Here I go again trying to fit more fruit trees into a limited space. On the back side of my orchard I have a section about 80’ long that I can plant a row of trees. The purpose of this row is primarily to be a visual screen with fruit coming into second place. The row has a little steeper incline so I want to do a minimal amount of work growing them. Probably get one of those pole pickers as the taller trees start to fruit. I have 4 Kieffer seedlings I can plant and graft varieties of my choice later on. Assuming I go this route I want the most fireblight varieties so as to cut down on wood removal. Some varieties I currently have for consideration are. Ayers, Potomac, Shenandoah, Orient, Improved Kieffer, Harrow Sweet, Korean Giant, Dripping Honey, Clark’s Small Yellow, Harrow Sweet and Harrow Delight. I’m fairly confident that the Orient and Ayers will be fairly resistant to FB. What is your opinion for varieties considering my needs?
Warren and Magness
I forgot mention before but I do have Warren. Thanks
Sunrise is touted as highly FB resistant. I’ve had my eye on but haven’t bought yet. I think clark has it.
I put Potomac in this Spring hoping for good things.
I think Potomac will be a good choice. I have several varieties and plan to use scions from what I already have. Thanks
Do you want a little at a time or one big picking? I’m the former, so I have Harrow Delight early and Harrow Sweet + Potomac late. Stretches harvest out over five weeks. Harrow Sweet is my favorite for flavor, Potomac for yield, but they’re all great. My Harrow Delight defoliated first, but it hasn’t seemed to hurt its vigor or yield. All are no-spray, blight free, and doing ok under high rust pressure.
I am well pleased at the appearance of “ Summercrisp”. After some consistent branch bending. Took about 7 years to come into production, though. If it weren’t a pear, it would be a crabapple. Every old pear tree in the neighborhood started bearing fruit after I planted it.
I’m even more pleased with “Harvest Queen” which I planted after some rave reviews here.
The only bad thing I can say about it is that it’s not a very vigorous tree. I’d put the taste at an “8” with hope for improvement as it ages.
Because of its precociousness and relative lack of vigor, I speculate that stunting out could be a problem. Thin hard and consider using a more vigorous rootstock.
Good idea on staggering ripening times. My primary interest is selecting as low a maintenance tree as possible and for a screen.
The big contenders I found were honey sweet, Magness and Warren. I tasted a Warren pear and it tasted like you were eating brown sugar. Magness needs another pear but that is not much of a problem. Issue with both Warren and Magness is they are slow growing. I am talking possible 10 years before fruit. You may want to look at rootstocks as well even though you plan to use Kieffer for rootstock. I know OHxF 333 is supposed to be super winter hardy, resistant to wooly aphids and is resistant to fireblight so that may lessen some of the growing pains for example even if it means less fruit.
Which ones did you decide on?
I’m still not sure which varieties I will use as some haven’t fruited yet. My current plans (could change) are to add Callery plants this winter and graft onto them later. I might not fence this area so I think the Callery has the best chance of getting out of the deer reach area. I see a few Callery growing around my area and the deer seem to leave them alone.
I would definitely recommend Callery for rootstock. I’m sure you could find some ~1" diameter ones nearby that someone would be happy for you to dig up, and that would give you a head start over planting from seed. The other pears I’ve heard good things about growing in the Southeast with little maintenance are Maxine, Turnbull, LeConte, and Pineapple. There’s also a great variety that a friend of mine in McDonough, GA grows and that I have started recently which he calls Gold Crisp. He has talked to quite a few people and hasn’t been able to figure out what it is, but it makes a great tasting pretty sweet pear that is somehow both crisp and soft and requires no spraying. I can send some scion wood if you PM me. I also should have wood of Maxine and Turnbull.
Thanks for the ideas. I grew Turnbull about 20 years ago and it was a very unusual tasting pear. I’ve been considering adding it back with a couple of grafts. If your interested in a swap of scions I might have something your interested in.
Definitely! We’re in very similar zones, so whatever your favorites of your no-spray fruits are would be great. We can coordinate further once it’s scion cutting season.
Come to SW Ohio and you can have all the Callery pear trees to graft you want. PLEASE take a million times more of them than you need. There are invasive and taking over every bare spot they can. Fields and fields full of them. Ohio nurseries are not allowed to sell Bradford pear trees or anything that is a spin off of the Bradford pear. It is that bad here. So, come on up and grab a truck full of the Callery trees. I mean what are neighbors for?
Apparently some neighbors are vicious psychos who feel sadistic glee with hand rubbing and snickering when they think about foisting callery pears off on unsuspecting fruit growers. Semantics is the art of turning a piece of half-raw castrated bull meat into a sizzling hot juicy rib-eye steak. Or maybe it is the art of grafting Warren pear on top of a callery rootstock.
I have a few dozen pear trees grafted over the last 2 years. All but one are on callery rootstock. All are thriving. But I’m not like my neighbor with half a dozen Bradford pears planted in my yard spreading untold millions of seed every year.