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 Pyrus subsp. var.  Pear
European Pear branch with fruit
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
Height: 10 ft to 15 ft
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Lifespan: perennial
Bloom: mid spring
Exposure: sun
Water: moderate
Features: deciduous, edible, fruit
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 3 to 8
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: white
Rosaceae > Pyrus var. ,

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Pear. A popular fruit and tree of the genus Pyrus, long cultivated and much modified.

The cultivated pear, as known in North America, is derived from two distinct sources, the European Pyrus communis and the Oriental Pyrus scrotina. Pears of the European stock have been grown in North America from the earliest settlement of the country. They thrive particularly well in the New England states and New York, and west to the Great Lakes, and again on the Pacific slope. In the great interior basin, pear-culture always has been precarious, due primarily to the great liability of the trees to blight. In the southern states, the climate is too hot for the best development of the tree and the best quality of the fruit. In the north prairie states, the winter climate is so severe that the pear tree will not grow. Forms of pears are shown in Figs. 2806 and 2807, as representing the common species.

Some time before the middle of the preceding century the sand or Chinese pear (Pyrus serotina, formerly and, as it now appears, erroneously, identified as P. sinensis), Fig. 2808, was introduced into the eastern states, although it attracted little attention. It soon hybridized with the common pear, and a race of mongrel varieties was the result. Of these hybrids, only two have gained great commercial prominence. These are LeConte and Kieffer. The LeConte, which appeared about the middle of last century and which is the first of the American hybrids, so far as we know, was found to be well adapted to the southern states and its general introduction there after the close of the Civil War was the beginning of commercial pear-culture in the South. It was first supposed to be blight-proof, but. in later years, orchards have been nearly decimated by the blight, with the result that the LeConte is gradually lessening in importance and its place is being taken by the Kieffer, although the latter is by no means blight- free. The Kieffer pear originated with Peter Kieffer, of Roxborough, Philadelphia, an Alsatian gardener, who died in 1890. He grew the Chinese sand pear or Sha Lea and sold the seedlings as ornamental trees, for this species is of very distinct and handsome growth and the fruit is ornamental and fragrant.

Alongside the sand pears were Bartletts. Amongst one of the batches of seedlings from the sand pear he noticed a plant with different foliage, and this he saved. Its fruit was found to be superior to the sand pear, and it was introduced as the Kieffer. It fruited in 1873. The Kieffer pear is now very popular in many parts of the country because of its great vigor,healthiness, productiveness, and the keeping qualities of the fruit. In point of quality, the fruit is distinctly inferior, but it meets the demands of the market and is an excellent fruit for canning.

Pyrus serotina itself bears a very hard pear which is inedible in the raw state, but it is excellent when used as quinces are. It is fragrant and ornamental. The tree is a most vigorous and clean grower. The plant is well worth growing as an ornamental. It is used for stock for ordinary pears, particularly in the southern states. For an historical and horticultural account of the oriental pears and their hybrids, see Bulletin No. 332, Cornell Experiment Station, by Cox (under direction of the late John Craig).

In the cold prairie countries and other parts of the cold north, Russian pears have gained some headway in recent years. These are hardy types of Pyrus com- munis. The fruit is usually of low quality, but the trees are considerably hardier than the ordinary pear. Pear-culture is the one American fruit industry which seems to show little expansion. Pears are not a popular dessert fruit in this country, and the product is largely used in canning. This is a great pity, and a loss to the people. The cultivation of the Kieffer on a large scale has probably bred a generation of people who are little aware that the pear is a fruit that may be good to eat out of hand; and the commercial and cultural difficulties are greater than with other fruits.

