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Botanical name: Pyrus

Plant type: Fruit

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Sandy, Loamy

Bloom time: Summer, Fall

Pears are a delicious treat that can be grown in a wide range of soils. Pear trees are also easy to make fit in small yard spaces, making them a good choice for gardeners who crave fresh fruit.


  • 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 because they need to be cross-pollinated to produce fruit. Make sure the varieties are compatible with each other.
  • Plant in any fertile, well-drained soil in full sun in a place with good air circulation in the winter or early spring.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Prune your trees regularly, generally lightly. 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.



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

Recommended Varieties

  • 'Bartlett', which is the standard choice for pear trees. This tree type is average-size and produces medium to large fruits. These pears ripen to a yellow color. However, it is very vulnerable to fire blight.
  • 'Kieffer', which is resistant to fire blight. This type produces medium fruit and can be used in canning.
  • 'Anjou', which produces light-green fruit with a sweet flavor. This type is a good choice for late-blooming pears. Good for canning and fresh use. This type can store for up to 6 months with little loss in quality.


Wit & Wisdom

Pick pears when the fruit has a faint yellow blush but is still green.

Drop peeled pears in cold, lightly salted water, and they won't turn brown.


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I have a question regarding

By BJ Caudle on August 18

I have a question regarding the fruit on my "cooking" pear trees. This year, there were 1,000's of pears on the trees and the next week they were all gone. I checked for critter tracks, no deer tracks, no coon tracks, nothing to indicate if the wildlife is stealing the pears. Is there a reason for this?? If so, what?

Oh, I live in Fosters, AL (outside of Tuscaloosa).

Thank you,

BJ Caudle

We suspect that raccoons

By Almanac Staff on August 19

We suspect that raccoons and/or squirrels got your pears. Raccoons are known to strip a pear tree and leave no trace. They always get the pears just before they are fully ripe.

I have two Parkers and a

By Tawnya

I have two Parkers and a Gourmet, which I know to be pollen sterile. Can the Parkers self-pollinate enough to produce fruit or do I need a third variety? I understand that Parker and Patten can "do their own thing" to some extent. If they need a third variety, which is recommended for zone 3-4?

Parker pears are reputed to

By Almanac Staff

Parker pears are reputed to produce some fruit without a second variety for cross-pollination. For best results, however, another variety would be helpful. As you said, Gourmet is sterile so it can not be used as a pollinator. So, you'd need to select a third variety that has an overlapping bloom time. Parker is a midseason pear, so look for other midseason varieties. We like Summercrisp pears. Other varieties include Bartlett, Maxine, and Seckel.

I just bought a house and it

By Tiffany Mo.

I just bought a house and it has what we believe to be is a small pear tree. How can I tell what kind it is and if it is edible. It currently has fruit all over it but nothing too big yet. About 3 to four inches long. And I did not happen to see any other pear trees around it.

It would help to know where

By Almanac Staff

It would help to know where you live. There are so many pear varieties. As a best next step, we would suggest you contact your local county extension and provide a sample for I.D. 

I am renting a house and have

By Billie B

I am renting a house and have an unknown pear tree in the back yard that has over 2 dozen fruit developing on it. I am in California and we are in the middle of a drought so I have been watering it twice a week. I was looking at the tree yesterday and a couple of the fruit looks like they are shriveling up. Any ideas as to why they are shriveling up and what I can do to prevent this? My tree produces very good fruit and I would hate to lose them.

It might possibly be due to

By Almanac Staff

It might possibly be due to an insect or disease, such as the pear midge. Check one of the shriveled pears and see if there are larvae inside. For more information about pear midge, see:
For what and when to monitor for in California re: pears:
For more about pear insects and diseases:

What area in the united

By Seth Anquoe

What area in the united states will pears grow in?

The areas you ask about are

By Almanac Staff

The areas you ask about are the zones, listed at the top of this page.
Click here to see the USDA Hardiness Zone Map: http://www.almanac.com/image/usda-hardiness-zone-map
Find where you live. Note the color. Check the color rank on the right to see which zone is your color. Then look above at the list of zones to see if yours is there. If it is, you can grow peaches in it.

