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How-to grow and care for pear trees

Growing pear trees is much like growing apple trees in the fact that you will need two different varieties of tree to get them to cross-pollinate and produce. Selecting the right kind of pear is important as some varieties are softer and ideal for eating raw and other varieties are harder and therefore better for cooking. The key to proper pollination is have pear trees with overlapping bloom times.

Although Callery pears like Bradford and Cleveland Select can act as a cross pollinator if they must, read this article on why not to have a Bradford pear.


Because not all pear tree do well in all climates, you will find the best varieties for your climate at your local Home Depot store. You can find pears growing throughout zones 3 to 10 (Find Your Zone) in the United States. In the eastern United States, pears are more prone to fire blight. Some varieties are more resistant than others are. You can help prevent fire blight by not giving the tree excessive amounts of nitrogen.

Time to harvest

Go ahead and pull your pears off the tree once they turn slightly yellow. Your fruit will still be hard and they will ripen best in the climate-controlled house.  Depending on the variety, pears can produce as quickly as 3 years but some varieties will take up to 10 years to produce.


If a pear tree is not pruned regularly, then it will have a tendency to over produce, potentially breaking branches due to the weight of the fruit. Pruning fruit trees is necessary in order to keep fruit trees healthy and to promote healthy yields. Pruning opens the tree up to sunlight, which in turn produces larger, sweeter fruit. Thinning out trees also helps with air circulation, which prevents diseases like powdery mildew. Healthy trees are also less prone to insects. Look at our article titled Pruning fruit trees.


Like all crops, fruit bearing trees can deplete a soil of certain nutrients. Specialty fertilizers are great for fruit bearing trees. Not only do they have Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, they also have essential micronutrients like Iron, Sulfur, Calcium and Magnesium to help alleviate such deficiencies. At Home Depot, you can also find a wide variety of organic fertilizers for your fruit trees.


Bartlett, Kieffer, Bosc, Comice and Anjou are some good varieties for cross pollinating each other. Seckel is not an ideal choice as it can sometimes be unreliable for some varieties.


Planting site and spacing

You will want to find an area drenched with at least 6 hours of sun but full sun is ideal. Pear trees need a nutrient rich well-drained soil. Different soil types need to be amended differently. A soil test is a great idea before planting to determine nutrient deficiencies and what nutrients you will need to add. Mulch around your tree with pinestraw in the fall once all leaves have fallen off and in the late spring before the summer heat arrives.

Spacing your two different types of pear trees 25 to 30 foot apart will give your trees enough room to become drenched in sunlight and not crowd each other out. This will give the wind and bees the best chance to cross-pollinate your trees. Dwarf varieties can be spaced 15 foot apart.

Planting Guide

STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cypress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.

Other Related Articles:


Which fruit trees are self pollinating and which require a cross pollinator?

Watering Fruit Trees


Growing Banana Trees

Growing Peach Trees

How-to grow and care for fruit bearing cherry trees

How-to grow and care for plum trees

How to grow and care for apple trees

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Posted 2018-02-14T17:00:59+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL