Which rootstock/nursery for Asian pear? (Raleigh NC, zone 8a)

I’m looking for a source for Korean Giant and Shinko. Here are the options I’m seeing from vendors that are still in stock that have at least some good reviews on these forums. Which rootstock is better for the clay soils/climate here? I intend to prune heavily, in the style of “Grow a Little Fruit Tree” / Tom Spellman, so plant them 5ft apart, cut them to 18" after planting, prune them to eye level every summer, etc. I.e. I don’t mind some vigor if it’ll improve tree/root health.

Seems my options at this time of year are Callery or Bet rootstocks. I definitely prefer the price of One Green World I can tell you that…

Hoping @clarkinks can give this a quick look as I think he has KG on Bet rootstock! @ncdabbler you have Asian pears in central NC, right? Do you know the root stock? How are they doing?

Bob Wells Nursery
Shinko - 5 gal, 2yr 4-5ft, $45 - rootstock: Calleryana
KG - bare root, 2yr 4-5ft, $25 - rootstock: Calleryana
(+$40 shipping)

Just Fruits and Exotics
Shinko - 3 gal, 4-5ft, $50 - rootstock: Calleryana
KG - 3 gal, 3-4ft, $50 - rootstock: Calleryana
(+$49 shipping)

One Green World
Shinko - 1 gal ($35) / bare root ($50) - rootstock: Pyrus betuaefolia
KG - 1 gal ($35) - rootstock: Pyrus betuaefolia
(+$25 shipping)

Petals From the Past
Shinko - bare root (3 gal size), $60 - rootstock: ?? they’re getting back to me
KG - bare root (3 gal size), $55 - rootstock: ?? they’re getting back to me

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I think 5’ spacing is too close for either calleryana or betulifolia, even though they are Asian pears. My KGs and Shinko are on callery, and both have a branch spread of more than 7 feet already (though I bend branches aggressively, to around 60 degrees).

If you really want very small Asians that you can keep in close, you might consider OHxF-87 (semi-dwarf) or even OHxF-333 (dwarf), but the trees might end up a bit runty! I have pears on OHxF and callery rootstocks, and the OHxF are doing okay, but the callery is clearly enjoying my soil more. Moreover, our soils are probably similar, as I am also in the Piedmont region — a few inches of good, black top soil on top of red Georgia clay. Callery is also quite tolerant of wet soil, so if your soil gets waterlogged from time to time, that’s a consideration.

I only recently planted an Asian on BET, so I don’t have a basis for comparison, but my understanding is that it is even more vigorous than callery or even European seedling rootstock — you will be getting a tree that is actually bigger than full-size for the species. Great if you want huge, vigorous trees, but not so great for 5’ spacing. Plus, there is increasing evidence that BET is more susceptible to fireblight — I believe @clarkinks lost some trees including BET rootstock last year to it. Overall, for our region, I think calleryana is the ideal pear rootstock for health and vigor, and I would preferentially choose it unless I wanted a dwarf tree.

As for nurseries, I have ordered from Bob Wells (jujubes, no issues) and OGW and JFAE. All are good, but JFAE is the best (and most expensive) of these three, in my opinion. OGW is professionally run, ships fast, has a great selection, and is basically great at everything except that they tend to send really tiny plants. Your JFAE trees will likely have much more developed roots and when the dust clears after establishment, will end up a year or more ahead of your OGW trees (which is worth a few bucks). I’d be tempted by that 5 gallon Shinko from Bob Wells, though.

We’ll see what @clarkinks has to say when he gets here, as he has forgotten more about pears than I have learned so far.


In terms of initial size of the trees, here is an example comparison.

5 gallon Korean Giant on calleryana from Edible Landscaping below:

1 gallon Raja on betufolia from One Green World (with my assistant for scale) below:

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Isons Nursery also has them for $30.95/tree. Not sure about the rootstock. You have to email and ask them.

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As chance would have it, I got a KG and a Shinko from Ison’s in 2020. They were bareroot and had good roots:

I emailed them about the rootstock and as of 2020, they were using callery. Both trees are doing great.