I was given a 3ft. pear tree

By Curtis Burgess

I was given a 3ft. pear tree that was in a pot. This is my 1st time ever trying to grow 1. Do I need another pear tree for pollination even if we have a lot of bees in my area? I'm in Saginaw, Michigan. Thank you

yes! no matter how many bees,

By sandra cundiff

yes! no matter how many bees, you need 2 trees.

Hi! I wanted to know if it is

By Bri

Hi! I wanted to know if it is safe to pland a pear sapling in Southern New York in the beginning of May? If so, how tall do they grow and how much room do they need to grow?

I read Bartlett is vulnerable

By Carlos209

I read Bartlett is vulnerable to fire blight.is anjou a better tree to plant? I just want the flowers and shade from the tree.

Hi, Carlos: There are some

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Carlos: There are some who say that Anjou tolerates fire blight better than Bartlett does, but still they are both equally susceptible to it. You might consider some other type of hardier flowering tree. Then again, we love pear trees, too, so we know where you're coming from! Good luck!

I want to grow a paw paw tree

By nettie wilson

I want to grow a paw paw tree in Kansas. I want to choose the best variety for my area. Any suggestions.

Hi Nettie, Many folks rave

By Almanac Staff

Hi Nettie, Many folks rave about Peterson's Pawpaws: http://www.petersonpawpaws.com/
You may also find this page about planting Pawpaws interesting: http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/ppg.htm

my Anjou is not supposed to

By rivkah

my Anjou is not supposed to be a self-pollinator, but this [5th] year [late March] I have one branch of blooms. IF I do happen to get pears this year, do I still need another tree. (Maybe someone near my home has a tree or did I cross pollinate with an ornamental Bradford pear?)

You can wait and see if the

By Almanac Staff

You can wait and see if the blossoms get pollinated and if you get fruit. If you don't get pears this year then we suggest that you get another pear tree for cross-pollination.

I have a Moonglow. Will a

By Jon Stefka

I have a Moonglow. Will a Kieffer or Ayers be a good match for cross-pollination?

Most pear varieties will

By Almanac Staff

Most pear varieties will cross-pollinate each other, except for Bartlett and Seckel. Just make sure you choose a pear tree that does well in your growing zone. Keiffer is self-fruitful and does not need a pollinator.

I am from India,Iwant to

By Birari Rajesh P.

I am from India,Iwant to plant pear,but which variety of the pear is suitable to here. Also tell me about market condition , rate per Kg.If possible send detail about it

Can I plant a pear tree near

By VĂ¢nia Lima

Can I plant a pear tree near the house? Are their roots invasive?

Plant fruit trees a minimum

By Almanac Staff

Plant fruit trees a minimum of 4 to 5 feet from your house, ideally 8 to 10 feet away.

I have a Bartlett pear tree

By Bjorn

I have a Bartlett pear tree that was pretty much established when I purchased the property. I attempted to trim the tree when it was already 15' tall and it resulted in a year of little fruit. The tree has since recovered but is darn close to 20' tall. It bears a lot of fruit which is almost impossible to get to. Any suggestions?

The optimum height for a

By Almanac Staff

The optimum height for a standard pear tree is about 15 feet. Cut the central leader and the tallest side branches back every 2 to 3 years. Also thin out excessive branches. Remove any water sprouts and dead or crossing branches when needed.

wanted help in growing pear

By russ peck jr

wanted help in growing pear trees???? got two & 3yrs years no fruit

I have a pear tree that is

By LLouise

I have a pear tree that is about 17 years old and finally put forth a decent crop. I'm wondering what caused the cracks in many of them. Also, I get scabby exteriors but the inside of the fruit is fine.

Your pears may be cracking

By Almanac Staff

Your pears may be cracking from too much rain or water. Or, you may have pear scab, a fungus. If this is the case it is important to clean up all leaf debris in the fall and spray with an organic fungicide in early spring when the first leaf tips appear.

Hi all, we're in an apartment

By Rachel M.

