They both produce white flowers, green fruits and have egg-shaped leaves. They occur throughout the U.S., producing flavorful fruits in autumn. Although the apple and pear trees have much in common, several traits distinguish one from the other.
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Apple trees tend to have rounded tops, while strong, upward-pointing branches give pear trees an elongated silhouette. Apple trees have hairy leaves and stems, while pear trees have hairless, although they may have thorns, according to George A. Petrides, author of the field guide "Eastern Trees."
Although some varieties of apples and pears are the same color, the similarities between the fruits end there. Apple trees produce round fruits with crisp flesh. Pear trees produce elongated fruits shaped like tear drops that have soft, slightly gritty fruits.
Apple and pear trees receive similar care. However, pears are slightly less tolerant of cold weather, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Some apple varieties will self-pollinate, although they won't set large amounts of fruit unless cross-pollinated. Most pear trees require cross-pollination.