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@marten Great info, thanks for the first hand reports! Have you experimented much with summer pruning for size? I have zero experience, but the idea is supposed to be detail/shaping pruning in the winter, and aggressive size control pruning in the summer:

@xander, I have Asian pears on BET, calleryana, and OHxF97 (from Century Farm Orchards in Reidsville - a great resource both for trees and knowledge - David Vernon is amazing!). I can’t say I’ve noticed much difference - they all need a lot of pruning to keep them short enough to pick the fruit without a really tall ladder. David told me that he prefers OHxF97 over Calleryana because it delays growth in the spring and minimize damage from late frosts.

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Thanks, I’ve browsed their site for apples before and would love to order from them one day. Looks like they’re out of pears for the season though and I haven’t found any nurseries with Asian Pears on OHxF97 (that’s currently in stock) yet, but I’ll do a bit more searching. If you have any of the same varieties on different roots, have you noticed a difference in delayed flowering in the spring? Good to know they all work to some extent in our soil.

No, I don’t have any of the same cultivars on different rootstocks. I don’t think the delay on OHx97 is huge - but they all seem to do fine in our clay soil. I wouldn’t worry too much about the rootstocks. Asian pears grow fast and are precocious (unlike the European pears), so there isn’t much to lose by planting whatever you can find now. I have had fireblight some years, but it’s usually affecting the tips of the branches. I’ve never had it trouble the rootstocks. BET can sucker quite a bit at the base of the tree, so you have to keep those shoots trimmed back. I would highly recommend Drippin’ Honey. Mine is young and hasn’t come into full production yet, but they are the tastiest I’ve had. I like all my Asian pears, but those stand out from the rest.


Does anyone knows what is the difference between OHF 97 and OHxF 97 ?


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I have KG on OHxF87 and think it would be a good candidate to keep smaller with summer pruning. I manage a Dripping Honey on OHxF97 for my neighbor and definitely notice it has a lot more vigor and I would think would be hard to keep to size the way you have planned. They tend to want to grow vertically, so if you keep pruning against vigorous growth, I think you’d wind up just generating a lot of water shoots with few fruit buds. If you give yourself more room between trees you can bend branches down to get them fruiting.

I find KG to be fairly vigorous compared to the other (unknown) Asian pear I have on OHxF87, so definitely consider the vigor of the scion in your calculations. I’m not sure about Shinko, but perhaps it is less vigorous and would be okay on Bet, calleryana or OHxF97


I have only bought one pear tree, the rest I grafted on to root stock myself, I bought from ‘One Green World’ actually, the tree was impressive, yet I was not happy about the root stock they used, ‘Pyrus betuaefolia’ is much better than what they used on mine, although keep in mind that ‘Pyrus betuaefolia’, and that ‘Calleryana’ would make your trees grow full size. If you want your trees close together then I would get a tree on ‘OHxF 87’, it’s much easier to keep the trees smaller on that root stock, yes it’s not as fireblight resistant as ‘Calleryana’, although you can not dwarf the a tree size any with ‘Calleryana’



Korean Giant is known by many names. Every nursery has their angles eg. Free shipping or 10%off or both.

Some nurseries have reasonable prices but as ypu mention sell out quickly and dont have free shipping

Many will be on ohxf87 or ohxf97 which are both fireblight resistant but loved more by rabbits and voles than callery rootstock Korean Giant Asian Pear — Raintree Nursery

Some nurseries are reasonable

Everyone is selling out but that gives you options


Calleryana would work to be more fireblight resistant than BET. Ohxf87 or ohxf97 are equally resistant as callery. It sounds like i lean towards callery aka Calleryana but keep in mind rabbit guards can also be put in place and the ohxf rootstocks will work fine.

Anything can be spaced 5 feet apart but pruning limbs frequently will be necessary.


Are Ohxf87 and ohxf97 more resistant than Ohxf333? Do you know which rootstock Orange Pippin uses?

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I think 87 and 97 in my experience are more resistant than ohxf333. Thats what i have observed on a 150+ grown out to 4 or 5 feet then grafted.


