How to Sweeten Pears etc..?

This old timer posted a video that i cant share on here… due to it being on social medias was shared to: (Fruit Trees Anonymous). I read the comments and almost everyone agreed with him. Not much of anything on the internet that talks about this… so maybe its old timer science?

He has in the coffee can metal shavings and fines from a machine shop. Also he has an old iron rod that he drove into the ground near his pear tree as shown in pic. He sprinkles the metal shavings all around the yard several feet from the trunk.

He goes on to say that this will give you the sweetest pears you have ever eaten and everyone says his pears are the sweetest.

Myth? Fact?


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Myth… just a guess.

Now here is a way to make them sweeter that is no myth.

My wife makes traditional pear preserves from kieffer pears… after peeling and slicing she puts them on the counter in a large pot and covers them in a huge pile of sugar… and lets them sit over night. The next day she cooks and jars them up.

Her actual recipe… these are delicious.


Sweet, sweeter, sweetest, when we use comparing words, we need a reference to compare to.
So his sweetest pear claim compare to which pear cultivar, use what measurements? or in how big the area? His backyard, his neighborhood, the county his is living in, the country, the whole world? Any time restrictions?
Without defined and agreed up measuring standards. Any claim is a garbage.

When I was younger, I watched a British TV series called "Are you be served? ". There was a store clark Mrs Slogan?( I could remembered or spelled wrong). Her famous sentences is "I’m unanimously agree… " well, if the person’s world is small enough only contains himself/herself. I suppose he/she can use the -est words.


I agree… i talk to old timers where i live all the time… lots of old farmers and people that grow things live to be in their 80s and 90s and i like hearing the old ways when they tell it. I talked to an old timer last year about his apple tree. He is going to put old nails in a bucket and let them get good and rusty then pour that onto his tree. I googled that when i got home and it seems its a myth… old wives tale. But i have to ask myself if it doesnt work…why do these old timers keep doing it? I doubt that they read google or even have internet… they just do things that seem to work for them.

In order to prove him wrong you would have to apply his method to identical trees and do a brix test on a with and without… which is doubtful that anyone would go thru those many years of trouble to do.

I watched the video a couple more times and he goes on to say that old timers would put horse shoes under their trees to make the fruit sweeter…and he again emphasizes to only do this if you want your pears to be REALLY sweet. He also said that old timers do this for pecans…if their pecans arent sweet.

Anyways… here is the best i can find on the subject… maybe it does work? And obviously folks that may or may not prove it right and wrong.

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Roses and other flowers thrive on greensand because it supplies marine potash, silica, iron oxide, magnesia, lime, phosphoric acid and 22 trace minerals. It’s also a boon for tomato lovers, because it has the vitamins and minerals that tomato plants need to produce abundant, intensely flavored fruit.

Instead of rusty nails… perhaps greensand…
It supplies iron and a lot of other trace minerals…


They may want to add some minerals into the soil through the metal rod for the tree. It may work in certain degree depends on soil ph, but may not as effective and convenient as adding water soluble minerals that plants can take them in right away.

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There needs to be a balance in everything. Sweet pears are grown by having adequate nutrition, increased sulight, reduced fruit load, and reduced water.


I forgot about this other old timer recipe for tomatoes. He has pine trees and puts the needles around his tomatoes and also soaks them in buckets of water and waters the tomatoes with the pine needle tea.

Science says he is wrong… folks on this forum have said that pine needles do nothing really to acidify soil.

Lots of folks use it even on brambles and say that it really works… u can even drink pine needle tea for health benefits.

The best tomatoes and garden that i have seen locally is at a friends hunting camp near the river. He brought in wheelbarrows of the river sand and made a really nice garden… grows really nice corn and tomatoes and green beans in that sand. Its full of leaves and all kinds of sediments from the rivers… seems to work well.

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No doubt you are 100 percent right… the claim is ‘sweeter’ pears. And ‘sweeter’ pecans.

I think i may have a solution… it could be zinc… not necessarily the iron.

The fruits highest in zinc seem to be the fruits that we talk about most on this forum…they are ‘sweeter’ and most flavorful.

So obviously for a fruit to have a high zinc content the soil has to be rich in zinc? Not necesarily.

So perhaps he is right… and some old timers are right. But maybe its not the Iron…

Zinc may be unavailable to fruit and pecan trees in high pH soils

So maybe some folks in high pH soils would benefit from zinc? Maybe some old timers are right?



It is interesting that you bring this up. Zinc is very important to humans as well as trees Zinc - Mayo Clinic . It is very interesting that “Zinc deficiency can declines T cells generation and depresses humoral and cell-mediated immunity” in people with infectious diseases Nutritional status and serum zinc and selenium levels in Iranian HIV infected individuals | BMC Infectious Diseases | Full Text . This thread validates your point Influence of soil nutrients on fruit flavor? . Wait until you see this old apple thread Growing better apples with zinc . Boron and zinc come up numerous times Search results for 'Zinc' - Growing Fruit . @richard and others with fertilizer making experience realize the importance of zinc the same as you do.


