Very thankful for ARS GRIN programs! A plethora of pears & apples!

As many of you are aware I mostly grow pears so any chance I get to read up about a truly impressive collection I jump on. Corvallis has the hands down best collection of any I’ve read about it The services they offer are truly the best I’ve seen anywhere! Fireblight is a serious problem in my area so growing pears and apples is challenging. It’s nice to be able to read through the descriptions to match trees less susceptible to scab, fb, coddling moth, rust etc… Note Corvallis just handles pears whereas Geneva handles the apples!&filter=0& Very thankful for these ARS GRIN programs!


Nice work, Clark. I’m sure I’m not the only one who looks forward to your posts and is thankful for the research you’re doing on pears and apples in such a challenging area. So thanks to you too!


The scions look excellent that I received from Corvallis and Geneva this year. I’m wondering exactly when to graft them since our weather has been all over the place. I’m concerned since it’s been very warm lately that it could turn hot or cold overnight. We will see how things go. Fortunately pears and apples are forgiving things to graft. Again I’m very thankful for the excellent program! The scions are huge ( 2’). This is what I received from Corvallis.


Definitely not this early! I only had consistent failure once on pears, it was when an early warm spell got me grafting. Not long after I finished it got really cold and I lost all the grafts.


I prefer to graft at mouse ears under standard conditions but this year I have a feeling I’ll be grafting during full leaf out.

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I would wait as well. I understand your frustration with the weather we have in the Great Plains, weather can act like a roller coaster this time of year.

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I’m patiently waiting Scott but if we stay in the 70’s or go into the 80’s and stay there for 2 weeks I’m going to start grafting. Kansas can jump to 90 before we know it. I’ve grafted most years in mid March but once in awhile on years like this I plant potatoes in February instead of on St Patrick’s day… I’m hoping we get some spring rains.

Mouse ear or I usually say squirrels ear sized leaves is good for grafting most fruit trees but honestly pears and apples are not that picky about perfect conditions.

That roller coaster weather has got me a few times when grafting sensitive trees. Glad I’m mostly grafting pears and apples this year.

I am going to start grafting in the beginning of March weather permitting. If there will be no hard freezes in two weeks forecast, I’ll start it. Last year was very successful for me when I started early. I actually did apricots, plums and cherries first, because they wake up faster then apples and pears. I have so much the other work in the vegetable garden, that I prefer to finish grafting earlier. I think it has also the advantage that the graft is starting to leaf out with in the same time as the main tree, which means less competition with the buds below the graft.


These wind storms we’ve had the last several years were pretty hard on grafts but some always make it.

I was out at the Corvallis NCGR picking pears a couple weeks ago and plan to be doing it again a couple weeks from now…right before the major tasting extravaganza (of many fruits) the following weekend. I’ve written down a few interesting specimens and hope to do that again. This time I am going to try extra hard to not lose my list so if I get to go out next Feb (March) to cut scions for those who request them, I’ll be able to get ones I’ve chosen from actual tasting. I’ll post a list of what I choose, in case it’s of interest to anyone.


Thanks for doing that it’s a great program!

Well, ya know, it’s a bunch of fun for me. On the second/late picking last year we wandered a bit and got some pawpaws, quinces, etc., plus I always pick up a big sack of hazelnuts. Livin’ big in the fruit world, on that trip.


I just put in a scion order for the six quinces from the Bulgaria fireblight research program. I’ve never gotten anything from the ARS GRIN service, and I’ve never even rooted cuttings before so that will be a first for me, but I’m looking forward to trying it out. I LOVE quince and I’d love to be able to grow my own if possible in my location.


I have a few other Bulgarian quince from that program, they had more seedlings sprout than they had rows to plant them out so they sent me four seedling plants a few years ago. One died and one had FB badly so I culled it. I still have two left, one in particular is very blight resistant. Hopefully the fruit is good as well.


Awesome! Good to know. I hope you get some good fruit from it too.

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How do you like to eat quince?

In pastry, mostly. Pie, obviously, and last year I made a quince-cranberry tart I liked quite a bit. I tried once to make membrillo and failed, but I want to try again–the main flavors I added were orange and cardamom and it was really tasty before it burned. Or I like them just stewed by themselves in sugar and water.

I’d also like to try it in savory applications with meat the way you do apples and pears, but haven’t gotten there yet. I’ve seen recipes for pickled quince, too.

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Gotcha. Quince is one thing I’ve never had, and I’ve heard it’s difficult to grow due to fireblight, so I haven’t bothered. It must have a unique and delicious taste in baked goods because the people I’ve known who liked it have absolutely loved it. Not sure whether to seek it out or not because then I might be bitten by the quince bug and have to grow it myself. :grin:

I got to try several kinds of quince this year at the NCGR…one very lemony, one very limey…right on the verge of tartness overload but dang were they good. First time quince eater, too. As I’m usually in a daze as I wander the place half on assignment of some sort, I often don’t write down much unless it’s part of my original mission…the quince weren’t. Maybe next year.
One pleasant surprise was that I kept in cool storage some of the Asian pears that were in the ‘non-pear’/experimental orchard and by doing so they were greatly enhanced in several ways. Normally, I’m not very impressed with Asian pears…little burst of bubble-gum flavor which quickly fades into a mealy blandness. The pears I kept were probably from a Jilin Market tree and after maybe a month in the fridge, wow…lots of more fruity bubble-gum juiciness and no big fade-out.
Also, there were only two hardy kiwi plants producing (last year, many) and they were tasty so I did write those down. One was an available cultivar: Ogden Point. I found a giant medlar, too…last year, a giant quince…ya just never know.


I would love to work there! Since I’m in Kansas hearing you tell me about your adventurous job is the next best thing! You have a unique opportunity so I’m hopeful this year you take your smart phone as much as possible with you and take pictures of some of those beautiful trees and fruit if it’s not against the rules! I’m salivating reading about those quince and Asian pears. I ate a quince from the store and it tasted good but I felt like I had no saliva left in my mouth. Please keep us posted! You work for an employer who is actually making the world a better place which must feel great! I’m not sure if you can photograph tags or how they are categorized.