Awesome, so I might not need to replace them, if the super strain of fireblight ever hit our area

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Not much, and certainly not “aggressive” summer pruning. The big problem with pruning pears in our climate is fireblight. No variety is completely immune (though Warren apparently comes close and rarely has more than twig damage). Pruning during the summer, when the trees are actively growing and it is warm (and moist) can open the tree to infection. Shinko is highly resistant, but there are reports of it being killed by fireblight. KG is also resistant, but not as much as Shinko.

Instead of summer pruning, you want to bend branches whenever possible.

If a pear is on full-size rootstock, it is going to want to make a certain amount of wood before it fruits. Trying to keep a tiny backyard pear on callery, BET or OHxF-97 might end up as an exercise in futility. The pear will keep fighting you, reaching for the sky, and you will keep chopping off wood every year and won’t get much fruit.

You mentioned in another thread that you wanted a Warren pear as well. If you get your Warren on OHxF-97, callery, or BET, it will eventually become an enormous tree in your fertile soil and warm climate. I would definitely recommend either OHxF-87 (which is semi-dwarf) or even OHxF-333 for the Warren.

As others have mentioned, Asian pears are naturally smaller than Euros, but even an Asian on BET or OHxF-97 is going to want to become a rather large tree. Callery is somewhat dwarfing relative to those two and will probably produce a large, but still manageable Asian. OHxF-87 is further dwarfing and might be the Goldilocks zone. OHxF-333 is probably too dwarfing for an Asian (but I don’t know from personal experience and someone more knowledgeable might say differently).

Despite all that, there are some benefits to full-size rootstock – health and longevity. A well-maintained pear tree on callery or OHxF-97 will probably still be healthy and producing fruit after you are gone.

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333, 87 ,97 are all grown specifically for fireblight resistance.


" Rootstocks for Pear

Pear Rootstocks

The majority of commercial pear trees are grown on rootstocks. Pear rootstocks impart characteristics such as vigor, precocity, disease resistance, and cold hardiness. The most commonly used rootstock worldwide is some selection of a Bartlett seedling, making it the “standard” rootstock. In rootstock trials, rootstock test scores are often expressed as a comparison to Bartlett characteristics. For example, the test rootstock may impart dwarf characteristics as 70% height compared to a Bartlett seedling tree. In North America, the most common Bartlett-type rootstock is OHxF. OH stands for “Old Home”, a name given to a seedling selection discovered in Illinois by Prof. F.E. Reimer of OSU. It was found to be resistant to fireblight, but was self-infertile. The “F” stands for Farmingdale, the town in Illinois that Reimer discovered the second Bartlett selection. Like OH, it had fireblight resistance, although not quite as good, but it was self-fertile. Old Home and Farmingdale were crossed by L. Brooks of Oregon and the resulting offspring were fireblight resistant, self-fertile, vigorous and had good cold hardiness, making it desirable as a rootstock and receiving a patent in 1960.

The graphic above illustrates the overall influence on tree size* by various rootstock combinations compared to a Pyrus pear seedling. Key to abbreviations and names: BM = P. communis series from Australia; Brossier = P. nivalis series from Angers, France; Fox = P. communis series from the University of Bologna in Italy; Horner = OHxF clonal series from D. Horner (Oregon nurseryman) and selections by OSU-MCAREC; OHxF = ‘Old Home x Farmingdale’ series; Pi-BU = Pyrus series from Germany; Pyro and Pyrodwarf = P. communis selections from Germany; QR = P. communis selections; ‘Adams’, ‘BA29’, ‘EMC’, ‘EMH’, ‘Sydo’ = Quince dwarfing rootstocks (require interstem for most pear cultivars). Selections shown in gray text indicate antiquated selections no longer in commercial production. Selections shown in purple text indicate possible susceptibility to pear decline. *This general classification of tree size may vary for different cultivars due to cultivar/rootstock interactions. This graphic was adapted from the article by Elkins, Bell & Einhorn, 2012, J. Amer. Pomol. Soc. 66(3):153-163.