The pear thrives on a variety of soils, but it succeeds best on those that are rather hard clay. On sandy and loamy lands it tends to be short-lived. This is perhaps due, in part, to the fact that trees grow rapidly on such lands, and are, therefore, more liable to the attacks of blight. It is now generally accepted that trees which are making a strong and soft growth are more susceptible to blight than those which grow rather slow and firm, although all trees are liable to attack. Some varieties are more nearly immune than others. Caution must be exercised, therefore, in the tilling of the pear orchard. Whilst pears profit by the best tillage, as apples and potatoes do, it is easy to carry the tilling and fertilizing so far as to produce top vigorous growth and thereby invite the blight, and this disease is the one great menace to pear-culture. Therefore the most careful pear- growers use sparingly of stable manure and of nitrogenous cover-crops. They prefer to supply fertility by means of concentrated fertilizers which are not very rich in nitrogen. If, however, the trees are not making a strong and steady growth, it is as necessary to apply nitrogenous fertilizers to the pear tree as to any other. In the interior country, pears are likely to suffer from sun-scald, and therefore the tops are started very low, usually not more than 2 or 3 feet from the ground. Standard pears (those not grown as dwarfs) are pruned much as are apple trees, except not so severely. Heavy pruning may open the top and invite sun-scald, and it also tends to make too strong and sappy growth. After the top of the pear tree is well formed and established, it is customary to do little pruning, only keeping the top fairly free and open.

The pear bears mostly on spurs which continue to branch and to bear for a number of years, and in pruning it is important that these spurs be not removed unless it is desired to thin the fruit. The flowers are borne in umbel-like cymes (Fig. 2805), but in most kinds only one fruit sets in a cluster. Pear trees are usually planted much closer than apple trees. The customary distance is 18 to 20 feet. Fig. 2812 shows an average east-American pear orchard. Fig. 2813 is a picking scene.

Many of the varieties of pears are infertile with themselves: they need the pollen of other varieties to cause them to set fruit freely. Probably any variety will fertilize any other variety in case the two bloom simultaneously. Such varieties as Kieffer and Bartlett are usually classed as self-sterile kinds, but the degree of sterility varies in different places and with different conditions. The safest plan in the setting of a pear orchard is to plant not more than two rows of one variety together, and to alternate with one or two rows of another variety.

Good varieties of pears are numerous. The one most important variety is the Bartlett (Fig. 2806), which was early introduced into the United States from Europe, where it is known as the Bonchretien. At present, the Kieffer probably holds second place. In the eastern states, the Seckel (Fig. 2814) is a prominent variety, and is the standard of quality. Other prominent varieties are Anjou (Fig. 2815), Clairgeau, Hardy, Howell, Sheldon, and Diel. The list might be almost indefinitely extended. In the Gulf region, the oriental hybrids alone are successful, and the leaders are Kieffer, LeConte, Garber, and Smith. The most notable pear of early American origin is undoubtedly the Seckel, which originated near Philadelphia in the eighteenth century. As late as 1880, the tree presented the appearance shown in Fig. 2816, which appeared (in larger size) in the Gardener's Monthly. In 1908, all that remained was a dead and decayed stump (Fig. 2817). The season of the maturity of pears runs from midsummer, when it is introduced by Summer Doyenne and (Manning) Elizabeth, to late winter, when it is closed with such late winter varieties as Nelis (Winter Nelis), Malines, and others. The winter pears are relatively little known in the eastern states. As a rule, they come into bearing late or are not very prolific; but there is no reason why they should not be better known. Winter pears are kept as are winter apples, although somewhat greater care is necessary. They should be stored in a uniformly cool temperature. If allowed to hang too long on the tree, they become over-ripe, and then if placed in an ordinarily warm cellar, they do not keep more than one or two months.

Unlike most other fruits, all pears are greatly improved in quality if they are ripened indoors. They should be picked as soon as they have reached their full size and have begun to color, but before they have become soft, and be placed in a dry and rather cool room. If the wind is allowed to blow over them, they are likely to shrivel. If kept too warm, they ripen too quickly and soon rot. The best quality is secured when they are picked about two weeks in advance of their normal ripening.

Pears are marketed much as are apples, although the barrel is little used for the dessert varieties. For export, as well as for a good home trade, the following sentences by George T. Powell are useful: "The fruit should be gathered when it has reached its most perfect development, but not allowed to come to its full maturity or approximate ripening. This is the right condition of fruit when it is to be shipped without refrigeration. With refrigeration, a little fuller maturity may be allowed. Each specimen should be wrapped in paper. A layer of excelsior should be placed on the bottom of the box, which is marked to be opened; over this place a sheet of paper. Pack the pears in single layers, covering each with paper and excelsior until the box is filled, nailing cover securely under considerable pressure. Boxes should hold thirty-six large pears, and sixty of medium size. [Fig. 2818.] This is a refinement of even the best packing for the common domestic trade. [Fig. 2819.] Dwarf pears.

