Moonglow pear

Very interesting the different perspectives on this pear. I’m going to entertain the idea i was growing it wrong. Had it grafted to kieffer as an interstem.

1 Like

I grafted it to OHxF333 and also to callery pear last year. I’ll find out eventually if it’s a ‘keeper’.


If Potomac inherited a lack of FB resistance from moonglow, then I will definitely need to keep a close eye on Potomac!!! Maybe the records were accidentally mixed up like some of the U. Minnesota apples.

1 Like


Potomac is very delicious and very resistant to fireblight. It is likely my most resistant cultivar. Anjou hide some recessive genes that are highly resistant to fireblight. This Old home pear - #6 by clarkinks will be an eye opener if you have the time to read it. Interesting i thought farmingdale tasted a bit like D’ anjou! It should farmingdale is a seedling of anjou. Farmingdale will not get fireblight even when it has direct contact. Have been testing farmingdale here.

1 Like

I’ve never had a problem with Potomac either. Maybe they accidentally got lightning in a bottle if Moonglow is truly a parent.

I never noticed anything particularly tasty about moonglow compared to some other pears. But I’ll keep pruning out FB because I’m stubborn that way. It’s never progressed fast enough to completely kill the tree. So, here I would call it FB susceptible, and perhaps somewhat resistant once it’s infected.

1 Like


It is possible the fireblight resistance of potomac comes from anjou not moonglow. Anjou seedlings like farmingdale are occasionally resistant to fireblight. I’m growing farmingdale for fun. It tastes pretty good , much better than many of the so called improved fireblight resistant pears. It should since it is related to anjou which van mon’s created.

" Moonglow pear tree


Moonglow is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators

A high quality early season dessert and culinary pear, very resistant to fireblight.

Moonglow is a high-quality early-season pear, which ripens about a week before Bartlett. The fruits are large with a sweet flavor, reminscent of Bartlett and Comice - from which it is descended.

As with most pears, pick slightly early and then ripen indoors. Newly-picked fruits will have some acidity and can be used at this point for cooking.

How to grow

Moonglow is very resistant to fireblight, one of the most serious diseases of pears.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.


Moonglow was raised in the 1960s by the US Dept.of Agriculture as part of a program to develop pears which were resistant to fireblight. Moonglow is a cross between an old variety called Roi Charles de Wurtemburg and an experimental variety called Michigan 437 which was derived from Bartlett and Comice. This parentage explains its good flavor characteristics.

Moonglow characteristics

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Pollination group3
  • Pollinating othersGood
  • PloidyDiploid
  • Bearing regularityRegular
  • Fruit bearingSpur-bearer
  • WildlifeRHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Picking seasonEarly
  • UsesEating freshCulinary
  • CroppingGood
  • Keeping (of fruit)1 week
  • Flavor style (apples)Sweeter
  • General resistanceGood
  • FireblightVery resistant
  • Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Country of originUnited States
  • Period of origin1950 - 1999
  • Fruit colorGreen - light"
1 Like

That’s a good point. I have a red anjou that has not yet had FB. It’s had other issues, but not FB. Of course, with it’s other issues, it hasn’t bloomed yet after quite a few years, so there’s that too :slight_smile:

1 Like


Had the same experience with red anjou it never grew here but stayed alive. It never flowered. Some pears are not happy here in Kansas. Potomac starts out slow giving a few pears here and there. They used to get blown off by the wind every year. Eventually it sets a beautiful large crop of pears and hangs onto them. This year it is loaded and the pears are excellent. Put in many more potomac this year.

1 Like


I’ve had good luck with potomac too. My memory is awful so I can’t recall exactly what I think of them since I don’t take good notes. But, the bright side is that each year is a new mystery of discovering each pear all over again :slight_smile: With the total crop loss this year, it will have to wait another year.

1 Like


Sorry to hear of your crop loss this year! Pears are definitely underappreciated!



Definitely a tough one to take but it makes me appreciate the years when I get a crop. If I was doing this commercially, it would have to be a different product. I’ll probably look at tucking some pears up against outbuildings in very protected areas. For now, I’ll just say I’m working on an experimental FB treatment. Treat pears in full bloom with 16F.

1 Like

I got tired of waiting for Moonglow to produce. The firelight strikes were the last straw for me, I grafted it over to a variety developed in BC called Sierra. I’m hoping that change turns out to be a good decision.


I had two moonglow trees but both succumbed to fireblight. One made gorgeous looking fruit that the squirrels got before I ever got the first taste. The adjacent pineapple, orient, and improved keiffer pears are still going strong.


I understand wanting it just to have it, I collect pears too. Moonglow grew fine for me. It’s difficult to ripen and had just an OK taste. I lost interest in it pretty quickly and grafted them over.


I have a rather large moonglow tree. Blooms this year but no fruit. I’ve not had problems with fireblight on this tree.

Also Shenandoah valley of Va


Only going to have about 8 of these trees due to the long storage time before they are ready. Many of these modern fireblight resistant pears like moonglow and Shenandoah are not ready to be eaten until they have been in storage for a time. Cummins correctly state it takes 6-8 weeks of storage for moonglow to reach full flavor.

