[NAFEX] Pear recommendations for a single home tree?

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Thu Sep 15 12:43:36 EDT 2011

I agree with Lon that Seckel is an ideal home orchard tree and much better
than some kind of Red Bartlett for reliability and, to my palate, flavor.
Don't buy it from Millers if you want a properly labeled and decent sized
tree if my long ago experience with them is any guide.  C+O, Raintree, Trees
of Antiquity and others on the west coast would be better IMO.  At least
they'll be some knowledgeable guidance with those sources as Millers was
clearly  wrong about Seckel in terms of pollination.  The one pear it can't
pollinate is Bartlett (and vice-versa)- or so I've read.

The question about self-fruitfulness with pears seems not clearly understood
judging from the literature, but I believe it's about the temperatures
shortly after bloom- in warm springs most pear varieties will bare
parthenocarpically- not a matter of humidity at all.  I've read southeastern
pear growers commenting that most varieties are self-fertile there.
Childers, in his book spoke of a Bartlett pear industry many years ago in S.
CA that required the planting of no other varieties- so reliable was
self-fruitfulness.  Of course there aint much humidity there.

I'd be surprised if fire blight was a problem where you are- I would think
conditions much too dry- especially in  mid to late spring.  Anyway Seckel
is considered resistant, but there are certainly some more resistant
varieties.  Of those, Harrow Sweet is the only one I've tasted besides the
not very reliable and non-self fruitful (but luscious) Magness.

Incidentally, here in southeastern NY, Seckel is very reliably self fruitful
whatever the spring weather, but once it starts bearing big crops you may
want to graft on at least one other, later maturing variety as one tree can
have so much fruit.  Seckel doesn't provide as pretty a fruit display as
other pears, though, as fruit in not attractively shaped and small, although
not so small when aggressively thinned.  The tree is exceptionally well
shaped with branches that are quite unusually spreading for a pear, but
branch spreading can still be helpful.

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