Pear Tree Hood Variety Grafted in a 3 Gallon Container. The Hood pear is also called a Magness pear, this fruit tree is very well adapted to the south; where it has shown great resistance to fire blight, growing very well as far south as Orlando, Florida. This tree produces large greenish ripe fruit with a crisp, juicy, white flesh. In some climates the Hood pear will turn brown with a elongated neck.
Training and Pruning
A pear is a tree of the genus Pyrus and the juicy fruit of that tree, edible in some species. The English word pear is probably from Common West Germanic *pera, probably a loanword of Vulgar Latin pira, the plural of pirum, which is itself of unknown origin. See also Peorð. The place name Perry can indicate the historical presence of pear trees. The pear is classified within Maloideae, a subfamily within Rosaceae. The apple (Malus domestica) which it resembles in floral structure, is also a member of this subfamily. In both cases the so-called fruit is composed of the receptacle or upper end of the flower-stalk (the so-called calyx tube) greatly dilated, and enclosing within its cellular flesh the five cartilaginous carpels which constitute the "core" and are really the true fruit. From the upper rim of the receptacle are given off the five sepals, the five petals, and the very numerous stamens. Another major relative of the pear (and thus the apple) is the quince. The form of the pear and of the apple respectively, although usually characteristic enough, is not by itself sufficient to distinguish them, for there are pears which cannot by form alone be distinguished from apples, and apples which cannot by superficial appearance be recognized from pears. The main distinction is the occurrence in the tissue of the fruit, or beneath the rind, of clusters of cells filled with hard woody deposit in the case of the pear, constituting the "grit," while in the apple no such formation of woody cells takes place. The appearance of the tree—the bark, the foliage, the flowers—is, however, usually quite characteristic in the two species. Cultivated pears, whose number is enormous, are without doubt derived from one or two wild species widely distributed throughout Europe and western Asia, and sometimes forming part of the natural vegetation of the forests. In England, where the pear is sometimes considered wild, there is always the doubt that it may not really be so, but the produce of some seed of a cultivated tree deposited by birds or otherwise, which has degenerated into the wild spine-bearing tree known as Pyrus communis. The cultivation of the pear extends to the remotest antiquity. Traces of it have been found in the Swiss lake-dwellings; it is mentioned in the oldest Greek writings, and was cultivated by the Romans. The word "pear" or its equivalent occurs in all the Celtic languages, while in Slavonic and other dialects different appellations, but still referring to the same thing, are found–a diversity and multiplicity of nomenclature which led Alphonse de Candolle to infer a very ancient cultivation of the tree from the shores of the Caspian to those of the Atlantic. A certain race of pears, with white down on the under surface of their leaves, is supposed to have originated from P. nivalis, and their fruit is chiefly used in France in the manufacture of Perry (see Cider). Other small-fruited pears, distinguished by their precocity and apple-like fruit, may be referred to P. cordate, a species found wild in western France, and in Devonshire and Cornwall.
Asian pears comprise a large group of pears that are crisp in texture and, when mature, are good to eat as soon as harvested or for several months after picking if held in cold storage. This ready-to-eat feature may make them more acceptable to some people than European pears that are usually served when soft and juicy, which condition takes about a week to occur after removal from cold storage. Asian pears do not change texture after picking or storage as do European pears such as 'Bartlett' or 'Comice'. Often Asian pears are called apple pears because they are crisp and juicy like apples but with a different and distinctive texture. They also are called salad pears, Nashi (Japanese for "pear"), Oriental, Chinese or Japanese pears (Nihonnashi). All Asian pears today are selected seedlings or crosses made within Pyrus serotina. Asian pears have been grown commercially in Asia for centuries. In Japan about 500,000 tonnes are grown and some fruit is exported to the United States in October and November. China and Korea also grow these pears for domestic consumption and export to the United States and Canada.