When worked on the quince root, the pear is easily grown as a dwarf. The free stocks—those grown normally' on pear roots—are known in this country as standards. The dwarf pear comes into bearing earlier, and, since the trees are small, the fruit can be thinned and the trees sprayed, and the fruit therefore should be of the highest quality. Dwarf pear trees require more care than the ordinary standards, however, and they should not be planted unless the cultivator understands this fact and is willing to give the attention that they need. Although the trees are by nature dwarf, since they are worked on a smaller-growing species, they nevertheless tend to become half standard if left to themselves. Therefore they must be very severely headed-in every year. A dwarf pear tree should never reach a greater height than 12 feet. To keep it down to this stature, from one-half to two-thirds of the annual growth is removed late each winter. The trees are often planted as close together as 10 feet each way, but this is too close. With the ordinary broad-top pruning, which nearly all American growers give, 1 rod apart each way is not too great. A good dwarf pear tree is one in which the union with the quince stock is very close to the ground. When the tree is planted, this union should be 4 to 6 inches below the surface after the ground has settled. This deep planting prevents the breaking of the union and places the quince beyond the reach of borers. If planted deeper than this, the pear cion may throw out roots of its own; in fact, it sometimes does this if planted only 6 inches deep. This rooting of the stock is no particular disadvantage, although the tree thereafter tends to grow stronger and greater pruning is necessary. An expert grower can pick out the trees which are rooted from the pear stock by their more vigorous growth: if he desires to check this redundant growth he may cut off the pear roots. It is the common opinion that dwarf pear trees are short-lived. This may be true as regards the greater number of specimens which one sees about yards and on untilled areas, but a dwarf pear orchard on good well-drained ground, which is well-tilled and given regular pruning, will last a lifetime. Many varieties of pears do well when grafted on the quince root, but the one that is oftenest grown as a dwarf is the Angouleme (Duchesse d'Angouleme).

(Fig. 2820.) This is a large pear of irregular shape which sells well because of its size, but it is of indifferent quality and may not be good enough for a special or personal market. Other varieties popular for dwarfs are Louise Bonne, Anjou, Clair- geau, Elizabeth, and, to a less extent, Bartlett and Seckel. Even Kieffer is sometimes dwarfed with satisfactory results. The growing of dwarf pears is a special practice; in general it is not commercially profitable.

Writing on dwarf pears from a long experience in New York, L. T. Yeomans says: "The soil best adapted to dwarf pears is a rich loam, with a subsoil that requires thorough underdraining—a tile drain within 5 feet of every tree in the orchard would be thorough draining. The soil should be good strong corn or potato ground, and kept in such condition of fertility from year to year, for which purpose good well-composted barnyard manure has no equal, but may be supplemented by other fertilizers—as ground bone and potash. Small crops, as beans and potatoes, may be grown between the trees the first few years after planting, but never should they be allowed in the least to interfere with thorough tillage, or to rob the trees of proper and desirable nourishment. The growth of the tree is of far greater value than any farm crops which can be grown between the trees. The soil should be thoroughly cultivated at least every ten to fifteen days during the growing season till about August 15 to September 1. It should cease in time that the wood may fully ripen. Suitable cultivation can hardly be given with any crop on the ground, except, possibly, when sufficient space is left without a crop next to the trees.

The trees should be planted in rows 15 feet each way, or in rows 20 feet apart each way, with one tree in the center of each square. As the trees become older, the entire ground should be given up to frequent cultivation; and under no conditions should a dwarf pear orchard be seeded to grass, unless to clover for the purpose of plowing it under for fertilization.

Dwarf pears require thorough annual pruning, which may be done at any convenient time after the fulling of the foliage and before the buds become in the least swollen in the spring; but, where the cold is severe, it is better not to prune till about the first to middle of March. This pruning should begin with the first year, and be continued annually during the life of the tree, cutting back all of the growth to within four to eight buds, and thinning out all surplus branches which will not be wanted for limbs to the tree, so that at maturity the tree shall be open-headed, with opportunity for plenty of air and sunshine all through the tree, without which superior quality of fruit cannot be grown. The lower limbs should be within 20 to 24 inches of the ground. Trees when twenty to fifty years old should not be more than 12 to 14 feet high, and the diameter of the branches about 12 to 16 feet. [See Fig. 2821.] It is a very erroneous impression that a dwarf pear orchard under proper conditions is short-lived. There are in the United States orchards in vigorous condition, and now producing annual crops, that are from thirty to fifty years old.

