A Comprehensive Guide to 20 Varieties of Pear Trees: Planting, Growing, and Caring for Your Own Orchard

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Pear Tree identification chart

If you’re considering adding fruit trees to your backyard oasis, why not start with the versatile and delightful pear tree? With over 3,000 varieties to choose from, pear trees offer a range of flavors, colors, and sizes to suit every taste and garden. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of pear trees, learn how to identify them, and discover valuable tips for successfully planting, growing, and caring for your own pear tree orchard.

The Fascinating World of Pear Trees

A Unique and Delicious Fruit

Did you know that pear trees belong to the pome fruit group, just like apple trees? This ancient fruit is even older than the apple itself! What sets pears apart is their delicious fleshy fruit, filled with a minimum of five seeds. When it comes to ripening, pears require a little extra attention. Unlike many other fruit trees, pears don’t fall ripe to the ground. To enjoy them at their peak, it’s essential to pick pears before they become a mushy mess.

Pear Tree Facts

Here are some fascinating pear tree facts that highlight the beauty and charm of this deciduous tree:

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Pear Tree Leaves

In spring and summer, pear tree leaves showcase their glossy green beauty. As autumn arrives, these leaves transform into shades of red or yellow, depending on the variety. During the winter months, pear trees shed their leaves, displaying their bare, elegant branches.

Pear Tree Flower

The pear tree’s flower is a true marvel. Usually white in color, it is considered a hermaphrodite plant, meaning it possesses both male and female plant organs on each flower. But here’s an interesting fact: hermaphrodite pear trees require cross-pollination to bear fruit successfully.

Flowering Pear Tree and Pear Tree Blossom

When spring arrives, flowering pear trees and their delicate blossoms steal the spotlight. These blossoms are so enchanting that they can often be confused with cherry blossom trees. Fun fact: the larger pear tree blossom only produces tiny fruits, which are usually consumed by birds due to their bitterness.

Pear Tree Seeds

Cutting open a pear reveals its inner beauty. Inside, you’ll find five valves, each containing small black seeds. The number of seeds can vary, but each valve can hold up to five seeds.

Pear Tree Symbolism

Symbolically, pear trees evoke femininity, abundance, and the joys of parenthood. They are also associated with longevity and good health.

Identifying Pear Trees: A Closer Look

Pear Tree Varieties

Two desirable pear tree varieties are the Pyrus communis and Pyrus pyrifolia. These trees belong to the Rosaceae family and are easily identifiable even before their pears fully ripen in the fall. During spring, their shiny green oval leaves and clusters of white flowers make them a seasonal favorite. After being in the ground for at least three years, their distinctive fruits become even more recognizable.

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Identifying Pear Tree Varieties

So, how do you identify different species of pear trees? The Pyrus communis, known for its teardrop shape, is a classic example. On the other hand, the Pyrus pyrifolia, also called the Apple Pear due to its apple-like appearance, hails from China and Japan.

The Bradford Pear Tree: A Cautionary Tale

Once hailed as a hero, the Bradford Pear Tree, also known as the Callery Pear Tree, has fallen from grace. Though a popular ornamental tree in the past, it has become invasive in many regions. The Callery Pear Tree, with its rapid growth, cross-pollinates easily with other species, leading to potentially uncontrollable proliferation. Due to its lack of biodiversity, several states have banned the Bradford Pear Tree to protect local ecosystems.

Alternatives to Bradford Pear Trees

While the Bradford Pear Tree may no longer be a viable option, there are plenty of alternatives to consider for your backyard. Explore these types of pear trees to find the best fit for your space:

Sizes of Pear Trees: Dwarf vs. Standard

Pear trees can grow as tall as 50 feet, with beautiful canopies spreading up to 30 feet wide. However, if you prefer smaller-sized trees, dwarf and semi-dwarf pear tree varieties might be the perfect choice. Dwarf pear trees typically reach a maximum height of 10 feet, while semi-dwarf varieties can grow up to 15 feet. Standard pear trees, as the name suggests, are larger, reaching heights over 15 feet.

20 Pear Tree Types for Your Home Backyard

Among the vast array of pear tree types, let’s explore some of the most popular varieties that can transform your backyard into a pear paradise. One standout is the European Pear, commonly known as the Common Pear. This versatile variety, originating from France, is also grafted with pears from China and Japan, adding unique flavors to the mix. Here are twenty pear tree types to consider:

  1. Bartlett Pear
  2. Anjou Pear
  3. Bosc Pear
  4. Comice Pear
  5. Seckel Pear
  6. Conference Pear
  7. Forelle Pear
  8. Starkrimson Pear
  9. Red Anjou Pear
  10. Concorde Pear
  11. Packham’s Triumph Pear
  12. Clapps Favorite Pear
  13. Moonglow Pear
  14. Abate Fetel Pear
  15. Williams Pear
  16. Beurre Hardy Pear
  17. Winter Nellis Pear
  18. Beurre Bosc Pear
  19. Onward Pear
  20. Gourmet Pear
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By exploring these pear tree types and understanding their unique characteristics, you can create a delightful and fruitful backyard oasis that will fill your taste buds with joy for many years to come.

Remember, before making any purchasing decisions, it’s always a good idea to consult with your local nursery or college extension for expert advice. To get started right away, visit Ames Farm Center to find a wide selection of pear tree varieties and embark on your journey to create your very own pear tree haven. Happy planting!