by Jennifer Poindexter
Do you like the idea of growing your own fruit? When I first began preserving my own food, the thought of growing fruit trees came to mind. I purchased fruit in bulk for canning, but it wasn’t long until I took the plunge towards adding fruit trees to my property.
What I love about this idea is that you can add fruit trees almost anywhere. Whether you live in a subdivision, in a rural location, or even an apartment, they can be a part of your landscape. Fruit trees do well in containers, are great for edible landscaping, or can be planted within an orchard.
My favorite fruit tree to grow is a pear. I started growing them ten years ago on a smaller plot of land. We moved, almost four years ago, to a larger farm where I also planted more pear trees. I’m going to share the tips I’ve learned, over the past decade, on raising pears. If you’d like to grow your own pear trees, here are my top tips for producing them in your yard or patio garden.
1. Which Size Tree is Right for You?
As with most fruit trees, the pear tree can be purchased in either a standard size or a dwarf size. In most cases, it would be best to plant a dwarf pear variety.
Standard sized pear trees can grow to be as tall as forty feet. Dwarf size pears typically reach ten feet in height.
If you have a smaller yard, or are growing a pear tree in a container, dwarf would be your best bet. If you live where you have plenty of room, you might be able to accommodate a standard size pear tree. This will all boil down to your personal circumstances.
2. Purchase the Right Version
You can grow fruit trees from a seed, like most other plants. However, most people would recommend purchasing a young pear tree from a nursery.
Planting, at this stage, can save time. The goal is to begin harvesting from the tree, so anything which can speed up the process is a win.
When planting a young tree, be sure you dig a hole larger than the root system. Place the tree in the hole, fill it halfway with water, pull the dirt around the base of the tree, and water it again.
Once complete, your tree is ready to start settling in and forming roots in your yard or container.
3. Find the Right Location for Your Pear Tree
You now understand how to plant a pear tree and how to select the appropriate tree type based upon space and time constraints.
Before we move on, it’s important to consider where you should plant your pear tree. Think this through because when your pear tree is planted, this is where it will remain for years to come.
If you have an area in your yard, which receives six to eight hours of sunlight, this would be the ideal space for a pear tree. They love full sun.
However, if you’re planting your pear tree in a container, you can move the planter around to accommodate the tree’s lighting needs.
You can also grow your tree inside a greenhouse. The possibilities are endless when growing pears in a container garden.
4. Consider Spacing Between Pear Trees
If you’re growing multiple pear trees, it’s important to consider proper spacing. Our current home had an established orchard prior to us living here.
Unfortunately, the spacing isn’t quite right which has caused problems over the years. It’s easier to plant an orchard correctly than fix all the problems when plants are spaced inappropriately.
Therefore, ensure you give a standard size pear tree twenty-five feet of space between plants. Dwarf pear trees require fifteen feet of space between plants.
5. Stake It Up
Depending upon the size of your tree, you may need to add a stake to support it. When trees are relatively small, the wind can be hard on them.
Therefore, place a large stick at a 45-degree angle between the tree and the ground. Attach one end to the tree. The other end should be driven into the ground to stabilize the plant.
This will provide support to the tree in the event of a large storm or for extremely windy days.
6. Mulch is Your Friend
Some people love mulch while other people aren’t a huge fan. I understand that mulching your plants is one more thing on your to-do list.
However, mulching around your tree helps to keep weeds down and moisture in around the plant. This stops the plant from having to compete for nutrients.
Yet, it also ensures the pear tree will have the moisture necessary to become established and form a strong root system.
In short, don’t skip the mulch. Instead, mound it around the base of the tree. It will also serve as nutrients to the pear tree as it composts.
7. Fertilize Your Tree. . .Carefully
Some fruit trees require frequent fertilization. Thankfully, a pear tree isn’t one of them. Instead, you can apply fertilizer one time per year.
However, if your tree begins losing color in its foliage, it may need another feeding. Much of this depends upon the quality of soil where the tree is planted.
If your tree grows more than one foot in a year, you’re adding too much fertilizer and should back down on the feedings.
8. Don’t Overwork It
Many people love pear trees because of how low-maintenance they are. As I said earlier, many fruit trees require constant feeding, and they also have many pests and diseases which can cause trouble.
Pear trees aren’t like this. Instead, in most cases, they are pest and disease resistant. Once the plants are established, they don’t require a great deal of attention aside from harvesting.
It’s wise to harvest your fruit in a timely manner. Otherwise, the fruit will fall from the tree and rot. When fruit is left on the ground, it can attract pests which could invite more pests and diseases to your plant.
9. Supply the Proper Growing Conditions and Care
The final tip for caring for pear trees is to provide proper growing conditions and adequate care. Pear trees should be planted in well-draining soil that has been amended.
This soil is where the plant will pull much of what it needs. Therefore, you want to ensure it has everything it needs to thrive.
You also may need to prune your pear trees once per year. It’s recommended to remove any dead or damaged branches. You should also prune to shape your tree.
Pear trees are one of the easiest you can add to an orchard. They’re versatile because they can be grown using a variety of gardening methods.
However, no matter where you grow them, they require very little from their gardener once they’re planted and established.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to begin producing fruit around your home. Whether you have a large yard, or only a container, a pear tree could be a wonderful addition.