Some of the advantages of dwarf over standard pears are: more trees can be planted to the acre, they commence bearing much younger, the fruit is not so liable to be blown off by early winds before maturity, it is much more quickly and easily gathered than from high trees, the fruit is larger and of better quality than that on standards. All varieties do not succeed equally well as dwarfs, because they do not all form an equally perfect union with the quince. Angouleme is the leading and most profitable variety now grown as dwarf, although many others succeed well."

Pears in the prairie region. ' On the northern plains, the culture of pears follows the general lines of pear-growing in the Atlantic states, but there are some radical points of difference. According to C. L. Watrous, "The difficulties of pear-growing in the upper Mississippi Valley are many and grievous. Above the 40th parallel and west of the Great Lakes, nearly all efforts have been failures. The best successes have been on high rather steep ridges and bluffs near watercourses, with light-colored clay soils and northerly exposures. Pear trees are not planted to the bottom or to the top, but in belts midway around the slopes. Plums may be used lower down and cherries above. The ground should be already set in clover or blue-grass. Small circles are spaded out for the trees. These are cultivated with the hoe and widened with the growth of the tree. Small trees branched very low are best. The trees may be cut back the second year to within a few inches of the ground. Only a very moderate annual growth is desirable. Use no manure until the tree has borne several crops of fruit, and then only with extreme care. Rich black soils, plenty of manure, and clean culture are deadly to pear trees in this region.

The critical period is that of the first fruit crop. The deadly enemy is blight, which is sure to appear then. The successful pear-grower must not neglect his orchard a single day during the season of blight, but watch for the enemy and cut out and burn every blighted twig as soon as seen. Sultry damp weather in June is most critical. Such varieties as Warner, Longworth, Vermont (Beauty), Koonce, and Kieffer are said to succeed farther north and resist blight better than any others. Under slightly more favorable conditions, Clairgeau, Howell, Seckel, Tyson, Washington, and Flemish (Beauty) may be used. The hardiest and blight-resistant varieties may be grown, and when in bearing a branch or two grafted with a more delicate sort with success."

Insects and diseases.

The insect enemies of the pear are numerous, but, with two or three exceptions, are not very serious. The tree is attacked by borers, although to a less extent than peaches and apples. These are kept in check by digging them out once or twice a year as on other fruit stocks. The fruit is attacked to some extent by the codlin- moth, but the arsenical sprays keep this insect in check. Of late years the psylla, attacking the growing parts, has been very damaging in parts of the East, although it is irregular in its outbreaks. It can be controlled by thorough work with a spray in winter and also when the blossom-buds are expanding, at the former time by the use of "Black

Leaf 40" tobacco preparation or kerosene emulsion and similar compounds, and at the latter period by lime-sulfur. If the rough bark is removed in winter and burned, very many of the pests will be destroyed. In some parts of the East the fruit is attacked by the pear midge, a minute fly whose maggots work in the very young fruit. Thorough cultivation will check this serious pest, but its complete control often involves the destruction of all the young fruit on the infested trees; the application of kainit to the soil in the second half of June (1,000 to 2,000 pounds to the acre on sandy soils in New Jersey) is said to kill the insect after it leaves the fruit to undergo its transformations. Repeated shallow tillage in early summer is a good protection.

The foliage and fruit of the pear are attacked by parasitic fungi, which cause the leaves to drop and the fruit to become scabby. These diseases are readily held in check by spraying with bordeaux mixture or lime-sulfur. More than fifty years ago the White Doyenne pear was the most popular variety for growing on the quince root, but because of the pear scab it passed away. It was supposed that the disease was due to uncongenial climate. Since the advent of the sprays, however, it has been found that the White Doyenne can be grown as well as ever. Flemish (Flemish Beauty) is also an example in point. Years ago it was one of the most popular standard varieties, but of late years it has been ittle grown because of the cracking of the fruit.