The graphic above illustrates the overall influence on tree size* by various rootstock combinations compared to a Pyrus pear seedling. Key to abbreviations and names: BM = P. communis series from Australia; Brossier = P. nivalis series from Angers, France; Fox = P. communis series from the University of Bologna in Italy; Horner = OHxF clonal series from D. Horner (Oregon nurseryman) and selections by OSU-MCAREC; OHxF = ‘Old Home x Farmingdale’ series; Pi-BU = Pyrus series from Germany; Pyro and Pyrodwarf = P. communis selections from Germany; QR = P. communis selections; ‘Adams’, ‘BA29’, ‘EMC’, ‘EMH’, ‘Sydo’ = Quince dwarfing rootstocks (require interstem for most pear cultivars).

Selections shown in gray text indicate antiquated selections no longer in commercial production.
Selections shown in purple text indicate possible susceptibility to pear decline.
*This general classification of tree size may vary for different cultivars due to cultivar/rootstock interactions.
This graphic was adapted from the article by Elkins, Bell, Einhorn, 2012, J. Amer. Pomol. Soc. 66(3):153-163.

Pear varieties growing on OHxF or any Bartlett seedling rootstock tend to be large, non-porous trees. In order to get trees that are more suited to high-density plantings, rootstocks with dwarfing traits and precocity need to be used. In many parts of the world, Quince selections are used as rootstocks. This combination will result in dwarfed growth and precocity. However, Quince is not compatible as a rootstock for many varieties of pear such as Bartlett, Bosc, Forelle, Packham, Triumph, Winter Nellis and Eldorado. For these varieties, the use of an interstock (intermediate graft section) must be used. Another problem with using Quince is that most varieties are not winter hardy making it a poor choice for the Pacific Northwest. However, there are ongoing trials at OSU testing potential Quince selections exhibiting good winter hardiness (Einhorn’s work)."

The real story is slightly different

" Old Home x Bartlett?

Genetic fingerprinting reveals a case of mistaken identity.

December 2013 Issue

Geraldine Warner // November 26, 2013

Farmingdale pears are elongated with a swelling at the stem end.

Frank Reimer, pomologist at Oregon State University, first encountered Old Home and Farmingdale in an orchard in Illinois during his extensive search for pear germplasm with resistance to fireblight.

Old Home x Farmingdale pear rootstocks, which have been widely used by the U.S. pear industry for many years, should actually be called Old Home x Bartlett, it turns out.

Genetic fingerprinting done at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon, revealed that it is impossible for Farmingdale to be the pollen parent of any of the several OHxF rootstocks tested.

This prompted Joseph Postman, curator of the repository, to retrace the story behind the OHxF rootstocks. It begins a century ago when Oregon State University pomologist Frank Reimer began scouring the world for pear germplasm with resistance to fireblight, a disease that had made its first appearance in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley in 1906. Reimer was the first superintendent of the OSU Southern Oregon Experiment Station near Medford.

Two of his most important discoveries came from a 1915 visit with fruit grower Benjamin Buckman in Farmingdale, Illinois. One was the cultivar Farmingdale, an open-pollinated seedling that Buckman had found near a d’Anjou pear tree on his farm. The other was Old Home, a seedling that had come from a nursery in Illinois some years earlier. Both these trees were completely free of fireblight. Reimer took scion wood of Old Home back to the Southern Oregon Experiment Station and had Farmingdale scions sent to him several years later.

After more than a decade of testing the many pear species in OSU’s collection, Reimer found only three European cultivarsFarmingdale, Longworth, and Old Homethat had excellent blight resistance when used as trunk stocks.

After Buckman died, the original Farmingdale and Old Home trees in Illinois were destroyed, and the trees at OSU became the primary source of nursery stock.

Fireblight resistant

Reimer found in the 1930s that when Farmingdale was used as a pollen parent in crosses with other blight-resistant selections, a high percentage of the resulting seedlings were highly resistant to fireblight, especially when the seed parent was Old Home.

Although crosses between other blight-resistant parents also produced seedlings that were resistant to blight, many of those seedlings became infected when a susceptible cultivar such as Bartlett or Bosc was grafted onto them. In those cases, fireblight could spread from an infected cultivar across the graft union into the rootstock. In contrast, the OHxF seedlings were resistant even to the spread of fireblight from a grafted cultivar.

