Gardening | 21 August 2015How to Plant and Grow Pears Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Nothing else quite compares to biting into a sweet, juicy, delicious pear freshly picked from the tree. Now combine that incredible freshness and flavor with the satisfaction of knowing you grew that very pear tree yourself, and you’ll have had one of the all-time best gardening experiences around. In addition to their delectable fruits, pear trees are pleasing to the eye, as well. As author Robert Bowden explains in his book Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening, a pear tree’s growth is quite handsome and would be a welcome addition to any landscape. (Deliciousness and beauty? What a pear. [We promise that this will be the post’s only unavoidable fruit pun.]) Here, Robert shares his expert how-to wisdom about when and where to plant pear trees, as well as how to care for them in Florida. Pears. Photo credit: Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening Pears Easy to grow and an enjoyable addition to any mid- to late summer fruit salad, pears should be in nearly every North Florida garden. Pears grown in the Sunshine State are smaller than those found in the local markets, but their flavor is just as good. Florida pears come in two main versions: soft and hard. Some varieties are good for canning only and some are equally good for fresh eating and canning. A pear tree’s growth is quite handsome and would be a welcome addition to any landscape. Where to Plant Pears Pears prefer well-drained sandy loam soil but can grow in a variety of soil types with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Plant in full sun and avoid frost pockets; pears can be damaged by unseasonable frosts. Give them plenty of room in the landscape—pear trees can grow to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Garden locations with good air circulation will lessen the occurrence of disease organisms and reduce cold damage. For varieties that require cross-pollination, plant no more than 30 feet apart. With a few exceptions, fruiting pear trees are best suited for North Florida gardens. How to Plant Pears Most pear varieties are grown as containerized nursery plants and can be planted any time. Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball, and place the plant in the hole. Alternating soil and water, backfill the hole with the native soil making sure that the top of the root ball is 1 inch above the native soil line. Create a basin with the remaining soil, and water three times a week for the first month, tapering off watering as the plant becomes established. Place a 3-inch layer of mulch around the bottom of the pear tree in a 3-foot diameter to moderate soil temperatures. Care and Maintenance for Pears Provided the trees were placed in locations conducive to good growth—good loamy soil, proper pH, and an area with good air circulation—pear trees are virtually trouble free. Established pear trees require 1 inch of water each week. Leaf spot diseases can be prevented by periodically spraying copper fungicides during the warm summer months. Other insects, including cotton cushion scale and mealybugs, can be a problem; applications of insecticidal soap or Neem oil will control them. As a preventative, spray the tree trunk, branches, and stems thoroughly with ultrafine horticultural oil in mid- to late winter to reduce summer infestations. A balanced fertilizer (6-6-6, 8-8-8, or similar mixture) is recommended. About 1 pound for each year of the tree’s age is usually sufficient until a maximum of 10 pounds is reached. This should be applied in two applications, during dormancy (January) and at the beginning of the rainy season (June). The fertilizer should be broadcast under the trees. Additional Information about Pears Good soft pear varieties for North Florida include: ‘Floridahome’ ‘Baldwin’ (eating and canning) ‘Hood’ (yellow fruit, good for fresh eating) ‘Tenns’ (fresh eating) Hard varieties include: ‘Carnes’ (fresh eating, also called “apple pear”) ‘Orient’ (very large, best for cooking) the old-time favorite ‘Pineapple’ (best cooking pear, very prolific) ————————————————- Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: About Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening: Plant, grow, and harvest the best edibles for your garden! Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening is an easy-to-use guide to growing edibles in the Sunshine State. Full-color images illustrate the more than 25 fruits and berries featured, and there are also more than 35 recommendations for the best vegetables to grow in this sometimes challenging climate. Helpful growing tips, icons, charts, and maps assist gardeners in planting the right edibles for their exact Florida location. This is the perfect book for longtime Florida gardeners as well as newcomers to the state with its enviable twelve-month growing season. This updated edition of the original Guide to Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening (Cool Springs Press, 2010) includes new specimens and cultivars as well as updated information on the outbreak of citrus greening disease that has ravaged orange groves throughout the state, with recommendations on safe practices gardeners should follow. Make your garden healthy and happy with tips from expert gardener and horticulturalist Robert Bowden. About the Author: Expert gardener and horticulturalist Robert Bowden is the executive director of Orlando’s beautiful Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens. He is a frequent guest on local and national television shows for gardeners. He travels extensively in the United States and Caribbean talking about growing vegetables, perennials, tropical and sub-tropical plants, and flowering vines, trees and shrubs. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.