Warren Pear

Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum, but have been a member of Back Yard Fruit Growers for many years. I found you because I’m getting impatient with a Warren that I grafted so long ago that I can’t remember when it was; I think 8 or 9 years. At this point it looks pretty nice, trunk about 4" diameter, height 10’ to 12’. Last year it finally showed a few flowers, this year I was encouraged with the number of flowers, but no fruit set either year. My wife has made some pointed comments about how fruit trees are supposed to produce fruit, and we have a really limited yard size, so I was thinking of taking it out until reading this, and reminding myself that we lost some apples to fireblight and this tree does seem pretty immune.

I love the description of the fruit and this page is encouraging. Can anyone recommend a good pollination partner to graft onto this Warren to make pollination more likely and more productive? My other pear, on the other side of the house, is a Frankenbush with Kieffer (I think) and Clapp’'s Favorite from my Dad’s yard, and Bosc, and I don’t think their bloom timing matches the Warren very well, plus they aren’t very close by. I can’t add another tree near the Warren, so grafting in a few branches, hopefully the same variety, seems like my best option.

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David- welcome to the forum. I’m not a pear expert but I have one branch of Warren (mid-season bloomer) grafted into Potomac- mid-season bloomer and an excellent tasting fireblight resistant pear. I can’t find a good bloom date chart for pears on google- I bet @clarkinks knows one.

I recall reading that Warren blossoms do not appeal to bees so grafting in one or even two other mid-season bloomers is a good idea. Just be sure to check blight resistance if you’re in blight country. Dave Wilson nursery calls Warren partially self-fertile but I recall other growers having a hard time getting it pollinated.

I bend my pear scaffolds to near horizontal when young- that changes hormone flow and speeds up fruiting. In older rigid branches you can cut a “hinge” on the underside of the branch where it meets the trunk then pull the branch horizontal with soft rope or similar. See hinge discussion: How to cut a hinge?

Not pruning until after it fruits speeds up fruiting.
Some rootstocks also delay fruiting but I can’t speak to that.

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@dwootton @hambone
Pollination can be challenging but it does not need to be. Ewart aka Karl’s favorite is a good tree to graft it in the same tree with Is it worth it to grow the Warren pear

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Although I love pears, I had never heard of Warren until I tried it a few years ago from an orchard about 10 miles away from me. We don’t have a lot of winter chill here, but this nearby orchard has great success growing fruit that is not considered low-chill.

I fell in love with the Warren pear the first time I tried it. The taste and texture were amazing. When I renovated my front yard in 2020, I finally had the opportunity to plant pear trees, and Warren was my first choice. The others were Bartlett, Seckel, and California. Bartlett and California are both blooming right now. Warren has not bloomed, but is in full leaf and put on a lot of vegetative growth last year, so I am hopeful it will succeed here if I am just patient.

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Thanks @hambone for the advice. Actually, my scaffold branches are fairly horizontal near the trunk, but they love to bend skyward as they grow each year, and the top-facing buds make the most vigorous branches off the scaffold. I can influence the younger tips to stay in the right direction so I don’t think I need to cut a hinge, but tell me more about not pruning until after it fruits. Since it has not fruited yet, do you mean timing my pruning toward summer or even fall for now, rather than dormant pruning. Or do you mean leaving the tree unpruned until after the first year it sets fruit? I’m nervous about the latter, especially with the tendency for everything to turn/grow upwards

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@dwootton On my two pear trees I followed advice of @alan to delay any pruning at all until after the tree produces first fruit. Or as Dr. Jim Cummins says: “plant your pear then lock your pruners in the kitchen drawer until it fruits.” It worked- got fruit in two to three years on semi-dwarf rootstock.

Then when you do prune “find the tree within the tree.” That means take your time to ID your keeper scaffolds and prune away the excess.

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It is true many remove their pear fruit wood every year during pruning season. I’ve watched them do it and people still did not listen. Then they talked again about not getting pears.

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Yeah, you can’t try and keep a pear on standard root a size that you can pick from the ground. Something gotta’ give. It’s the fruit if you keep cutting.

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By the way, Warren Pear is self-fertile; its the only pear tree for blocks and bears here like crazy. Takes forever to come into bearing, but is reliable after that. It’s worth the wait.

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I had a large pear tree in the yard with two main stems. I cut both of them off about 3 feet above the ground and grafted one with Warren, the other with Magness. Why graft on a tree with stems 6 inches diameter? It should push them to fruit in about 4 years. I will have to work on them a lot to heal a scar that large, but if done properly, should be a good long term producer.

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I didn’t know it was self-fertile. So I should hand-pollinate next year to be on the safe side?

@applenut

How did it do in Africa?

FWIW I had an (first) small crop last season on a tree planted in 2017, Warren on OHxF 333. So three years, which seems fine. There are other pears nearby.

I bought the tree from Trees of Antiquity. It was large, thick, and well-branched compared to other new trees I’ve purchased.

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Clarkinks, I haven’t heard any reports. They’ve been concentrating on apples, which has a screaming demand. They grafted 30,000 trees this spring.

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I understand what you are saying.
My experience with letting the trees grow with no pruning is that I have multiple trunks, usually starting really low - below 12", and super steep crotch angles, with very upright (not horizontal) growth. Then it looks like a complete mess and there doesn’t seem to be a decent tree within the tree! Then I wish I would have pruned or pinched back to keep the multiple trunks and bad crotch angles to a minimum. Seems like the trees waste all kinds of growth on the trunks/limbs that are in the worst positions!
Although I have to say that when I look at the oldest pears growing on farms and ranches around here, 60 to 140 yr old pears, they have what I would consider terrible form if it were my tree. Most have multiple trunks all originating from one spot, with basically all vertical growth. Very tight , narrow “V” crotch angles. Yet they produce tons of pears every year. They do split branches occasionally, but keep on growing.

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@KSprairie I might not prune until after fruiting but I definitely train branches to form good crotch angles. And if buds emerge way too low on the trunk for a permanent scaffold I’ll rub them off when still tiny so the tree does not miss them. And I would eliminate a double leader the instant I see the potential for same. All about watching it closely the first few years.

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I agree! Early on, all I did was watch, because I didn’t realize the benefit of rubbing off buds and shoots. I just watched and couldn’t decide what to do. :roll_eyes: When it became apparent that some of the growth was problematic, I pruned it out, so I did way too much pruning when pears were young. We know how pears respond to that!
Even now I have to keep reminding myself to pinch back or remove shoots/buds that are ill-placed or to vigorous. Not pruning before fruiting doesn’t mean do nothing. (Repeat to self, over and over!) Thanks for the tips. Hopefully some of my mistakes can help others learn the right way to proceed.

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That is the same as how I start my trees. Start the limbs like you want them.

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I grafted Warren onto aronia rootstock. It produced much faster: normal-like 3 years. It leans over though. Good pears. We don’t have fireblight, but it’s still a good pear.
John S
PDX OR

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First warren. Dropped in my hand. Seems kind of early even for my area. Tree was planted in spring 2016. There’s one more hanging on the tree. I’ll keep it in the fridge a couple of weeks unless someone else has a better idea.

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