One of Reimer’s goals was to establish a mother block of Old Home and Farmingdale trees in Medford to generate seed for producing blight-resistant seedling rootstocks. However, Lyle Brooks, owner of Daybreak Nursery in Forest Grove, Oregon, became concerned about the variability of pear cultivars grafted onto OHxF seedling rootstocks. Collaborating with Dr. Mel Westwood at OSU, Corvallis, he set out to develop clonal rootstocks from those two parents.

In 1950, he obtained half a kilogram of seeds from what he described as an isolated block of Old Home trees planted with Farmingdale pollinizers at the Canadian Department of Agriculture Research Unit near Summerland, British Columbia. It now appears that Bartlett must have been planted in the vicinity of the Summerland pear block where Brooks obtained the seeds.


Of the 2,000 seedlings he grew from those seeds, 516 were planted in a nursery block for evaluation. Thirteen of the more easily propagated selections were evaluated in trials for disease resistance and many other traits, including hardiness, precocity, compatibility with pear varieties, and tolerance to pear decline, as well as resistance to fireblight.

Several, including OHxF 69, 87, 97, and 333, were patented in 1988 by Carlton Nursery, which was operated by the Brooks family. The rootstocks have been propagated worldwide and continue to be in high demand, though some lack the size control and precocity needed for high-density orchards.

More than 40 of the OHxF selections are preserved at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository. In 2009, Postman and ARS plant geneticist Dr. Nahla Bassil did genetic fingerprinting of pears in the collection and found that d’Anjou was very likely the maternal parent of Farmingdale, as Buckman and Reimer had suspected.

They then went on to do genetic paternity testing of six OHxF selections (51, 69, 87, 97, 230, and 333), along with a number of other cultivars. All the OHxF selections proved to be related to Old Home, but the tests showed that Farmingdale was highly unlikely to be a pollen parent. On the other hand, there was a strong indication that Bartlett was genetically related to all those selections.


Postman said this explained what had been something of a puzzle to him over the years: While fruit of the OHxF selections in the germplasm collection resembles Old Home, which has a distinctive round shape, it does not at all resemble Farmingdale. The shape of OHxF fruit tends to be intermediate between that of Old Home and Bartlett. Similarly, the foliage of the OHxF selections resembles the foliage of Old Home but not Farmingdale.

Lynnell Brandt, president of Brandt’s Fruit Trees in Yakima, Washington, said his father Everette worked at Carlton Nursery during the time when Brooks was testing the OHxF rootstocks to identify the most promising ones. Lynnell, who joined the staff of Carlton Nursery in the late 1970s, said he felt confident that both Brooks and Westwood believed that Farmingdale was the pollinizing parent.

“Who were we to question those two?” he asked. “They were the world’s leaders in pear understocks. And it seems strange to me, because Lyle would definitely notice the difference between Bartlett and Farmingdale. He would have known the leaves were different.”

Postman said the fact that the OHxF rootstocks have no Farmingdale heritage means that the highly fireblight-resistant Farmingdale is under-represented in the pedigrees of the pear rootstocks currently used in the pear industry as well as in the parent material being used in rootstock breeding programs.

Although Farmingdale is not likely to instill either dwarfing or precocity in its offspring, Farmingdale germplasm should be reconsidered if fireblight resistance is to be an important genetic trait in future pear cultivars and rootstocks, he suggests.

Future DNA fingerprinting in the USDA pear gene bank should help breeders better understand the paternity of parents when making crosses to develop improved varieties, he added.

The question now is whether the OHxF rootstocks should be renamed. The patent expired in 2005, so no one owns the OHxF name.

“Water’s gone under the bridge for so long, so whether they’re Bartlett or Farmingdale, everyone will probably continue to call them OHxF so things don’t get confused,” said Joe Dixon, sales representative with Carlton Plants. “There’s really nobody who would rename them or have the rights to do so, I don’t think.” •

November 26th, 2013|Apples, December 2013 Issue, Geraldine Warner, Issues, Production

About the Author: Geraldine Warner

Avatar photo

Geraldine Warner was the editor of Good Fruit Grower from 1992-2015. During her tenure, she planned and prepared editorial content, wrote for the magazine, and managed the editorial team. Read her stories: Story Index"


I thought that Quince is sensitive to disease like fireblight?

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Some are very sensitive to fireblight.

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