"Moonglow is a vigorous, very upright, and heavily spurred tree that is precocious and productive. It is fireblight resistant and makes a great pollinator. A trouble-free tree, this is a great choice for the small home orchard. Moonglow is not self-fertile, and it will need a pollenizer.

The pear is large and attractive. The green-yellow skin is blushed with a deep pink, and the white flesh is soft and juicy with a rich, aromatic flavor. Moonglow will need to be stored for six-eight weeks to reach full flavor, but the freshly-picked fruit has enough acidity to make it a great baking pear.

Moonglow is one of the first modern pears bred specifically for fireblight resistance. It was developed by the USDA and released in 1960."

" Does a Moonglow Pear Tree Bear Fruit?

By Ruth de Jauregui Updated Sep 27, 2021 10:43 p.m.

‘Moonglow’ pears (Pyrus communis ‘Moonglow’) are considered early- to mid-season pears. They produce their large, blushed red fruits in late summer to early fall. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, ‘Moonglow’ trees begin producing fruit four to six years after transplanting into the garden.


‘Moonglow’ pears are ready to harvest in late summer to early fall, generally August or September, depending on your climate.

About ‘Moonglow’ Pears

Developed in Maryland, ‘Moonglow’ pears were introduced in 1960. The fruits are a Bartlett-type, large with a red blush that develops as the fruits ripen. Once ripe, the pears are soft and juicy with a buttery smooth texture. ‘Moonglow’ requires 700 chilling hours, which are the hours spent in temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit during winter when the tree is dormant. The trees are resistant to the fire blight bacterium (Erwinia amylovora).

‘Moonglow’ is available as dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard trees. Dwarf trees grow 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 7 feet wide; semi-dwarfs are 12 to 15 feet tall and 9 to 11 feet wide; and standards are 18 to 20 feet tall and 12 to 13 feet wide. Space dwarf trees 8 to 10 feet apart, semi-dwarfs at 12 to 15 feet apart, and standards at 18 to 20 feet apart.

Pear Trees That Do Not Need Cross-Pollinators

When planting pear trees, select a location that receives full sun in soil that drains well. Loosen the soil in a 3-to-6-foot circle around the planting hole to a depth of 2 feet, but don’t amend the soil unless it’s very poor. If you’re planting a bare root tree, soak the roots in a bucket for up to six hours before planting. Plant the tree at the same depth as it was originally in the pot, making sure the graft is a few inches above the ground; then backfill with the excavated soil and water thoroughly. Add a 4-inch layer of mulch around the tree, pulling it back 4 inches from the trunk.

Flowers and Pollination

Pears produce their flowers and fruits on short branches called spurs, according to Master Gardener Steve Albert. Sterilize your cutting tools by dipping the blades in Lysol; then prune the pear tree when it is dormant to shorten or remove vertical shoots. You’re trying to create a scaffold of horizontal branches with spurs. ‘Moonglow’ flowers appear in early spring, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Like many fruit tree varieties, ‘Moonglow’ requires a second, compatible pear tree to ensure a good harvest. Consider planting a ‘Delicious,’ ‘Honeysweet’ or ‘Bartlett’ pear within 50 feet, so the flowers are cross-pollinated by bees and other pollinators. If you plant dwarf trees and keep them pruned at 8 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 7 feet wide, you can squeeze a small pear orchard into an average-size backyard. Alternately, if your space is narrow, but you have a sunny, south-facing wall, consider growing the trees as espaliers in horizontal cordon, Belgian lattice, candelabra or fan shapes on a wire trellis.

Harvest at the Right Time

Pears are harvested when still green. Otherwise, if left to ripen completely on the tree, the fruit becomes grainy. Monitor the ‘Moonglow’ fruits and begin harvesting when the pears are still hard and have just started turning yellow-green, generally in late August and September. Iowa State University points out that the small white spots on the pear skin also turn brown. Use sterilized anvil pruners to cut the stems, so you avoid damaging the fruiting spurs and fruits.

Once harvested, you can allow the fruits to slowly ripen at room temperature. If you put the pears in a paper bag, the process will take about a week. You can tell when pears are ripe by gently pressing the top of the pear next to the stem. When it softens, the pear is ready to enjoy.

Alternately, store the fruit at 32 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit for up to three months. When you’re ready to use the pears, take them out of cold storage and allow them to ripen at room temperature for seven to 10 days.


My moonglow tree produced two fruits a couple of years ago, and they were delicious. It had two or three flower clusters a couple weeks ago, no idea if I have fruit yet. I’ve never had a fire blight strike here, so no help there.


“Use sterilized anvil pruners to cut the stems, so you avoid damaging the fruiting spurs and fruits.”

This is interesting. Does anyone do this?

Does this only apply to Moonglow?

And why anvil pruners and not bypass.

1 Like


The pruners that are my favorites are ARS HP-VS8Z Signature Heavy Duty Pruners. They should run $30 - $60 depending on who you buy them from and when.

I had to prune out several more strikes yesterday on my two moonglows and a few apples. I’m wondering if it is a particularly bad year for fireblight, or if it is due to this being the first year I fertilized. This is my fourth year growing, first year fertilizing. I had a few strikes before, but nothing like this. Zone 6b, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

1 Like