Placed an order from Lawyer nursery today for 100 pyrus betulifolia rootstocks. They were available in 3/32 only and not until early next year. I’m going to use them for my future Asian pear planting venture. The rootstocks were difficult to find this year. They grow typically 130% of standard. The pears ran about .45 cents each but by the time they arrive the cost is .85 cents per tree. I will need to let these grow out a year or two before I can graft them. In the meantime we have another 100 ohxf 333 on the way. People say the fruit is dwarfed for Asian pears on any rootstock other than pyrus betulifolia though I’m not at all sure if that’s true or not, What do you think of pyrus betulifolia and why? I know I am planting pears for my heirs…
Pyrus Betulifolia rootstock aka BET pear rootstock aka Birch leaf pear rootstock
Harbin is another pear rootstock that is rarely used but the defunct Bear Creek nursery used to use for Asian pears because of it’s high level of cold tolerance. I have a nice Korean Giant I ordered from them over 25 years ago on it and it is the nicest Asian pear tree in form and vigor I have anywhere.
Betula is my second pick for A pear roostock after Harbin. I’ve heard from nurserymen that there is a wide range of hardiness in various strains of Bet. but trees I order on it have never suffered from what we get here. Certainly its been fine down to -17F or so on the strain ACN uses.
Asian pears are dwarf enough without slowing them down with other pear rootsocks (besides the cold susceptible Cal) unless you want a full dwarf tree. I speak from some experience with A. pears on ohXn 97 trees. They take too long to establish as well. FNand B Inventory says A. pears on E.pear rootstocks are relatively short lived.
Thanks I had considered Pyrus ussuriensis aka harbin pear. Lucky has a couple of trees on Pyrus ussuriensis and said exactly what you did about them being very nice. I asked about them back in 2014 on gw. The pear rootstocks lawyer is selling at the moment are BET and harbin or quince for those who want to go that way. Sounds like great advice so I may switch my order. http://www.lawyernursery.com/productinfo.aspx?productSpecies=Pyrus%20ussuriensis.&categoryid=39
My understanding is that the harbin pear is actually a parent of modern day Asian pears ( see the website below) BET could be a decision I regret later as they sucker profusely at the base. I can also get the harbin in a larger size and bench graft them http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pyrus+ussuriensis
The 333 I was planning to use for my FB resistant European / sand pear project eg. Douglas, magness etc. which should produce sellable fruit quickly. I was going to use the 333 if I had to as a way to store some Asian scion wood until my bet got large enough. Getting scions for 100 Asian pears may be challenging. Your idea for using the harbin pear solves two problems because then I can bench graft my 333 right away with the right FB resistant scions and start grafting my Asian pears on the harbin.
I’ve not found the Bet suckering an important issue in the grand scheme of things. Comes in handy if the top tree dies to regraft an already established roots system. 5 minutes extra work a year, probably.
Asians require so little pruning anyway compared to the free standing apples I usually have nearby.
I decided to stay with BET as I acquired another 20-30 Asian pear trees today in a trade which will give me more than enough scion wood for the BET seedlings from Lawyer Nursery by the time they are ready. The majority are Hosui and Korean Giant.
Do you guys know how large an Asian pear tree should get on betulifolia? I can’t find much info on expected tree size.
Bet is a vigorous rootstock, but A. pears are naturally small and precocious trees so can be kept pretty small on it if one prunes it that way- say 9’ tall with similar spread.
That sounds great, thanks Alan.
Does anyone have any experience with Asian pear espalier? I have a few additional BET rootstock and a location where an espalier would be nice. I am wondering if the pruning required for espalier would not go well with the auckering habit of BET. Any thoughts?
Bet grows like a weed. I would not recommend it for espalier. You would be pruning huge amounts of growth every year.
For Asian pear, I believe Bet should be fine, I’ve never seen an Asian pear that can’t be kept small because they are so spurry by nature and all the ones in my nursery are on Bet. Asian pears are wonderful here as espaliers because some of them sometimes don’t get sweet enough when grown as free standing trees. A southern wall especially helps them get up the sugar. I’m in NY though.
Do they sucker profusely at the base prior to fruiting? My Asian pears did that and I was concerned about fireblight.
I’m glad to hear they work well as espalier on BET in the northeast. I’ll give it a go and see what happens!
I don’t think of Bet as a sucker producer, so it couldn’t be too bad, but that is a tendency I only notice if it is a constant problem because even at its worst it’s not a big issue, at least here. Not had any issues with FB with any Asian pears here, but I know it’s different further south.
Any update on your choice of BET for Asian pear rootstocks? Did it turn out to be a good choice?
I’m trying to decide between BET or OHxF97.
All 4 of my Asian pears are on Bet. They do well in hard clay soil. Can highly recommend. One tree, Hosui had minor fire blight strike first year. I think they would be very vigourous in good soil - maybe to vigourous.
No suckering on Bet. for my trees.
Thank you. It’s good to know.
It’s been a great choice because even in clay soil mine are vigorous as Spuddaddy mentioned. That’s what makes BET and callery such good rootstocks in my poor soil. They can sucker and some of mine do but the ones bred to be rootstocks typically don’t have as much that problem. Wild BET will sucker like crazy sometimes. That vigor can be a magnet for fireblight so I would not graft a susceptible scion on BET or Harbin. They grow like crazy! Rapid growth is something very attractive to fireblight.
Clark, what is your spacing going to be on your BET and 333 trees? I recently read that 87 could be planted as close as 5 foot apart for a high density orchard which seems really close and goes against the standard recommendation of 12"-15’. I guess that the Asian varieties can generally be planted closer that Euro types.
I am about to plant several Asian and Euro pears on 333 and 87 and want to go as close as possible without having to constantly fight against the natural grow habit of the trees.