Top working Callery Pears weather permitting

Everyone has their tricks growing fruit. Some tricks growing pears I don’t even realize I use I’ve done them so much. My goal is always to get fruit which can be challenging with pears so tricks like top working can get you fruit years before you should have it. These trees have produced fruit for years now. I thought I would bump this topic for those who might need this.

So sometimes someone asks me what happened to that old pear anyway? This pear needs pruned but the tree has been producing lots of fruit for years now.

That’s way too tall, going to smaller trees more sooner than later.
Keep checking for my little battery powered saw to find some more work for it.


I’ve been eating these Douglas pears for years now from this old callery tree I top worked. Highly recommend if you have a tree like this you do the same. I’ve top worked lots of large callery pears through the years. For the small amount of time it takes to top work a tree it’s worth it 1000x over.


I’ll need some Douglas scions if I’m going to “do the same” :upside_down_face:

Is it an excellent cultivar?

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My opinion is Douglas is a good pear. The flavor is good enough but not complex it tastes more like an apple than a pear. This year I had some that lacked flavor of any kind for the first time Douglas Pear


Some rootstocks got away from me a little bit so you know what I will be doing this spring again. That may sound like a long time but it’s 2 or 3 months away. It happens quickly with BET and callery. Like to graft them when they are about 5 feet tall. It’s like picking strawberries :strawberry: or green beans! Get them off the ground in elevated beds to save yourself a soar back. In addition I graft pears higher because rabbits don’t like the taste of callery and BET rootstocks but they love the grafted pear taste.

Just when I start researching topworking pears, I see this thread at the top of the forum! I am always amazed by the useful information I find in this forum, and am so grateful to people (like Clarkinks) who share their knowledge. Especially with pictures!

At my parents’ house (zone 7A NJ) is a random wild callery pear volunteer that’s approximately 15-20 feet tall, and grows about 15 feet away from a saltwater bay, right next to the fence that separates my parents’ yard from their neighbor. Neither my parents nor their neighbors planted the tree, so I think a bird was sitting on the fence and “deposited” the seed that eventually grew into the callery pear. Neither my parents nor their neighbors care much about the tree, so I was hoping to top-work it to edible pears.

I have set up trades for harrow sweet, harrow delight, and potomac. Do you think those varieties would work? I was worried that edible pears might fail because they’re so close to saltwater. And I have to make sure that the tree is completely spray free, because it is so close to the bay (my parents actually aren’t allowed to use any fertilizers or other gardening chemicals in their yard).

I have never grafted anything before. But I’ve been internet-researching, and my plan is to essentially chop the whole tree off about 1 or 2 feet above the fence, and bark-graft onto the two “main” trunks (which are about 4" across), with 2 scions per trunk (to increase likelihood of healing/taking), and then also cleft graft onto the remaining few smaller twigs/branches that are coming out of the two main trunks and the third tinier trunk. Does that seem like it would work?


Not allowed fertilizers…yet I bet there’s ducks on the water…and they are notorious for depositing ‘fertilizer’…
so maybe the
‘authorities’ should ban that fertilizer source too? :laughing:

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They actually get surprisingly few ducks there! I think maybe because it’s salt water, and ducks prefer fresh?

Seagulls, on the other hand, are ALL OVER. And yes, their “deposits” are numerous :stuck_out_tongue:



Don’t think you will have any problems growing pears as long as the salt mist isn’t hitting them directly. They can take some salt I’ve used ocean salt on my trees before which is great in small amounts. Cleft grafting might be best. Harrow delight is the most compatible wood of the 3 you mentioned. Old Home is a famous pear as a rootstock and it’s one of its parents. Now you may wonder how it became so famous and there are 2 reasons 1.) It’s highly disease resistant 2.) It’s excessively compatible when grafting with other pears

"This is a high-quality hybrid pear tree (Old Home x ‘Early Sweet’) x ‘Bartlett’ with an early bearing character. It is very resistant to Blight and Pear Scab.

Although The Harrow Delight Pear tree is a heavy fruit bearing tree, it will take 2 to 3 years before your young tree will begin to produce fruits. Its highest fruit production will occur every 2 years.

Proper placement of this tree can have a bearing on its successful fruit production. Avoid low-lying areas where cold pockets of air can form. A spot receiving full sun is required during the growing season in order for the fruits to succeed.

When ripening is left to occur naturally, the fruits will not ripen evenly. Remove the fruit from the tree before they are fully ripened and allow to ripen in storage for 5 to 7 days. If they are left on the tree until they are soft to the touch, they will become a soft brown gritty mush.

