Recommendations for Cold Hardy Pears, Zone 4

This is my first post, and I’d like to thank you for having me. I’m in Northern Maine’s Aroostook County, Zone 4A, and my goal is to install an pear and apple orchard with cold-hardy varieties. In 2017 and 2018, my kids and I planted 400 Bartlett pear root stock from Lawyer Nursery, and those have shown about 99% survival rate in our depleted, acidic soil, even through a couple summer droughts. What cold-hardy pear varieties have you all had luck with in Zone 4? I enjoy Bosc, but everything I’ve seen shows them to be a minimum Zone 5. I’m currently growing my own P. Ussuriensis and P. Betulifola seedlings in the hope I can find an Asian pear that’ll survive Zone 4. Much appreciated!

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Try Golden Spice, Dana’s Hovey, White Doyenne, Flemish Beauty, Ure, Warden’s Seckel. All seem to do well for me in 4b in a somewhat sheltered area.

Here are some sold in this area (NW Montana): Canyonview Nursery, MT Grafted & Grown Nursery Stock

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I was recommended harrow sweet by @clarkinks, it survived its first winter in 4b. Mine is still a whip.

Moonglow did not survive for me, that is all the experience I have so far. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks! I’m pretty sure Ure and Golden Spice are both P. Ussuriensis, those would probably be a good graft match to my P. Ussuriensis root stock. I’ll check out those other varieties. Is there a fruit you prefer of the group you suggested?

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A favorite? Well, I like them all, and I’m just grateful to be able to grow and eat them here, but I will mention White Doyenne and Dana’s Hovey as being particularly outstanding.

I have a couple of the Harrow series but they haven’t fruited yet. I’m really excited about Clark’s Little Yellow Pear, but I’m at least a year from seeing fruit on it.

I should mention too that I have a neighbor who grow Boscs with no issues, but my scion has never fruited. We’re waiting …

:-)M

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Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t heard of Harrow Sweet, but I looked it up and as a fellow P. Communis, should graft on my Bartlett seedlings and be pollen compatible. I’ll probably end up getting a larger tree as a source of scion wood for when my root stock are ready.

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Hi! I am in Can zone 4b. I grow Shinseiki (asian) and Savignac (european) here. Shinseiki is 4 years old, on a dwarfing rootstock, unfortunatly. I would highly suggest this cultivar, on a standard size rootstock! I am putting in Harvest Queen, Northbrite, Kosui and Hayatama this year. We’ll see how it goes. Cold hardiness doesn’t seem to be a big problem here. Disease pressure is a bigger problem for me (fireblight, scab, other things).

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Thank you, I just looked at a Seuri pear that supposedly survives to Z4, and that led me to Shinseiki. Would you recommend P. Betifolia or P. Ussuriensis as root stock? Also, does the Shinseiki needs a pollinator, and if so what do you use? I’m probably going to run some ungrafted P. Betifolia and P. Ussuriensis intermixed with the grafted trees for pollinators anyway.

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I really couldn’t tell you about these rootstock. My tree is on OHxF87 and I don’t like it because it keeps the tree small (asian pears are already smaller than european) and it produces lots of suckers. But there are many things to look for in a rootstock… Compatibility, cold hardiness, disease resistance, size, vigor, suckering, soil type… Maybe try to find out what works best for people in your area or go with your guts !! :slight_smile: . Seuri seems good too… All asian pears seem good, lol. Best of luck in your project!!

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welcome Don. nice to finally see someone from the ‘’ county’’ on here. I’m up in frenchville on the can. border. i just grafted 3 pear varieties on my mountain ash and they took last summer and put on good new growth. don’t remember what varieties they were. by next week i could tell you. snows going fast now.

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I’m in central MN, used to be zone 3b now they call it 4a. I had -38 last winter and a number of folks in the area had -40 or lower.

Pears that have survived here:
Ure
Golden Spice
Early Gold
Waterville
Okolo
Tyson
Southworth
Sauvignac
Walden Large
Hill

Too early for me to say what varieties are the “best” as most have yet to fruit. I have had fruit on Ure and Early Gold and they were ok. None of my pears have growth rates approaching my apples. Pears just grow slowly in the north

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Your 4a does not sound that close to what they tell me is now 4b here in western MT. I suspect we’re closer to 5a, and that you’re closer to 3b! And pears seem to do pretty well here.

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This area should never have been changed to 4a IMHO. -30 to -35 temps are seen every couple years at least. Lots (and lots and lots) of -20 to -30 lows most winters.

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Have you tried many pears that were not hardy for your temps?

Tyson is borderline hardy here. It gets tip dieback most every winter and grows more slowly than do the other varieties I grow. I have done a fair amount of research on winter hardy varieties of pears as I am no longer interested in zone pushing. When I lived and grew fruit trees in southcentral WI 5a, I did some zone pushing. Just not worth it here.

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I was thinking I should also share these informations with you:

Early seckel was suggested to me by someone who lives in Saguenay, Qc (CAN zone 3/4). He said it was delicious. https://poirespetitsag.wordpress.com/

He also suggested Summer Blood Birne, as an interesting scab resistant red fleshed pear (for perry?).

I think it was @clarkinks that suggested Enie, Menie, Miney and Moe pears, for their cold hardiness and good/ok flavour. That is the reason why I got Savignac, since some suggest it may have originated from the same breeding program and it is widely available here.

You probably know about russian pears such as Vekovaya, Larinskaya, Bolshaya, Krasnobokaya, Krazulya, etc. They are grown succesfully in Alberta (CAN zone 3/4). https://dbgfruitgrowers.weebly.com/. I think they are sweet, but also sour and astringent… Beautiful fruits.

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Luscious pears do well here just east of St. Paul, MN, but they require a lot of thinning. Most years Clapps Favorite has done well, but didn’t fruit much after the cold winter of 2018-19. Summercrisp doing well, too, but also needs a lot of thinning. My Flemish Beauty is just starting to bear, so can’t give it a rating yet. I have a young Cold Snap, so in a few years will be able to rate it. I tried some grafts of Harrow Sweet, but they failed. Maybe next year I will try again.

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you guys are the only ones probably even colder than we are in the lower 48. and with less snow than us it makes it a even bigger challenge to grow any tree fruits. yet you’re doing it. :wink:

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I got some Luscious and Beireschmitt scions from a fellow pear grower south of me a few hours. I lost a Beireschmitt two winters ago, but I want to give that variety one more try. Luscious pears are surviving in my general area, so they might make it here too.

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I’m pretty bullheaded when it comes to apple and pear trees. Once I moved here, I spent quite a bit of time researching what might survive here and focused on those varieties. One positive I do have is some relatively decent soil. Glacial till for the most part, but there’s plenty of loam and clay mixed in. Native soil ph right around 6 is helpful as well.

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