Help me find a pear I'd like to grow


I’ve grown many varieties of pears, and there is more involved in choosing them than an evaluation of their ripe fruit. For instance, Magness is a wonderful, Comice type pear- and Comice is the golden standard for a luscious pear, IMO, but is said not to be worth growing in the northeast where I now live. If you plant Magness on a standard type rootstock you may wait 12 years for fruit- they are very slow to come into bearing. Most pear varieties take a long time to bear.

Then there is pear psyla, scab and firebligt to consider. which most varieties of pears can suffer from but are widely varied in relative susceptibility.

Then there is the unreliable cropping that most suffer from.

Of all the pears I’ve ever grown, one stands head and shoulders above all others in performing in the face of all these potential issues and also producing luscious sweet fruit (every fricken year, by about the third) and that is Harrow Sweet.

Pears are easy to graft, so maybe start with this one and experiment from there. Seckel might be my first graft.

Incidentally, fruit evaluations are highly regionally influenced. I’ve never tasted any pear with a slight bitterness in the skin. However, no one pays more attention to pears than Clark, but Kansas has a very special climate.

Also, it takes quite a few years to accurately evaluate varieties and university taste tests don’t seem to me to be very reliable gauges unless they are done only by the person growing the pears- otherwise the differences in taste can be influenced by a lot more than variety.


I’m happy to read that many good reviews on Harrow Sweet. Could you describe it more to me? Skin: bitter? astringent? tough? Flesh: creamy, gritty, juicy? Aromas: lemony like it’s “sister” Harovin? Or more like my “true love” Abate? Thanks in advance.


The flesh is all the things Alan said it was which is dense, good flavored, and sweet. Like Alan everything I have seen about harrow sweet is very good. I would not rate it in the same class as the highest rated pears but it is very close with many advantages such as highly disease resistant, excellent flavor, very pest resistant, very easy to grow, very good branch structure which overall makes it excellent. In a commercial orchard HS is less trouble with nearly as good of fruit as the best flavored pear which has diseases, pests etc. which are all problems that make others pears a lot of extra trouble to grow. In my opinion the skin is not bad but it has a hint of bitterness like many pears do. I grow Harrow sweet myself and will plant more trees this year.


There is a lot of fluctuation in qualities season to season- this year some were even Bosc-like- with some grit and crunch before they completely softened- strangely, for the first year ever, some didn’t even get up good sugar- but fruit was off all over this last season.

I have so many different kinds of fruit to eat here that I don’t really focus that precisely on pears. If they are sweet and juicy that’s good enough for me, when I bite into one exceptionally perfumed, all the better- but even that is not rigidly dependent on variety. Clark seems like the most devoted pear connoisseur on this forum to me but all he can really know is the best varieties for his own orchard. Pears don’t just vary season to season- especially in humid climates, their qualities vary site to site. Obviously, region to region, more so.

Harrow Sweet is precocious, ripens late and stores well, so there is probably no better variety for you to start with- once it gets some size and is bearing some fruit have Clark send you some grafting wood.


Jessica is in Canada where the cultivar was developed so trees or are readily available there. I know you did not realize that.


I was talking about grafting wood from your other pear trees.


Canada is outside the U.S. so I cannot ship a scion there and the yellow pear is unlikely to live there in zone 4.


I didn’t know that.


Well, thank you @alan and @clarkinks, for the descriptions, explanations and suggestions. Happy new year! :slight_smile:


Is Quince a viable option in NY? If so Magness does well on it and it really gets in going into fruiting mode much quicker. At least as grown in Hot as the blazes Texas. Seems I’ve seen others say the same. Anyway it may be an option if you even wanted to mess with Magness. I know you probably have your hands plenty full of fruit trees already.



Something tells me Abate Fetel wont do well for you. That is only based on the fact that it is an Italian variety and was doing really well for me in the Texas Hill Country and that’s a far cry from Canada! It showed signs of being pretty low chill which I would think would be bad for you but who knows. Of course this is only supposition on my part and could well be wrong! I think I would probably start with the Canadian bred varieties first especially since everyone seems to think they are pretty awesome anyway.



Yes exactly, that’s why I would love a suggestion of a hardy pear similar to Abate. I love tAbate, love love love. But I can’t grow it here. I think that this kind of pear only grows in warmer climate, but who knows? There might be a similar hardier variety that I am unaware of and I would like to discover it.


I have Magness on OHxF.333 which I hope will speed up the fruiting process.


Quince is not considered cold hardy for the northeast, although I’ve read that early American hobbyists used it in this region by burying the graft union below ground. None of my sources sell pear trees on quince and I buy grafted trees instead of working with rootstocks and graft on them when there’s other varieties I want to grow. This is partially because I prefer to grow real trees that can bear significant crop above the reach of deer and will continue to thrive long after I’m gone. Anyway, at least half of my business is pruning fruit trees, so more vigor means more work.


I am curious how Magness and cousin Warren would do on 333. That stock didn’t do well in C. Tex but does well other places I’m told. Keep us up to spead.


