Few fruits can compare with that of a freshly tree-ripened pear. A small home orchard that includes pear trees is a productive addition to any garden. Consider orientation, site location and the time of year when deciding when to plant a pear tree. Proper planting and care are all part of growing a healthy pear tree.
The area should be a well-drained site for soil and air. Heavy clays can impede the roots' growth and harbor diseases prevailing in older soil. Air drainage is another consideration. Late spring frosts can damage new blossom growth, as many varieties of pears will attempt to bloom at the first signs of warm weather in spring. Avoid a southern hill exposure for this very reason. Most pear trees will need some form of cross-pollination from other pear trees. Make sure to provide adequate spacing depending on the type of pear being grown. In other words, if the pear is a full-sized tree, leave a space of at least 20 feet between each tree. A dwarf-type tree requires only 6 to 8 feet.
Late Fall Planting
Some varieties of pears can be susceptible to disease and insects. Late fall planting is highly recommended for most fruit tree plantings. This time of year allows the tree roots to gain an excellent foothold into the new soil conditions provided the hole is large enough. A good rule of thumb is to dig a $50 hole for a $20 tree. The meaning behind this phrase is that the hole should be 2 ½ times the diameter of the root ball of the tree. The minimum size for a hole for pear trees should be 24 to 30 inches both diameter and depth. The hole should then be filled with a good quality compost and topsoil.
Water and Support
After the fall planting, keep the tree well watered throughout the winter with a minimum of 2 inches of moisture per week. Severe winter weather areas may require some type of upper tree support, so heavy snowfall or ice won't damage the tree. Generally this is only required for the first winter. The lower trunk should also be protected from rodents by installing a spiral trunk protector. This piece of plastic, along with the upper supports, can be removed when the first signs of green growth occur in the spring.
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