Pears are teardrop-shaped or round, and are green, yellow, brown, red, or a combination of these colors when mature.
How to Care for Pear Trees
Pears need moderate pruning each year, in late winter/early spring. We offer fruit tree pruning January through March in Salt Lake County.
Fertilize yearly in the spring when the trees are in bloom. We offer compost tea fertilizing for fruit trees and gardens. Compost tea has many benefits, some of which are improved plant growth and increased nutrient retention.
Pear trees benefit from fruit thinning when the fruits are small – about ½ inch wide. This will help the remaining pears grow larger, as well as increase the yield of pears the next year, and reduce damage from codling moths – who prefer to lay their eggs in fruit that is close together or touching. We offer fruit tree thinning in April and May in Salt Lake County.
Young trees need extra water to grow, while all fruit trees need additional water during periods of hot, dry weather—much like those we experience on the Wasatch Front in the warmer months. Thoroughly soak the soil around your fruit trees every other week. Mulching around the base of your tree can help retain soil moisture as well.
Pears must be harvested before they are ripe. They ripen from the inside out, so by the time they seem ripe on the outside, they are likely to be overripe. To harvest pears, lightly grasp the fruit, tilt it horizontally, and twist. When ready, the pear should easily detach from the branch. Leave the stem on the fruit.
Pears are ready to harvest when…
- Their green hue lightens and yellows.
- Pears pull easily from branch when tilted sideways and twisted.
- Pears are still firm, but have the slightest amount of give when squeezed near the stem.
Schedule a Harvest with Us!
A good time to schedule is when the pears have changed slightly in color and pull easily from the branch. We can’t harvest if…
- The load is too low. Must be at least 200 lbs of fruit.
- The fruit is overripe. Pears that are overripe will not transport or store well on their way to donation sites.
- The fruit is far too underripe. Pears picked too early may never fully ripen or may not develop full flavor.
Disease & Pest Control
Codling moths, a very common pest in apple trees, also inject their larvae into pears. Larvae tunnel into the core of the pear, where they mature, causing both surficial damage and damage to the core of the fruit. We offer pest control nets that can limit the impact of codling moths on pear trees. You can sign up for our pest control service here. For more information regarding codling moths, click here. Codling moth damage on apples is seen in the photo above.
Fire blight is a bacterial disease that impacts apples and pears, causing the blossoms, limbs, and fruit to take on a scorched appearance. Leaves may wilt and curl under as well. Pruning and fertilizing can help reduce susceptibility to infection. Infected branches can be carefully pruned from the tree to limit the spread of the disease. Fire blight can kill the tree and endanger trees in the area. For more info on fire blight, click here.
- Pears must ripen off of the tree and will have better flavor if picked closer to being ripe.
- Leave pears in a cool place to ripen. As they ripen, the pears should soften and sweeten. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for pears to ripen.
- Pears can be frozen, dried, or canned. Click here for more information on storing and preserving.
- Bartlett pears are the earliest and most common pear variety. They are a classic pear shape and should be ready for picking from mid to late August through mid September.
- Asian pears are round, crisp, and juicy. They are green, yellow, or russet brown in color. This is the only pear variety that can be picked when ripe, rather than beforehand.
- Winter pear varieties are ready later in the season – from late September through October. If they are picked with the earlier pear varieties, they may not ever ripen. Winter pears are often more round and stout in shape.
Join the volunteer team!
We love our volunteers and would love to have you join us! There are many ways you can volunteer–from picking fruit to helping in a garden to sitting on a committee.