Ack, I'm doing it again--looking for more pears now :-(

Every d@#n time I think I am largely done there’s a new shiny object, or a new idea…

I have a few pears already, including Magness so I can have something I die before it ever fruits, seckel, and harrow sweet, and clara frijs.

I am curious if anyone has any other euro pears they’d recommend that are as precocious, or nearly as precocious as HS and Z5 hardy.

Starting to think I have a problem… :frowning:


I added fondante de moulins lille last year. I hear it is precious for a pear and can be very good. I have yet to fruit a European pear , just Asian so far.

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My Gold Spice have borne reliably since their second full season in the ground, from a three-year old I bought and planted. Planted in April, got a few fruit that year, frost got bloom the second, and since then only one or two years when frost got them. A very nice dessert pear, pretty fair keeper.


Hah…looking in part as deer trees, golden spice mentions how messy it can be with fruit drop—maybe a great candidate

Buerre Giffard was one of the earliest euro pears to produce fruit for me, on seedling rootstock, 6 yrs. So if it was on semi-dwarf stock or otherwise managed to promote fruiting, it would likely be more precocious. The tree grows really nicely with wide crotch angles and clean foliage, fruit ripens early in the season and is really good and distinct in flavor from most other pears. Pretty too!


I’m looking for pears, too, after making some rookie mistakes with my initial grafting run a couple of years ago. One of the varieties I am looking at is Potomac, which as you may know is a fire-blight resistant Anjou x Moonglow cross. From what I’ve read, it’s said to be “fairly precocious” and hardy to zone 5 (which is my zone as well), and is supposed to bear high-quality fruit in the Anjou style (which I like, personally). Most sources that I’ve seen also describe both of Potomac’s parents as being precocious and hardy to zone 5.

How do you like Clara Frijs? That’s one that I’ve been looking into.

My Clara frijs is only a-year-old, And since they are not supposed to be precocious I’ve got some waiting. There were a couple threads hear about Clara frijs If you do some looking I know at least

I knew I wasn’t alone.

Here’s a pollination chart I put together from the GRIN pear scions I received Spring 2018. It could be of help for choosing mates.



Mine is 15 years old and no fruit tasted yet. The planting is in a low light area so its not all the fault of the variety. Fondante de Moulins-Lille is a few trees away in similar light and it fruited only a few years after planting – its in the same league as HS. Its also an awesome tasting pear.

I am going in the opposite direction on Euro pears, they are hard to ripen so I am narrowing my pears to a few varieties I can ripen well. Aurora, Docteur Desportes, Magness, Fondante dM-L, Seckel and maybe a few others.

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Sorry you haven’t gotten to try BG yet, but ya gotta cut your losses sometime! I will be very interested to heat what you determine to be your keepers…

I’m literally cutting (down) my losses this winter, I’m raising the fruiting height above the deer by removing the varieties I’m not completely sold on and letting the remaining ones get taller. So far around 30 apple trees have come out, and around a dozen pears are going in the next few weeks. Its sad to take out pears like Giffard that have not fruited yet, but I am going to keep some of them as high grafts in the big remaining trees.

So far the only keepers are the five listed above, but I expect several more will eventually make it. Urbaniste is a very tasty pear, if I can just get it reliably fruiting it will be a keeper.


Sorry to hear about the trees coming out, but I suppose it’s a natural part of the process - if you try a lot of things, some will work out better than others, and in the end you may decide to just go with more of the things that work out best.

In terms of difficulty getting the pears to ripen, I’m curious whether you think it was a matter of sun/spacing, or more a matter of timing. We have a fairly small yard, and I have been planning to try and grow our pears in a Belgian fence, to complement our apple fence on the other side of the yard. So, the spacing will be close, in terms of trunk to trunk, but my hope is that the sun exposure will be better than it would be with a freestanding tree, and that keeping the main branches at 45 degrees will do something to promote fruiting. And I’m thinking that the criss-crossing branches of the Belgian fence pattern may also help with pollination, which I understand can be tricky with certain pears. Also using OHxF 333, so hopefully that will help somewhat with precocity and keeping things to a manageable height. We’ll see!

I’m happy to hear that you like Urbaniste. That’s another one that I’ve been intrigued by. (Sucker for a good back story that I am…) My overall plan in terms of varieties is to try and mix some good modern disease-resistant pears (e.g. Harrow Sweet, Harvest Queen, Potomac), some American heirlooms (e.g. Seckel and Tyson, which was the one thing that survived my initial blunders, and possibly Dana Hovey, which @marknmt has talked up in the past, if I remember correctly), and some old European-as-in-from-Europe pears.

In addition to Urbaniste and Clara Frijs, I’ve also been looking at Beurre Superfin, which wasn’t terrific for you (if I remember) but might do better with the somewhat cooler weather up here. And I know you’ve spoken highly of Fondant de Moulins Lille and Docteur Desportes (is that the same as the Andre Desportes described by Hedrick?)

@JesseS: Beurre Giffard sounds really intriguing. I’m curious to know if you have any experience with McLaughlin, the old Maine pear that Fedco offers. Too bad Fedco doesn’t sell scion wood for pears. They have some things that sound interesting, but OH x F 97 seems like it would be an awful lot of tree for my yard.

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I should have clarified what I meant by ripening — I was referring not to a long enough season but picking them at the right time and storing them properly. It takes time and energy to be keeping track of which pears you picked when and how long they have been in the cooler. Apples also require some work there, but they are much more forgiving in terms of their cold storage requirements. For me I want about half a dozen different pears which will be spread out over a long period of time.

Docteur Desportes is different than Andre Desportes. DD is something like Bosc but less russet and fatter and stubbier.

Superfin was an easy pear to grow, but it was really hard to ripen for me. They needed to be picked early or they would rot inside. They are a more lemony pear in flavor, like d’Anjou. I grew up eating rock-hard d’Anjou pears and that may have turned me off that lemony kind of pear flavor for life. I’d like to try a Superfin grown well by someone else to see if its my climate or the pear itself that I don’t like.


Thanks, Scott, that’s a really helpful explanation. I was aware that it could be tricky to get the picking time right, but I hadn’t fully considered the storage side of things. I can see how the logistics could get to be a pain, and why moving toward more of the things you like most would make sense at this stage. In my case, I’m just starting out, so I’m more in the mode of trying to get some things going and see what works for us here. Initially, I’ll probably go with a mix of things that seem like a decent bet pragmatically and things that I feel like taking a little more of a flyer on.

Thank you as well for the additional details about Docteur Desportes and Superfin. As it happens, Anjou pears are probably my favorite out of the things that we can get from the grocery - I like the touch of lemon and what I would describe as the somewhat meatier texture. So, your description of Superfin makes it sound like something I’d be interested in trying, though the concern about ripening is certainly something to keep in mind. If I do ever manage to grow them well, I’ll have to try and send you some!