I’m concerned about fruit size on ohxf333 though I planted 100 333 rootstocks last year. Time will tell what works best.


I also have Magness on OHxF.87 so we’ll see what happens…


I have heard that how the dwarfing root stocks work as far as shrinking fruit is quite regional- so you are right.


I’m not sure 333 will have smaller or less fruit but like everyone I’ve heard the rumors. There are people that say they are less vigorous. I’m looking at some of the new rootstocks here and see this link

Yes I normally would not gamble with 100 rootstocks right away like I did with 333 but I needed to get some in the ground. I normally do test crops with most fruit. The new pyro dwarfs are reportedly good but I know even less about them. This is what is said “PyroDwarf produces a tree 61% – 70% of the size of a seedling pear tree. It is an alternative to seedling rootstocks, as it produces large attractive trees which start bearing usually after 3-4 years. Being of Pyrus origin, there are no graft incompatibility issues with this rootstock. PyroDwarf is able to tolerate chalk / alkaline soils better than quince-derived rootstocks. PyroDwarf was developed from a cross between ‘Old Home’ (fireblight resistance) and ‘Louise Bonne d’Avranches’ (ability to strike hardwood cuttings) pear varieties made by Helmut Jacob, at the Research Institute and College, Geisenheim, Germany, but has only inherited some of the ‘Old Homes’ fireblight resistance. However, it has been reported that this variety produces severe suckering with spiny shoots, as well as causing reduced fruit number (T. Auvil, WTFRC). Source:” -

I’m looking hard at the pyro dwarfs now for future plantings of pears due to my alkaline soil. This is what is said of 333 that I’m basing my concerns from “A semi-dwarfing pear rootstock. It is 1/2 to 2/3 standard size. Its resistance to fireblight, collar rot, woolly pear aphids and pear decline make this a very healthy stock. it is not very precocious and gives few fruit and with reduced size (T. Auvil, WTFRC). Source: Cummins Nursery” -

That initial report of 333 sounded pretty negative but this report is not as bad which came from the same source
The OHxF series of rootstocks originated from crosses made more than 75 years ago by Reimer at Oregon State. Reimer was seeking primarily rootstocks resistant to fire blight; both the Old Home and Farmingdale parents are highly resistant. Reimer’s work was continued by nurseryman Lyle Brooks and by researchers at Oregon State. All the OHxFs are propagated by cuttings or in tissue culture – with considerable difficulty, as all are reluctant rooters.
OHxF333 A semi-dwarfing pear rootstock. It is 1/2 to 2/3 standard size. Its resistance to fireblight, collar rot, woolly pear aphids and pear decline make this a very healthy stock. Precocious, well-anchored. Trees are very productive. Some reports that fruit size is reduced

OHxF 40® A semi-vigorous pear rootstock, about 2/3 standard size. Resistant to fire blight, crown rot, woolly pear aphids, and pear decline. Precocious, well-anchored. Patented; royalty 50¢

OHxF 87® A semi-vigorous pear rootstock, about 2/3 standard size. Resistant to fire blight, crown rot, woolly pear aphids, and pear decline. Precocious, well-anchored. Patented; royalty 50¢.

OHxF 97 A vigorous pear rootstock. Standard size, but more precocious and productive than seedling stocks. Appears to be especially valuable for Asian pears.

DWARFING PEAR ROOTSTOCKS For many years, pears have been grafted onto quince rootstocks to obtain dwarf trees analagous to apple trees dwarfed on Malling 9. Most varieties of pears are more or less incompatible on most quince clones (but in several instances, including Bartlett on Quince A, expression of incompatibility may often be delayed until 8 or 10 years or more in the orchard). All the quince stocks we have tested have been quite susceptible to fire blight and most are somewhat winter-tender. Even so, there are many outstanding plantings of dwarf pears in commercial production.
At Cummins Nursery, we graft onto Quince only those few varieties known to be compatible.

SEEDLING The industry standard. Pear seedlings are still quite satisfactory if proper care is given. Pyrus betulifolia (“BET”) seedlings are the rootstocks of choice for Asian pears. A number of extensive field trials have shown that fruit size is increased significantly as compared to other rootstocks. We also use Winter Nelis seedlings – somewhat more winter-hardy than BET. "


Your round unknown pear, could it be a Minie or a Menie, I have one of each and may have the tags mixed up due to finding both on the ground after a storm when they were young. One is a long pear and the other is round.
They both go from green to dead ripe almost over night and soften immediately after ripening, so need to be bottled or eaten right away. They are lucious and melting, no grit, full flavoured, earlier than Bosc or Patten, or even Red Clapp.
As for Abate Fetel, I have two seedlings from grocery store fruits, they have made one winter in the porch, but not in open ground. I am north of Nova Scotia, and my porch is not insulated. it will be fun to see if they winter when I plant them out this spring. I try to get a little size on them so the mice can’t pry the spiral tree wraps off them quite so easily. grin