is fire blight, which is caused by a bacterium named Erwinia amylovora. Copper sprays may not get rid of the disease. It can be difficult to control and pruning of diseased parts can be done in summer and winter to help stop the infection. Be sure to disinfect your tools before and after pruning lest you spread the disease accidentally. A disinfecting solution of three parts denatured alcohol and one part water is best.2


Unfortunately, many pests favor the pear tree. Keep a close eye on your trees and watch for any signs to help control the problem as early as possible.


Benefits of Pear

Highly nutritious

Pears come in many different varieties. Bartlett, Bosc, and D’Anjou pears are among the most popular, but around 100 types are grown worldwide.

A medium-sized pear (178 grams) provides the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 101

  • Protein: 1 gram

  • Carbs: 27 grams

  • Fiber: 6 grams

  • Vitamin C: 12% of the Daily Value (DV)

  • Vitamin K: 6% of DV

  • Potassium: 4% of the DV

  • Copper: 16% of DV

This same serving also provides small amounts of folate, provitamin A, and niacin. Folate and niacin are important for cellular function and energy production, while provitamin A supports skin health and wound healing.


Pears are likewise a rich source of important minerals, such as copper and potassium. Copper plays a role in immunity, cholesterol metabolism, and nerve function, whereas potassium aids muscle contractions and heart function.


What’s more, these fruits are an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants, which protect against oxidative damage. Be sure to eat the whole pear, as the peel boasts up to six times more polyphenols than the flesh.

May promote gut health

Pears are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which are essential for digestive health. These fibers help maintain bowel regularity by softening and bulking up stool.

One medium-sized pear (178 grams) packs 6 grams of fiber — 22% of your daily fiber needs. Additionally, soluble fibers feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. As such, they’re considered prebiotics, which are associated with healthy aging and improved immunity.

As pear skin contains a substantial amount of fiber, it’s best to eat this fruit unpeeled

Contain beneficial plant compounds

Pears offer many beneficial plant compounds that give these fruits their different hues. For instance, anthocyanins lend a ruby-red hue to some pears. These compounds may improve heart health and strengthen blood vessels.

Though specific research on pear anthocyanins is needed, numerous population studies suggest that a high intake of anthocyanin-rich foods like berries is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Pears with green skin feature lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds necessary to keep your vision sharp, especially as you age.

Again, many of these beneficial plant compounds are concentrated in the skin.

Have anti-inflammatory properties

Although inflammation is a normal immune response, chronic or long-term inflammation can harm your health. It’s linked to certain illnesses, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Pears are a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants, which help fight inflammation and may decrease your risk of disease.

Several large reviews tie high flavonoid intake to a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. This effect may be due to these compounds’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

What’s more, pears pack several vitamins and minerals, such as copper and vitamins C and K, which also combat inflammation.

May offer anticancer effects

Pears contain various compounds that may exhibit anticancer properties. For example, their anthocyanin and cinnamic acid contents have been shown to fight cancer.

A few studies indicate that diets rich in fruits, including pears, may protect against some cancers, including those of the lung, stomach, and bladder.

Some population studies suggest that flavonoid-rich fruits like pears may also safeguard against breast and ovarian cancers, making this fruit a particularly smart choice for women.

While eating more fruit may reduce your cancer risk, more research is needed. Pears should not be considered a replacement for cancer treatment.

Linked to a lower risk of diabetes

Pears — particularly red varieties — may help decrease diabetes risk.

One large study in over 200,000 people found that eating 5 or more weekly servings of anthocyanin-rich fruits like red pears was associated with a 23% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, a mouse study noted that plant compounds, including anthocyanins, in pear peel exhibited both anti-diabetes and anti-inflammatory effects.

What’s more, the fiber in pears slows digestion, giving your body more time to break down and absorb carbs. This can also help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially helping prevent and control diabetes.

May boost heart health

Pears may lower your risk of heart disease.

Their procyanidin antioxidants may decrease stiffness in heart tissue, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.

The peel contains an important antioxidant called quercetin, which is thought to benefit heart health by decreasing inflammation and reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Furthermore, regular intake of pears and other white-fleshed fruits is thought to lower stroke risk.

May help you lose weight

Pears are low in calories, high in water, and packed with fiber. This combination makes them a weight-loss-friendly food, as fiber and water can help keep you full.

When full, you’re naturally less prone to keep eating.

Easy to add to your diet

Pears are available year-round and easy to find in most grocery stores.

Eaten whole — with a handful of nuts if you choose — they make a great snack. It’s also easy to add them to your favorite dishes, such as oatmeal, salads, and smoothies.

Popular cooking methods include roasting and poaching. Pears complement chicken or pork especially well. They likewise pair nicely with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, cheeses like Gouda and brie, and ingredients like lemon and chocolate.

However you choose to eat them, remember to include the skin to get the most nutrients.


Uses of Pear Trees


Fruit

Pears are consumed fresh, canned, as juice, and dried. The juice can also be used in jellies and jams, usually in combination with other fruits, including berries. Fermented pear juice is called perry or pear cider and is made in a way that is similar to how cider is made from apples. Perry can be distilled to produce an eau de vie de poire, a colorless, unsweetened fruit brandy.


Pear puree is used to manufacture snack foods such as Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Roll-Ups.


Wood

Unlike many other types of fruit trees, the wood of the pear tree is also highly valuable. Pear tree wood is heavy, durable, and tough. It has a fine grain and an attractive color. Pear tree wood is often used to make high-quality woodwind instruments or in the creation of fine cabinetry.


Natural Dye

When pear tree leaves are collected and steeped, they release a very attractive deep yellow color that has been used traditionally in natural pigment dyeing.

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