Pear-blight or fire-blight is the most serious disease of pear trees. It is an American disease. It is caused by a microbe which enters through the growing points (flowers and tips of shoots) and thrives in soft or "succulent" parts. Gradually the micro-organism works down the stems, killing the tissues and causing the leaves to die. In the leaf-blight, which is a distinct disease, the leaves are more or less spotted and they fall; in the pear-blight, the leaves turn black and hang on the tree. The fire-blight also attacks apple trees, particularly in the Plains region. It is probably aboriginal on hawthorns and related plants. There is no perfect preventive of the disease. Some varieties seem to be relatively immune, as, for example, the Angouleme. It is now generally believed that trees are more subject to the disease when they are making excessive growth; therefore it is advised that tillage and the application of stimulating manures be moderate. As soon as the disease appears, cut out the affected parts, severing them some inches below the lowest point of visible attack. Do not allow blighted branches to remain on the tree over winter. Disinfect the wounds or stubs and the implements with bichloride of mercury or other antiseptic. Destroy hedgerows and thickets hi which are other trees on which the blight is carried, as hawthorns, quinces, and diseased apple and pear trees. It is probable that there is a connection with insects in the spread of pear-blight.


There are no recent American books on the pear. Two books have been written on this fruit: Thos. W. Fields' "Pear Culture," New York, 1858; P. T. Quinn's "Pear Culture for Profit," New York, 1869. new edition, 1883. There are bulletins from the United States Department of Agriculture and some of the state experiment stations. Many years ago the writer secured from the venerable T. T. Lyon (Vol. Ill, page 1585), an article, for publication, on the pear. This was published in the "Cyclopedia of American Horticulture." The Editor is glad again to place this article alongside the others in order to contrast the viewpoints of two generations. Mr. Lyon's article, which is excellent and cautious and characterized by beauty of style, is of the type that we no longer see. The person who is familiar with present-day points of view will discover that it lays the emphasis on formal presentation, propagation, pruning, varieties, whereas little or no attention is given to systems of tillage, pollination, spraying, and commercial methods. The methods in pear-culture, and the varieties, have probably changed less in the last fifteen to twenty-five years than those of any other standard fruit; as a whole, pear-culture is not extending to any marked degree; and the article that follows is still timely. L H B

The pear and its cultivation.

So far as cultivators generally are concerned, this fruit is less important than its near relative, the apple, for the reason that, while the two begin to ripen at nearly the same season, there are few, if any, desirable varieties of pears in season later than December (if we except a few austere ones, suitable only for culinary purposes), while apples are abundant for four or five months longer. Moreover, during its entire season, the pear is supplemented by the mass of luscious, though perishable, summer and autumn fruits. The liability of very many_ usually excellent varieties to be rendered indifferent in quality by unfavorable seasons, neglect or unsuitable soil, is also a serious detriment to the general popularity of this fruit. The liability to the loss of the trees by blight, beyond question detracts greatly from the value of the pear, especially for commercial purposes; while it also exerts a discouraging influence upon amateur planting. To the careful and discriminating amateur, as well as to the man of wealth, with a fondness for fruit-culture whether in person or by proxy, this fruit often assumes a prominence over any, if not all, others.

Extent of cultivation.

Doubtless, for reasons heretofore stated, pear trees are but sparingly planted by most persons. The fruit sent to market comes largely from the plantations of specialists who. with oils adapted to the purpose and the necessary knowledge of varieties, have undertaken the business as a commercial enterprise. In the climates of the seaboard, and, to a considerable extent, in the region of the Great Lakes, the pear is exceptionally successful; while away from the influence of large bodies of water, and especially in the prairie regions of the Mississippi Valley, from unsuitableness of climate or soil, or both combined, the trees are liable to be either killed or seriously injured in winter, and hence are short-lived and unprofitable.


Perhaps in no other important particular does the climate of eastern and central North America differ more widely from that of the pear-growing regions of Europe than in its liability to sudden and extreme variations of temperature. Owing to this climatic pecularity, aspect becomes an important consideration in the selection of a location for a plantation of pear trees. As a means of avoiding the full influence of exposure to the rays of the sun, during the severer paroxysms of summer heat, while the trees are in actual growth, and also to mitigate the liability to alternate freezing and thawing in winter, a northerly or northeasterly slope is to be preferred ; which, however, should be so gradual as not seriously to interfere with the convenience of cultivation. As we approach the northern limit of practicable pear-culture, however, a modification of this rule of selection may be found desirable, since, with the shorter growing season, a warmer exposure may prove necessary as a means of hastening maturity.


