2016 European pear variety observations

They look perfect.

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Thanks. I had several good size ones this year. My tree is in a bad location, near a row of pine trees and getting about 5 -6 hours of sun only.

I like HS. It has never disappointed us in production and taste.

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On the subject of aging pears, I put out my Fondante des Moulins-Lille on the counter around a week ago and they are just getting good now. I picked nearly all of them together, some are sweeter than the others. I was worried about deer grabbing them all and probably picked a bit too early. But they are still very good.

I agree about HS, it is growing on me. I’m going to remove a bunch of pears but am going to keep that one.


Glad that HS has made it on your list.

When you first mentioned that you would remove it, I was like…Wait!!! What???

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Is HS always that big?

No. They tends to be on a smallish size. You have to thin them well. My tree stays small so it is easy to reach all fruit to thin them.

I didn’t thin mine much but they were still large. they were so big that it bent way down. One of the main reasons why I am keeping it is how productive it is - I only have one limb of it on another tree and it produced as much as some of my whole pear trees.

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If I don’t thin them down to one or two pears per cluster, my HS would definitely be on a small size. So, I only leave 1-2 pears per cluster and have taken out some clusters all together. My tree has grown rather slowly, unfortunately.

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They look great. I need to think about getting HS. It seems most of the pears are slow growers. Each of the few pear trees I have were all slow growers. I had one that looked like a green stick for about two years. Then it slowly took off. One sat there for about 4 months and did not even have any leaves on it. One day a little bit of green nubs, then a few leaves. Very slow growing. I was about ready to give up on that one pear tree.

Found the last Fondante des Moulin-Lille pear on the tree today. Very happy since it was the sweetest pear I had. It is still hard but the dark green turned into light green. It is russetted all over so it is hard to see green color. It is a small for me. (some of my HS were that size when not thinned well).

@scottfsmith should I refrigerate it. The temp outside has ben in the 30 F at night for a couple of weeks. It may have been “refrigerated” already.

I put my last large HS to it for size comparison.

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Fondante is not highly prone to rotting from the inside so it can probably just sit on the counter given that it looks almost ready. Its heading to yellow on the outside. They are best when they are heading to yellow, not pure strong green. I picked nearly all of mine green this year; the few light-green or yellow ones were much better.

My first one was picked over a month ago and was solid green. It still tasted great at 20 brix.

I hope this one will be as good or better as it is much riper when picked.

I just found some forgotten Harrow Sweet pears that I picked 2 weeks ago. I was trying to fast ripen them, but they went to mush. I gently cut them in half, picked the seeds out, and ate them with spoon. Usually pears at this stage are mealy and tasteless. To my surprise, they were still at peak flavor with no dryness. The consistency was like applesauce. I’m impressed.


Scott, how long was the wait for fruit on Magness & Aurora on quince? Also, I think I noticed you mention that your pears were in a shady spot in your yard. Were the pears on quince in a similar spot?

I was leaning towards Magness on OHxF 87 and KG on OHxF 97, but now I might get Magness on Quince and Olympic/KG on Betulaefolia. OHxF 87/97 must speed things up over seedling, though. There appears to be no other option for Aurora but OHxF 87. Going with Quince for Magness and Betulaefolia for KG, along with the Harrow Sweet on Pyro 2-33 that I planted this year, would give me 4 pears on 4 different rootstocks.


I got some Magness in 3-4 years on quince. It has never fruited a lot ever, though. Aurora fruited faster and is more productive. They are in a nice sunny spot, but I had them pruned low and the deer were cleaning up so I had to remove almost all the original fruiting wood to let the trees grow above the deer.

Overall, I would definitely get Magness on quince, and less need for Aurora. Urbaniste is even more stingy than Magness, it is on quince and three different grafts I put limbs on that tree have fruited but the Urbaniste itself has fruited only one year so far. That is too bad as it is one of the tastiest pears, perhaps the best I have grown flavor-wise.


I was telling myself that having both Harrow Sweet and Magness at the same time might negate the “need” for Harrow Sweet, but if Magness is so stingy then having both is easily justifiable. How big does the Magness tree get on quince?

I have a little line of trees going in the side yard starting with a peach and a nectarine and followed by a Harrow Sweet pear on Pyro 2-33. Once I remove more of these massive Hemlock hedges I’ll have enough room for 3 more trees at ~15’ spacing before I get to the back yard. I’m thinking of putting the Aurora just past the Harrow Sweet, then the Magness, then the KG. I figured KG will be smaller than the others.


In my area quince does not have enough roots for this location. Ohxf333 is better but fruits are small the first few years. Magness and sibling warren are stingy fruiting trees here also.

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Cummins told me that even with Magness 4 years is a reasonable expectation for fruiting on OHxF 87. This seemed to contradict what people keep posting here, but it was enough for me to go ahead and just stick with the OHxF 87. If not being able to reach the water table is your reason for not going with Quince roostock, it should work here. We don’t have many bad droughts and when we do there’s some rain, and I could just put the Magness in the spot I had in mind for the Korean Giant which is somewhat close to gutter runoff from my roof. Or since it’s right in my yard I could just use the hose. The idea was to sandwich Magness to maximize pollination potential. From the road to the start of the back yard the line is as follows:

This year’s plants:

  • Contender Peach
  • Nectafest Nect (I could have gotten these two backwards, didn’t note which is which)
  • Harrow Sweet

Followed by next year’s:

  • Aurora
  • Magness
  • Korean Giant

With Magness somewhere in the middle, hopefully bees that are shy to go to Magness will stop since it’s on their way to the more “exciting” pears.


I would check bloom times from this thread and see if they overlap Pear buds, blossoms, and fruit 2017

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One of my last two Fondante was stolen. The remaining one is huge, a supermarket size. Will be in a fridge for 2 weeks before counter ripening.

@clarkinks, I picked all my Duchess today. Do they look like real Duchess?One is big. The rest are medium. Will go in a fridge , too.