[NAFEX] looking for Mericourt and other pears

Anton Callaway marillen at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 23 09:33:48 EST 2007


Donna,

Comments in no particular order:

Some pears that have done well for me in N. GA & N. Carolina include Potomac, Green Jade (re-marketed as 'Crisp n'Sweet'), Warren, Magness, Spalding (though Spalding is only mediocre for fresh eating) & Ayres.  Although Spalding has been almost completely blight-free for me, Ethan Natelson reports that it blights pretty bad in the Houston area (perhaps the only part of the country that gets more blight than here).

Eldorado (my latest pear) is more blight susceptible, but to a level that was controllable with pruning.

Dabney is so far so good, with the exception that it gets some of that fungal leaf disease (not Fabrea) that is peculiar to Seckel and it's offspring (including Honeysweet).

Another Asian hybrid that was sold to me as 'Waite', but clearly isn't is also significantly better than Kieffer and very blight resistant.  Until I find out what it really is, I call it 'Miss Label'.

Megietsu is a good quality Asian, but gets blight pretty bad.

Ya Li did well, but the squirrels never let me have any fruit.  They did the same with Honeysweet, but Honeysweet gets the non-Fabrea leaf spot quite badly.  One of the 3 trees also died from blight.

The list of those too blight susceptible, poor quality or haven't  fruited yet is much longer, but a few notables...

'June Sugar' must only have "sugar" in its name because it is so dry.  Inedible.
'Mericourt' has been a perennial challenge for me.  I also was attracted to it for years.  Grootendorst sold it, but only on quince (it is not compatible).  I managed to force some growth on the quince to get a scion to put on a calleryana, but a wind storm blew down the tree just before it blossomed.  Finally another tree on OHxF 333 fruited this year, but it ripened while we were on vacation, so I didn't get to try it.  So I can only comment on the tree health.  It is not the most healthy tree and gets some leaf spot, but no sign of blight- ever.

I noticed a recommendation for the Harrow series.  My experience is limited to 2 of this series, but it makes me more cautious of the lot.  'Harrow Delight' is perhaps the best quality early pear.  I had 3 trees on OH x F 51 and another on a seedling Asian hybrid.  All eventually died of fireblight.  Perhaps if I had been home more, I could have controlled it with pruning.  'Harvest Queen' was so slow to come into bearing that I never got fruit before blight killed all 3 trees back to the OHxF 51 rootstock.  It also had a difficult to manage growth habit.  These Harrow trees may be very blight resistant up North where the pressure is low, but at least these 2 cultivars couldn't handle the blight pressure in the humid SE.

I'd be willing to try more of them, but proceed with caution.

I am surprised at hearing about astringency in the skin of Seckel.  I had some disease problems with Seckel, but the fruit was incredibly good, including the skin.

Moonglow was fairly blight resistant and could be good (not excellent) quality, but a high proportion of the fruit was extremely astringent.

Winter Nelis was far too blight susceptible to grow in the SE, in my experience.

I can share more pear experiences if you wish...

Best of luck to you,

Anton
Zone 8

-----Original Message-----
>From: Donna &/or Kieran <holycow at cookeville.com>
>Sent: Nov 22, 2007 12:14 AM
>To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Subject: Re: [NAFEX] looking for Mericourt and other pears
>
> I've decided that since pears like our soil and apples don't, then I'll just have to find pears that come in early and late and with as much variation as possible.  I have some Europeans and some Asians, some have cropped.  I have plenty of rootstocks, it seems a shame to order trees but I might wind up doing it.   Variety and nursery recommendations would be appreciated.  I know Seckel is supposed to be high quality, but I have never really liked the astingency of the skin on those few I've eaten.  On the other hand, I guess that would be a plus for making wine.  I have seen some incomplete lists of bloom times.  Late bloomers would be a good idea.  I have these already:
>
>Twentieth Century     collected locally,  I really like this one
>Tenn                           ditto   very nice pear, though it doesn't seem to keep long.  Does anyone know anything about it???
>Shinko                        
>Korean Giant
>Ayers                          bought tree this year
>Warren                       bought tree 12 years ago and it finally bloomed just in time for the Big Easter Freeze
>probably Kieffer           local source
>Duchess                     one bud took this year
>Duchess Bronzee       ditto
>Magness                      one small branch
>
>
>I'd like:
>
>Mericourt - 1938 Tennessee introduction that sounds really good
>Winter Nelis
>Moonglow?   Is it really good?  
>
>Thanks!    Donna 




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