[NAFEX] pears & fireblight

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Mon Apr 5 10:50:19 EDT 2004

Commercially viable - maybe not, but certainly for a small home planting, 
there's no way I'd omit pears.  Fireblight can be a problem, but it's not 
insurmountable - and I've seen some apple varieties in my orchard that are 
more susceptible to FB than many of my European or Asian pears.  At least 
in my orchard, the likelihood of pears bearing good quality fruits is much 
greater than for apples or peaches.

Dr. Natelson gave a good overview of Southern pears that should work for you.
Keiffer, which folks seem to either love or impugn as inedible, also seems 
to tolerate fireblight well - it's not immune, but it takes a licking and 
keeps on ticking, as the old Timex commercials used to say - I see lots of 
old pears hanging on around old homeplaces, with varying amounts of 
fireblight damage evident, but they keep on producing loads of fruit - and 
most of these are quite likely Keiffer pears.  I like it, because it's 
dependable - and, it's the pear I grew up eating, so it's what I expect a 
pear to be - firm, crunchy, juicy, flavorful, and gritty.
Dr. David Griffith, at Dadeville, AL has preserved a number of good old 
Southern pears in his orchard, including the Ledbetter, which is very 
fireblight resistant(I don't think you could prounounce any as being 
totally immune), and produces a high quality fruit.
Follow this link to the most recent NAFEX Southern Pear Interest Group 
Newsletter - and you might consider contacting Travis Callahan to subscribe 
to the S-PIG, so you can receive updates/newsletters, as they're released.

Lucky Pittman
USDA Zone 6
Hopkinsville, KY

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