The pear may be readily raised by sowing the pips of ordinary cultivated or of wilding kinds, these forming what are known as free or pear stocks, on which the choicer varieties are grafted for increase. For new varieties the flowers should be fertilized with a view to combine, in the seedlings which result from the union, the desirable qualities of the parents. The dwarf and pyramid trees, more usually planted in gardens, are obtained by grafting on the quince stock, the Portugal quince being the best; but this stock, from its surface-rooting habit, is most suitable for soils of a cold damp nature. The pear-stock, having an inclination to send its roots down deeper into the soil, is the best for light dry soils, as the plants are not then so likely to suffer in dry seasons. Some of the finer pears do not unite readily with the quince, and in this case double working is resorted to; that is to say, a vigorous-growing pear is first grafted on the quince, and then the choicer pear is grafted on the pear introduced as its foster parent. In selecting young pear trees for walls or espaliers, some persons prefer plants one year old from the graft, but trees two or three years trained are equally good. The trees should be planted immediately before or after the fall of the leaf. The wall trees require to be planted from 25 to 30 ft. apart when on free stocks, and from 15 to 20 ft. when dwarfed. Where the trees are trained as pyramids or columns they may stand 8 or 10 ft. apart, but standards in orchards should be allowed at least 30 ft., and dwarf bush trees half that distance. In the formation of the trees the same plan may be adopted as in the case of the apple. For the pear orchard a warm situation is very desirable, with a soil deep, substantial, and thoroughly drained. Any good free loam is suitable, but a calcareous loam is the best. Pear trees worked on the quince should have the stock covered up to its junction with the graft. This is effected by raising up a small mound of rich compost around it, a contrivance which induces the graft to emit roots into the surface soil. The fruit of the pear is produced on spurs, which appear on shoots more than one year old. The mode most commonly adopted of training wall pear-trees is the horizontal. For the slender twiggy sorts the fan form is to be preferred, while for strong growers the half-fan or the horizontal is more suitable. In the latter form old trees, the summer pruning of which has been neglected, are apt to acquire an undue projection from the wall and become scraggy, to avoid which a portion of the old spurs should be cut out annually. The summer pruning of established wall or espalier-rail trees consists chiefly in the timely displacing, shortening back, or rubbing off of the superfluous shoots, so that the winter pruning, in horizontal training, is little more than adjusting the leading shoots and thinning out the spurs, which should be kept close to the wall and allowed to retain but two or at most three buds. In fan-training the subordinate branches must be regulated, the spurs thinned out, and the young laterals finally established in their places. When horizontal trees have fallen into disorder, the branches may be cut back to within 9 in. of the vertical stem and branch, and trained in afresh, or they may be grafted with other sorts, if a variety of kinds is wanted. Summer and autumn pears should be gathered before they are fully ripe, while they are still green, but snap off when lifted. If left to ripen and turn yellow on the tree, the sugars will turn to starch crystals and the pear will have gritty texture inside. The Jargonelle should be allowed to remain on the tree and be pulled daily as wanted, the fruit from standard trees thus succeeding the produce of the wall trees. In the case of the Crassane the crop should be gathered at three different times, the first a fortnight or more before it is ripe, the second a week or ten days after that, and the third when fully ripe. The first gathering will come into eating latest, and thus the season of the fruit may be considerably prolonged. It is evident that the same method may be followed with other sorts which continue only a short time in a mature state.
Training and Pruning
Normally, Asian pears are trained vase-shape in California. This is generally accomplished by heading nursery trees about 25 to 30 inches high at time of planting and selecting 3 or 4 main limbs the first year and heading these new limbs about 50% leaving 12 to 24 inches of growth depending on the length of the growth the first year. This will give 6 to fairly low secondary limbs that are headed 30 to 36 inches long in the second dormant season. After fruit production starts (the third season), limbs are allowed to elongate about 18 inches per year and then they are headed to the dormant season. If trees are growing excessively then pruning should be reduced to encourage fruit spur development. All fruit are borne on spurs on 2- to 6-year-old wood. Older wood and spurs give smaller fruit than those on 2- to 4-year-old wood. Clean pruning cuts and excess spurs should be cut off smoothly so stubs will not rub and damage fruit. Fruit sizes best on 1- to 3-year-old spurs on wood 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Fruit on small hanger wood sizes poorly Pruning should encourage several limbs with wide angle branches off main scaffold limbs. Some limb spreading to open tree centers may be desirable. In many pear areas outside California, Asian pear trees are grown as central leaders similar to apple tree training. This is done with little or no heading of the tree and selecting wide angle limbs for framework limbs off the central leader. The final tree looks like a Christmas tree in shape. It is advisable to maintain individual tree spacing and avoid tight hedgerows for good fruit color and long-lived, productive orchards. In New Zealand, most 'Nashi' trees are central-leader-trained. In Japan, a flat-topped training system called "tanashitate" is used and trees are supported by cables and wire suspended from tag poles. This system is preferred for wind protection and to facilitate all the hand labor performed in Japanese pear production.