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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My opinion is your right about both. Fertilizer caused more growth on a year when fireblight is everywhere. Fireblight only attacks growing tissue.
Even ‘Kieffer’ itself is flavor- improved with proper ripening in storage, Peter Kieffer said so.
These are falling off the tree so it’s time to pick. They don’t look like Moonglo picktures but that’s what the label says. They are hard so I’ll store them for awhile and see what happens.
They don’t look like moonglow to me either.
Hey Ros, which Pear varieties have been the best for you? I am growing Moonglow, Seckel, and Ayer’s but they’re just 1 yr old. I will not be spraying them
I have all those and no pears. No pears at all. Always frozen out. I’m about 6-10 degrees colder than everyone around me. I spray misted continually in freezing weather from mid March on, but I think the freezes before then took them out. They were filled with blooms however.
I moved 20 minutes north and the pear tree that had fruited all along never had another fruit in 11 years. I kid you not.
Why do I keep them you ask? I really don’t know.
I should really move the pears to a different part of the yard. There is a pretty significant difference in temps from one part of the yard to another. The yards slopes down to the creek line. One part of the yard has frost while the other does not.
The Asian pears did quite well however with a pretty good harvest on every tree.
This is an old post that popped up for me, but I am near your location so I wanted to respond. Last year I had several fireblight strikes, but none this year. I did add streptomycin to my blooming trees and once afterwards. That’s not enough data sets to say for sure that it was the difference but personally I think it was.
The previous year I also had a lot of blossom blight that did not go on to affect the tree as a whole. I would say this might speak to trees that have a natural resistance to fireblight that prevented further damage. It was almost indistinguishable from frozen buds except for the fact that they did not drop from the tree. They just held on the branch as blackened shriveled buds and decreased my yield on several trees considerably. It hit red delicious and pink lady in particular, but also many European pears.
I had none this year. Not a single one that I saw.
The proofs in the pudding as they say.
My Moonglo graft from last year finally put out some growth…but be some time before a first fruit yet.
Thanks for the follow up. I sprayed streptomycin at bloom once, maybe I should have sprayed after. It’s been a particularly hard year, worst drought on record. Lost many 1st year trees to it.