What Could Have Eaten the Pears on My Tree?

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Both commercial and amateur gardeners grow common pear trees (Pyrus communis). Mature pear trees, prized for both ornamental value and tasty fruit, produce fruit every year, but the harvest doesn't always make it to the table. Gardeners may experience problems with pests and animals eating pears right off the tree. Identify the problem to find the right way to treat it.

Pests

  • Codling moth damages apples and pears. Adult moths lay eggs on the foliage of the tree in spring. The eggs hatch and begin eating leaves before moving on to the fruit, eating away at pears and burrowing inside them. More coding moth eggs hatch in summer after being laid right on the fruits themselves. Use insecticide to control coding moth populations and protect pear fruits from their ravenous effects.

Deer

  • Whitetail deer are particularly drawn to soft pear fruits, and will eat them right out of the garden if they have access. Deer of all ages will eat the fruits, which are a sweet supplement to their regular fodder. The Pyrus communis "Kieffer" and Pyrus communis "James" cultivars are particularly attractive to whitetail deer. Hunters attempting to attract deer to a certain region may even plant pear trees to draw the animals to the same area over and over again.

Rodents

  • Rodents will also eat pear fruits when they have the opportunity. Voles, known for eating apples, will also feed on pear trees if they have access. Rodents commonly gnaw away at the bark and roots around the base of the tree; chewed-up bark in these areas is a strong indication that your tree is drawing rodents. Squirrels, rabbits and many outdoor creatures will eat the fruit, foliage and bark of pear trees if given the opportunity. Rodent damage weakens trees, which may stunt fruit growth or even cause death of the tree itself.

Protection

  • Prevent pears from being eaten by protecting them from insects and animals. Preventative pesticide treatments protect trees against pear-eating insects. Erect fences and deer guards to keep whitetails and other members of the deer family away from your property. To prevent rodent damage, eliminate all grass around fruit trees and lay down a 1-inch layer of mulch to discourage rodent movements. Thin metal guards may also be wrapped around the base of pear trees to prevent rodents from eating away at bark.

References

  • Photo Credit PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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