Hi all, we're in an apartment with a lot of light, and I'm now growing 4 anjou pear tree plants from seeds taken from store fruit we enjoyed. They're all still small, but appear to be doing well. Do I need to have other pear varieties like bartlett or kiefer in order for these plants, once they develop in mature trees, to develop fruit? Also, can they be continuously maintained in apartments, also bearing fruit? If so, do you just keep clipping the top? Thanks in advance for any advice for this newbie "indoor gardener!"

About a month ago I got what

By wyatt komrosky

About a month ago I got what the tag said was a Gourmet Pear tree about a month later the leaves are turning reddish. The nurery looked at the leaves and said I need to fertilize with spikes. I was just wondering if I got the wrong tree and will it bear fruit.

You probably have a Gourmet

By Almanac Staff

You probably have a Gourmet pear tree and if it doesn't have small fruit by now you are not going to get any fruit this year.
Fertilize the tree and see if that will help. Red leaves can also be a sign of fire blight or crown rot.

My pear tree has very little

By Blue Sky

My pear tree has very little fruit.

How do I keep birds off my

By Blue Sky

How do I keep birds off my pear tree?

I use old computer disks. The

By Kriss

I use old computer disks. The ones with a shiny side. Tie them to the tree branches so they swing freely. They spin around in the breeze and the bright flashes scare the birds.

My husband bought me a pear

By yoyo

My husband bought me a pear tree. Two years now and no blooms. It has big long thorns. What kind of pear tree is this?

I planted pear trees last

By Stephanie Man

I planted pear trees last fall. They are doing great so far! The nursery said they were probably a few years old already so my question is am I supposed to pick the blooms off? I read somewhere that I should not let my trees produce fruit for a few years so the riits will be stronger. I cant find the information now though.

Thank you !

You'll want to thin the pears

By Almanac Staff

You'll want to thin the pears within the first month after bloom occurs, when the fruits are still marble-sized. End up with 8 inches between each fruit. Leave more fruit on the outer portion of the tree. You need to force yourself to thin or a young tree will be overburdened with the weight of the fruit and you'll risk having branches break.
With pears, you want to harvest before they are ripe. Do not let them ripen on the tree or it will affect the taste.  They should be firm and swollen, with a subtle color change to their skin.

We bought a house that has

By Vickie pence

We bought a house that has two pear trees that have not been cared for in at least 10 years. They are severely overgrown, have volunterers all around the bases, but produce fruit, although very small. One is wrapped in two or three vines of poison ivy/oak that wind throughout the branches as far up as you can see. How should I begin gaining control? Or are they hopeless?

Getting rid of poison ivy

By Almanac Staff

Getting rid of poison ivy entwined in a tree is no easy task. Here's a page with tips:

As far as the pear tree goes, it's easy to renovate an old pear tree as long as it seems structurally sound enough to carry fruit. Here are tips on pruning old fruit trees: http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/fphg/pome/pruning/pruning-a-sp...

How do I keep squarrels from

By Risa Mccraw

How do I keep squarrels from eating my pears

Keeping squirrels out of

By Almanac Staff

Keeping squirrels out of fruit trees is almost impossible. You can protect the crop of the pear trees with bird netting.
To keep them from gnawing through the netting, one idea is to leave a tree "for the squirrels" to provide alternative food.

a local nursery sold me two

By holly traynor

a local nursery sold me two pear trees probably 8 years ago. I got 2pears off the parker pear tree. In southern mn. The other tree is a luscious pear tree. They said these two trees would work together, but, no pears. The parker needs a late midseason mate...the luscious is not to be used as a pollinator. Really??? I never bothered to look at the tags till today..good thing I kept them. What can I do to correct this and what should I plant this SPRING?

How and when does one plant

By sam malloy

How and when does one plant from whole fruit? The whole fruit I have are not commercially produced and have never been enhanced or altered through chemical or bio means. I'd really like to propogate these guys!

