Recommendations for a z3 hardy, fireblight resistant , early fruiting pear variety

been considering removing a tree and replacing with a pear. I’ve researched some but when i find one that fills the above criteria, i can’t find a nursery that has it. you northern growers have any recommendations?

Can’t really help much but I’ll definitely be following to see what others say. I did plant a couple pears this year though, one Hudar from st. Lawrence and one luscious from my conservation district.

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Check the varieties sold by St Lawrence. He gives descriptions and zone hardiness.

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If you find an early fruiting, zone 3b hardy pear please let me know.

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i looked at them this afternoon. many are out of stock. cricket hill has a shipova pear grafted on aronia rootstock. supposed to be z4 hardy. rootstock is z3 hardy. its naturally dwarf (6-8ft) and bears 2-3 yrs. earlier than regular pear on pear roots. i just ordered one. i wondered if the aronia rootstock would be a issue later down the line but i researched it and i guess there isn’t a problem. shipova isn’t resistant to fireblight but aronia is so might make the graft more immune. I’ve had aronia here for 5 yrs. with no spray and no fireblight. shipova is self fertile as well.

all the pears listed on their website are z3a hardy. there are a few varieties still available. some are self pollinating. I’ve got a few apple
trees from them and they were nice big healthy trees. also grown in z3b so you know they will be hardy to our cold.

What St. Lawrence lists as hardy there is not the same as what is hardy here. There’s a big difference between zone 3 in the northeast and zone 3 in the upper midwest (IMHO). I’d think you’d be safe with their recommendations though

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i agree. you guys get more drying wind and less snow to protect the trees. but i would think their claim to hardy to -50f , if true would cover you as well.

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there are types that canadian breeders have developed that are hardy to z3 mid west. just would be pricey to have them ship to the U.S.

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St. Lawrence considers Liberty to be borderline hardy in zone 4 as I recall. Mine came through last winter (-38 F for a low, many, many days of -25 to -30) and is in full bloom. SLN considers Eastman Sweet to be “extremely hardy”. One of mine is dead and the other suffered pretty severe tip dieback.

I do use SLN’s ratings as a guide, but I don’t take what they say as being completely accurate for this area.

On another note, Walden Heights nursery has done quite a bit of research of winter hardiness in northern VT. I got a Leo and Redrock from them a few years ago (both are feral apples they found growing there). Both are reported as being nearly bulletproof for winter hardiness there. Here, my Redrock lost a limb to winter damage and the Leo isn’t looking great this spring. I’m fearing delayed winter mortality. Obviously, I’m hoping for the best with both.

I think winter hardiness is an extremely complicated issue and likely changes from site to site within a growing zone.

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Canadian here. Whiffletree Farm is a source I’ve used and they have 2 zone 3 pears on offer now. ( one is 2-3) Both are listed as FB resistant. One of mine is the Summercrisp. We got our first fruit off it last year (2nd year in the ground) and they were fine, but more of a cooking than fresh eating pear. It also was not as productive as its pollinating partner, the Luscious.
Yes, shipping will likely suck, but they do bareroot so at least that is better than potted.

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I’ve checked them out .man i wish it was easier to get plants between countries! id have all Canadian cultivars here!

Too bad. I had hoped you might be able to do at least some shipping over the border.
I’ve been very happy with what we’ve gotten from them. My friend has had some trouble with their micro peaches however.

Summercrisp and Luscious are both pears developed and widely available in the U.S. Summercrisp from MN and Luscious from SD (as I recall)

I can’t attest to the early fruiting part of the equation, but if you want pear varieties that have been shown hardy to 3a and possibly 2b in AK and have at least decent FB resistance…Early Gold, Golden Spice, and Ure would be at the top of the list (at least for those of us in the U.S. anyway).

My Summercrisp died the second year it was in the ground…a victim of FB

I can say that my 3rd leaf Walden Large (Walden Heights Nursery intro) came through last winter with only a bit of tip dieback. It will NOT be an early fruiter however. I’d guess I’ll be waiting at least another 5-7 years for a pear off of that tree. Hill pear from WHN has suffered pretty significant winter injury here each of the last 3 winters, but it’s still alive (for now anyway). Other survivors…Sauvignac, Waterville, Southworth, and Tyson. I did lose one Southworth this spring, but another is hanging on.

No pears I’ve tried here have been what I’d call fast growing or precocious

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Steve, there are some of the Russian pears (via Canada) here in Alaska, though I don’t have any of them. I suspect you could get scion or trees from this place in Fairbanks:

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it can be done, for a price. :wink:

Unfortunately, I had a ‘good’ test summer for fireblight in my pears. I hardly ever see FB except a few brown leaves now and then. This season took care of that. We had record heat starting mid May, and record fireblight. I only have 3 fruiting trees thus far.

17 yr Stacey on OHxF97 has proven very hardy. A few fruit since 4 yrs old but first real harvest @ 11 yrs. Strong and healthy up to now. Hit hard this year with FB, 80-90% brown but some green leaves so I hope it recovers. Small fruit but nice flavor and texture. Wish I had better FB report, but this is the first year for that.

Summercrisp - planted 2006. First fruit (1) 2013. The next year it died back to several low branches (would have been under the snow). It had been a hard winter with other loses so could have been winter damage (I’m guessing). Or it could have been fireblight. I don’t know. Cut it down to a bottom branch. Regrew. Healthy, First fruit 2019. Small, unremarkable sauce fruit. Am grafting it over to Sierra. But this year, 2020, with two nearby pears fully fireblighted there were NO hits on Summercrisp. It remained wonderfully healthy as did its grafts.

My other pears are all young, grafted from 2017-2020, most on usseriensis, no fruit yet. So too early to give them much of a hardy, early fruiting or FB rating. But they are healthy and no FB in spite of this years hit. Patton, Southworth, and two unknowns are on their own rootstocks.

I have many grafts on the badly fireblighted Stacey and an old rootstock tree. On Stacey - Nova, Sierra and Gifford grafts didn’t show any signs of FB (in spite of brown all around them). Lost Southworth, Flemish, Hudar. On a multigraft usseriensis Hudar and one Nova were fine but Gifford, Flemish and another Nova died of FB (the rootstock showed no hits). Shows how hard it is to judge FB resistance I guess. Was it rootstock or chance that some did, some didn’t?

On the old 40 ft fireblighted pear (which was indeed a sad sight) all grafts died (most of the varieties above) except an old unknown pear from northern U.P. But given the extend of the FB on the nurse tree I think it would have been hard for anything to survive. Which says a lot for those lone healthy unknown variety grafts! When I have scions to share of that one I’ll be happy to share them with all our cold climate members! I do have a graft on its own rootstock, 3 yrs old, which has been setting blossoms these past two years. It’s sure looking like your prize z3 hardy, fireblight resistant, early fruiting variety. Maybe I’ll let it set one fruit if it blossoms this coming year (it’s still a small 4 ft young tree).

Sure wish someone would get a Canadian Beedle down here. Sue


I have a Summercrisp that is very winter hardy, and is also very early. The pears are very mediocre for fresh eating, but make wonderful crisp and upside-down cake. Easy to freeze, as no peeling required. The peels just seem to melt away in baked desserts. I also have a Luscious, which is a very good fresh eating pear, but it is a very late pear. It seems quite hardy, too, producing a crop even in years my Clapps hardly has any. It tends to bear in clusters of five, so needs thinning, which Is difficult on high branches. The picking I can do with a Twister or basket-type pole picker, but how to thin? My Cold Snap and Flemish Beauty are not in full production yet, so too early to give a verdict on them. So far none have gotten fireblight.