[NAFEX] Low-chill, blight resistant pears?

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Tue May 3 12:20:10 EDT 2005

Some of the reports I've heard from folks in the southern tier of states, 
with regard to Warren, is that it is such a vigorous grower on pear 
rootstock, that it takes forever to come into bearing .
Several years ago, I bought a bundle of P.communis seedlings to use as 
rootstocks, and have subsequently discovered that most, if not all of them, 
were actually apple seedlings(OK, I didn't consider that possibility when I 
planted them, and really didn't suspect anything until they started 
suckering). Warren & Luscious are growing vigorously - but they may also be 
on the two rootstocks that actually WERE pears.  Magness & Ayers grew well 
on apple for the first year or two, but have been declining for the last 
3-4 years.  I'm leaving them alone just to see how long they'll last.
I moved a couple of Warren scions over to cockspur hawthorn(C.crus-galli) 
rootstocks this spring to see how they'll do on them.

Another one you might consider is 'Ledbetter', described in a POMONA 
article several years back by Dr. David Griffith:
"The Ledbetter pear tree is almost immune to fireblight and leaf spot, is a 
strong-growing, globe-shaped tree, is self-pruning, blooms rather late, and 
is a fairly regular producer. The fruit is medium to large size, round, 
with an even russett skin.Lopsided fruit is uncommon. In my opinion the 
flavor is good but not outstanding. The texture is too coarse for most 
markets, having stone cells that are large but soft, so that they crunch 
when chewed (a bit like Grape-nuts). The fruit ripens in mid-August in 
mid-Alabama, ready to be eaten fresh from the tree or to be cooked, canned, 
or made into Southern-style crunchy-chewy preserves. "

Dr. Griffith sent me some Ledbetter pears a couple of years back, and I 
really liked them - very similar, in most respects, to an Asian pear - 
round, russetted, crisp/crunchy/juicy pear with good flavor.  I have grafts 
of this variety growing - from scions sent by Dr. Griffith, as well as from 
what I think is the old Ledbetter pear tree in the Dr. Alex Nunn orchard, 
at Loachapoka, AL.

Lucky Pittman
USDA Cold Zone 6
AHS Heat Zone 7
Hopkinsville, KY 

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