For the best production of fruits, prune your tree on an annual basis. For the highest quality fruits, thin your tree in late spring or early summer. The white flesh is juicy and sweet." Pyrus communis 'Harrow Delight' (Harrow Delight Pear) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

What about Harrow sweet and potomac? Well they are exceedingly good choices. Honestly those 3 pear choices are exactly what I would choose in your situation. Harrow sweet will produce fruit in 2 years on that. Harrow delight will take 3 years. Potomac 3-4 years. Leave as much of the parent tree structure as you can. Another words if it’s OK for the bottom 4 feet to be callery leave 4 feet as they bear pears faster the more you leave. You are taking years off your waiting time for fruit. Every one of those 3 fruits are good quality. The first year they will seem like good pears but that’s deceptive because in 2 or 3 years of fruiting the pears double in quality on all 3 varities at my location. The reason why is the trees get better established and it makes a huge difference. Harrow sweet will try to over produce which makes the pears smaller.


I grafted several varieties onto my wild pears. Harrow Delight and Korean Giant have done well, but Butirra Morettini has grown like a monster on the wild pear.


Thanks so much! I saw in the thread above that you prefer cleft grafting, but I was worried that the two main trunks on this callery would be too thick for that. At what thickness do you think it becomes too hard to cleft graft? The other resource I found, even though its not for pears, was this: Grafting - Peterson Paw Paws. It was helpful to me to figure out where the “cambium” is. Is it similar on a pear tree? Do you think it is easier to line the cambium up with a cleft graft? Because I’ve never done this before, my biggest concern is not finding the cambium. For a 4"diameter trunk, would you do two (or more) scions?

Also, I was planning to do this big project in early March. Are there any specific weather conditions or temperatures that I should look out for to increase the likelihood of success?

The salt rarely blows into the yard too much, because there’s a bit of a grassy marsh across the channel that baffles the biggest waves/spray. So, hopefully that’ll be good for the tree!

I’d probably make the big chop at about 4.5 to 5 feet high, just because I think that’s where the trunks/branches become a bit more manageable in size. At that point, there’s two main trunks, one tinier trunk (about 1.5 inches in diameter) that sort of snakes its way around one of the main trunks before branching out, and several tinier branches/twigs. Looking at how you shape your trees, I wasn’t sure if I should keep the 1.5" trunk (to give more opportunities to graft), or remove it, because it starts out so crowded to one of the main trunks. Do you have any thoughts? My original plan was to do grafts of harrow sweet onto one of the main trunks, grafts of harrow delight onto the second main trunk, and then potomac onto the tiny 1.5 inch trunk/branches.

I feel like you’re the hands-down pear expert on this forum, so I really appreciate your advice!

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I’m trading paw paw for your harrow delight scions, so it’s good you’re chiming in! I don’t know anything about Butirra Morettini. Do you think I should graft some of it into my callery? What does it taste like, and is it disease resistant?

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4" is OK to cleft graft but any larger use rind aka bark grafts but those take longer to heal over. Don’t have a favorite graft I use them all.


I got it because it was listed as a favorite on a curator’s list. It was just grafted last year so I can’t comment on anything other than it’s aggressive growth and easy grafting. I’ll send you some scion…I have plenty. Here’s a description as copied into the forum by Clark:
Butirra Rosata Morettini— A gorgeous early fall pear. Large; skin yellow with bright red blush; flesh white, juicy, ­flavor excellent; ripens six to seven days before Bartlett. Tree very vigorous; self-incompatible and ­considerably parthenocarpic; scarcely compatible with quince ­rootstock; peduncle thick and short; susceptible to fireblight.

Note: mine were not labeled as Rosata, just Butirra Morettini.

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I grafted B.M. two years (I originally thought it was just last year) ago to a wild pear a little smaller than your tree. Here’s what it looks like today.


Wow! That’ll be bearing in no time!

Have you had any disease issues with it? That’s my biggest concern, because my parents are on a bay, and the marsh across the channel from them is actually a wildlife/bird preserve, so they can’t use any gardening chemicals.

Also, a general grafting question: would giant fast growth on the B.M. crowd out the other varieties or make them less likely to take/survive? I’m new to this, so I’m never sure what the “right” thing to do is.

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I’ve only had B.M. for two years with no blooms, so no idea on disease pressure. I could see it outgrowing other grafts on your tree. I’ll throw in a couple sticks and you can throw them away if you decide not to use it. I’ll have way more of it than I need. That tree is just there to baby sit different varieties until I need them on other trees.

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If your not familiar with Stephen Hayes the videos from fruitwise will help you

This may be helpful as well

Pears graft easily. If it were me i would stick to your 3 picks that are disease resistant. @Sparty offer is fantastic in most situations but non disease resistant pears need sprayed sometimes and you would not have the option. Most of the pear varities we are discussing on this thread are so rare there is hardly any information available on them. The more we grow them the more common the information will be shared amongst growers.

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