@clarkinks so maybe its not a myth? Im not saying that this is good practice or anything… i just know that some folks go out of their way to disprove things when there could be valuable information. (perhaps in a prepper situation or an off the grid farm)

Can we say that possibly the zinc and iron from metal could possibly make fruit trees fruit better? In a prepper or off the grid or survival situation? Or possibly good enough for an old timer orchard?

Modern fertilizers and amendments would likely cover these… but maybe not for folks with no internet or do things the old timey way? Maybe for someone who doesnt buy fertilizers?

Can you say its not a myth? Or bad science? It could have some validity?



Consider everyones situation is different. If your soil is deficient in a specific area once you discover and correct the deficiency the fruit is amazing! My garden produces the best tasting produce i have ever eaten. My honeycrisp apples are the worst apples i have ever grown.


Agreed… just saying that not everyone does soil tests and i doubt that old timers did either.

I remember my mom telling me that lime ‘sweetens the soil’. So we sweetened it by always putting lime on the garden. I guess someone told her to?

A local old timer has grass clippings on his garden right now… obviously it works for him. He is in his 80s.

Im gonna say that if sprinkling metal and driving a metal rod near his tree makes his pears sweeter… then it just does (for him). No need to talk about science or anything. The man grows sweet pears and he is happy about it. The shape of his tree is probably wrong too… but he still grows pears.

My dad put wood ashes on everything. I dont. Maybe i should?

Growing up my nearest neighbor was a very very old man. He chewed a couple of pokes of chewing tobacco every day… for many many many years. He had a big spittoon. That and all of his chewed tobacco got poured on his garden. He had THE nicest garden anyone could ever want. That goes against everything science or internet. Im telling you that i could only hope for such a nice garden. I dont chew tobacco though. I will likely not live to be in my 90s either. He grew much more garden than i do… and they canned and ate mostly from the garden.


my father used wood ash and lime in the garden. said the same thing. it sweetens the soil. with our fairly acidic soil, im sure it helped in moderation. ive heard of the metal thing as well. hey if it works for them, why not. rust in your soil, as far as i know doesnt hurt anything. ive not heard of the zinc helping though but its shown to help in the human body and we eat stuff that uptakes it.



If you want to read a much older thread from when this website was pretty new on this topic i have an old post i put out there in 2015 Soil Secrets .The topic has definately been built on since that time. Many things i’ve got better at over the last 8 years. My overall strategy on growing fruits and vegetables has not changed.


I think not many people know that nails and steel have zinc… i think most folks think that everything is just iron… or maybe just ‘steel’

I think if u ask 10 random folks what is a penny made from they will say copper.

A dollar bill is made of paper of course.

I wanted to ask maybe its been answered…but what about wood ash isnt in woodchips? Folks love wood ash but its a 50/50 split on woodchips… a tree is a tree burned or chipped i think? Woodchips often have leaves so to me they are even better than wood ash i think?

I know of many old timers that use coffee grounds to grow things… most modern folk have those keurig cups so doubtful that they know or care.

There is also an old wives tale about driving a nail in a tree to make it produce fruit… (i think its the stress of it)… but i bet that some old timers still do it.

I pounded copper pennies in my mawmaws stumps in her yard when i was a little boy. She dug out the old ones from her change purse.

Ever heard of putting a grounding rod in your garden? Some folks think that it works. Some folks think that it helps you sleep yourself if your foundation is grounded with a grounding rod.

I know 2 guys right now that are dowsers. They find water for people…with metal rods.

Stephan just did a video about watching ants to tell if its going to rain. I know that my weather app is a liar alot of the times… maybe ants arent?

I can go on…its interesting for sure…


Excellent topic!

I think that anything that keeps the soil alive and the biome happy is going to work well.

Pre-dust bowl soil was amazing… millions of years of grasses being eaten and pooped out and stomped in… and many trillions of cycles of roots living and dying… Bumper crops for anyone with a plow… and anyone that killed all the bison. Didnt take long to destroy what really works.

I am letting the weeds grow in my garlic beds… i will pull them out and compost them this fall. Most folks couldnt stand it and want the beds pristine and the look of bare soil.

Something is wired wrong in our brains… to want the bare soil… we think that is what is needed to grow things.

I think they used to call those people ‘dirt farmers’. They still exist i think.


my full ashtrays, I sift the ashes into the bottom of my flower bed. my great grandpa just emptied his there. it’s the best of my flowers, that spot. no idea why. he was a really good gardener, it was old country old man wisdom



Ashes added to soil grow things good like apples from seed. Have not seen anyone use cigarette ashes in 40 years but i remember it does work. Used them in my childhood myself. People used to use Nicotine juice in sprays for the garden. They make those synthetically now because they do work Neonicotinoid - Wikipedia. It is not exactly nicotine but it is very close.It is not all good or bad, you can read up at the link about that.

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Maine may have slightly acidic soil. Sounds like your Dad knew what he was doing. A friend of mines Dad used tons of ash on their potatoes.

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