Pear trees are not grown from

By Almanac Staff

Pear trees are not grown from their own seeds and roots. They are propagated from grafting. Read more on this page from the Penn State cooperative extension:

I have a unknown pear tree in

By clare p

I have a unknown pear tree in my garden and was wondering when I should pick them, they look like they are grown but when is best time of year to pick them also can you blanch them and freeze pears please

Harvest pears when they are

By Almanac Staff

Harvest pears when they are firm and swollen. You don't want them to be ripe and soft. We would suggest that you just taste them to see if are sweet and firm.
Yes, freezing pears is a great way to keep them longer! Make sure you pick them when they are quite firm and not too ripe. Here are some nice instructions on freezing pears: http://www.pickyourown.org/freezing_pears.htm

I have a pear tree that is

By B.Daniels

I have a pear tree that is about 6 years old. This is the first year it has ever bloomed. It is full of fruit that never grew larger than a marble. It is harvest time and all of the pears are still tiny. Any idea why?

We have an ornamental pear

By Carrie C

We have an ornamental pear tree. The fruit on this tree is not edible and is about the size you are describing. Are you sure you have a fruiting pear tree and not one for landscape beauty?

Most likely, undeveloped

By Almanac Staff

Most likely, undeveloped fruit is due to lack of pollination from a shortage of bees.

The pear tree is near two

By B.Daniels

The pear tree is near two thriving honey bee hives.

If it's not a pollination

By Almanac Staff

If it's not a pollination problem then maybe you have too many pears on your tree. Excessive fruit compete with each other and remain small. Pears produce a cluster of flowers and fruit from each bud. When fruit starts to develop thin to about 1 fruit per bud and about 6 inches between fruit. Your tree will also benefit from some pruning in late winter.

hello, i just bought my first

By @nn@christine


i just bought my first home this winter which came with an ENORMOUS pear tree. i am trying to get advice for the care of such a mature tree... most of the research i have done is geared toward newer trees. the lowest branches we can barely reach on ladders. how do i know that the fruit is ok to eat? should i be spraying something on them or caring for them in some way?

Any pear tree knowledge would be much appreciated!

You do not have to spray your

By nettie wilson

You do not have to spray your trees. If they have not been sprayed the fruit is fine to eat. Pears will usually ripen off the tree stored in a cool place and newspapers over them. Although I had one variety that was at our home that did not ripen off the tree. If you could time it right they were very good to eat fresh or dried they are awesome. We finally gave up on this tree because we could not process them at the exact moment and then I just had a mess of pears laying on the ground attracting wasps. We cut it down. We picked our next variety and they are still to young to bear fruit. Canned pears are awesome too.

Here are a few thoughts to

By Almanac Staff

Here are a few thoughts to get you started:
First of all, an overgrown older pear tree can be renovated with selective pruning. Here is a good fact sheet on pruning a mature pear tree: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1150.html
Also, you need to test your soil to make sure the soil continues to be fertile; sometimes nitrogen needs to be added on an annual basis. Contact your local county Extension office for a free (or low-cost) soil testing kit.
When the tree starts to develop small fruits, you'll want to thin the pears so that they don't weight down the tree (and cause broken limbs or damage). We think to one fruit per cluster or eight inches between fruits on any branch. This will improve your harvest and size.
Finally, you'll need to implement a pest management program. Pear trees need pesticide applications at different points during the season. Also, keep the area near your pear tree free from debris; promptly remove fallen fruit and leaves.
As a next step, we recommend that you contact your local cooperative extension as pesticide programs vary state-to-state and are often changing.

My pear trees are covered in

By ray heffler

My pear trees are covered in flowers in the spring but few if any pears. Any that do form are small and deformed. The trees are about 15 years old and from root stock. Help, I really don't want to cut them down but if their not going to produce....

The most common reason for

By Almanac Staff

The most common reason for flowering pear trees to have fruit failure is lack of pollinating. Pears need pollinators, i.e. bees. Do you see lots of bees around the flowers?

I am wondering if a Pear tree

By Melissa Small

I am wondering if a Pear tree can be grown in a pot and produce fruit/be healthy. I am in Zone 5b-6a.


Melissa Small

Hi, Melissa, We haven't grow

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Melissa, We haven't grow pears in containers. Because there are no truly dwarfing rootstocks for pears, pear trees can be large. Well-pruned mature trees are 18 feet to 20 feet tall. They seem best suited for the ground. You could check with your state cooperative extension, however, to get better local advice! Here is a nice chart fruit that can grow well in containers: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg243

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