Russian Pear Update

A number of folks have asked how the Russian pears I am testing in my zone 3 climate are doing. The bottom line is most are sadly just not hardy enough, and most have died. I would say they are zone 4 hardy, but two years ago I hit -42C, and last winter -40C here in central Alberta. So even the 16 year old frame trees of Krazulya died, and so did all the many grafts on the Krazulya trees.

Folks automatically think “if its from Russia it must be very hardy”. This is not really true, and many of their fruit trees are bred in south west Russia, which largely has what would be considered a zone 6 climate. They have palm trees growing along the streets in Sochi, in south west Russia along the Black Sea which would be zone 8, borderline zone 9 by our standards. Hobbyists can even now grow peach trees unprotected in the wamest microclimates of Moscow!

About the only area in Russia that has a similar climate to the Canadian Prairies would be “the western Siberian plateau” with lows down to -40C or slightly colder, same as Alberta.

I did get a few years of fruiting on some varieties, but in my climate, as soon as I get a “test winter” most of these Russian pears simply could not take the cold and died. I’d say they are hardy to about -35C easy, but not the -40C I can get. But they were large and tasty, and here are a few photos of some before they winter killed.


This may be up your alley @TheDerek


sad to hear Bernie. im in z3b. /4a northern M.E. i have 6 grafts on mountain ash that are supposedly z3 hardy from FEDCO. i believe they are nova, patten, stacyville dont remember the rest. a few are z4 hardy like bartlett and summer crisp. we havent had a test year in 5 yrs. so not sure how they will hold up. its been even longer since we saw -40f/ -40c. maybe 10yrs. we broke our all time coldest record in 08’ of -50f. alot of the hardy fruit trees got serious damage or died so i was following you hoping you would get some of your trials to be available here someday. hopefully a few of mine make it to production. climate change has shifted us into more 4a now but the chance of a freak winter is still possible.

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What are the pears called in your photos?

where did you happen upon russian pear wood for grafting?

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I see that question shut this conversation down quickly.


maybe snuck in scions? to add to this all 6 of my pear grafts on my mountain ash survived and put on growth this summer after 3 -40 days last winter with no protection in a exposed area. thought for sure the z4 hardy ones like bartlett were toast. maybe the ash conveyed some cold resistantence to the scions? my z4 hardy monty cherry right next to it had 40% damage.

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Don’t believe I have an Russian. But, benchgrafted around 20 pears and lost over half. But, my grafts to callery pear trees almost all took.

Glad you can do pears. I do have the Maine “Stacyville” grafted to callery…don’t know if I’ll get to sample it next summer or not.

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the original tree is about 60 mi. south of me. hopefully mine fruit next year.

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The wood was brought in beginning in 2003. See this old thread Krazulya Pear
Bernie was a NAFEX member at that time. He worked with the proper people in Canada. Im not sure how they came to Alaska and the rest of the USA but likely in a similar fashion. Russia was going through near chaos at that time.

This is where they came from in Siberia SRIHS | Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS)

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