While the pear tree will pear, yield more or less satisfactory results in a variety of soils, it is found to succeed most perfectly in a strong loam, of moderate depth, overlying a porous subsoil. Soils which are liable to be wet during any considerable portion of the growing season are unfit for this purpose, unless deeply and thoroughly underdrained; while even then they are quite liable not to prove fully satisfactory. A few varieties are found to be moderately successful on sandy soils, but for general planting such soils should be avoided.


The liability of the pear tree, in this climate, to the attacks of blight is thought to be increased by excessive growth. It is, therefore, desirable that the annual growth be completed, and ripened at as early a date as practicable; and the more so since the liability to blight apparently exists only while growth is in actual progress. Stable and other nitrogenous manures should, for this reason, be applied in moderate quantities, in autumn, after the liability to excite renewed growth shall be past. Potash, lime, and phosphorus, which enter more or less largely into the composition of both tree and fruit, and which rarely exist in excess in the soil, may be profitably applied in either autumn or spring. Salt may also be profitably applied to the comparatively dry soils recommended for the pear, but with care not to apply in excess. One or even two quarts may be safely applied to each tree, before the commencement of growth in the spring, if well distributed upon the surface over a space of at least 6 or 8 feet in diameter, and left to be carried gradually into the soil by dew and rain. It is believed to possess little, if any, manurial value; but to act rather as a conservator of moisture, and probably also as a repellent of insects. Coarse mulch may be placed about the trees, covering the soil as far out as the roots extend, for the purpose of keeping the earth cool, and also to check evaporation from the soil; but this should not be done as a substitute for cultivation; and the soil beneath the mulch should be kept well pulverized.


(a) By seedlings: Seeds, when to be planted for the origination of new varieties, should be selected from well-grown and fully matured fruits, of such varieties as possess in a high degree the qualities sought to be reproduced or improved, since a variety in which a characteristic is strongly developed and persistently manifested is the more likely to transmit such peculiarity to its offspring. Seeds resulting from known or artificial cross-fertilization, and therefore of known and selected parentage on both sides, offer increased probability of valuable results. Seeds intended for the origination of new varieties should be planted very thinly in strong, rich, deeply prepared soil, in a single row, and covered with not more than an inch of earth, so that the young plants shall have ample space for development.

Seeds intended for the growing of stocks for nursery purposes should be collected from varieties in which the seeds are plump and well developed, as well as from healthy, vigorous trees. American nurserymen obtain pear seeds mostly from Europe. Seeds intended for nursery stocks are usually planted in broad, shallow drills. In our American climate the foliage and unri- pened wood of seedling pears is very liable to be attacked during midsummer by leaf-blight or mildew, which prematurely arrests their growth. For this reason European stocks are generally preferred by nurserymen. This attack of mildew may often be partially or wholly avoided by planting in virgin soil remote from other cultivated grounds. Pear seedlings form a very long taproot during their first year, with few, if any, side-roots. For this reason they are taken up preferably in autumn, and the tap-roots shortened to 6 or 8 inches, when they may be replanted in nursery rows, and earthed up, or otherwise protected from heaving, or other injury during winter; or, preferably, they may be heeled-in, in a frost-proof cellar, and planted in spring, to be budded during the ensuing summer or left to become more fully established for budding a year later.

Seedlings intended for fruiting are usually transplanted in rows, about 8 feet apart each way, with the expectation that many will be found worthless, and either removed or destroyed. Seedling pears usually require to be fruited several years before their characteristics become fully developed. This generally recognized fact may be taken as a warning that the occasional effort to hasten the puberty of a seedling by fruiting a cion from it upon a bearing tree of different variety cannot be trusted to indicate the ultimate character of the fruit of the yet incipient variety, since it is impossible to foresee to what extent such transfer may interfere with the occult formative processes through which its ultimate qualities would have been developed.

(b) By budding: Seedlings of one or two years growth, intended for standard trees, are usually planted from 6 to 10 inches apart in the nursery row; for the reason that space, as well as cultivation, must be economized to correspond with prices, although it is impossible to grow trees of good form and properly branched of the size and age demanded by most planters when thus closely planted. Trees thus closely planted should be removed, or at least thinned, after having made one year's growth from the bud; while trees intended to be grown two or more years in the nursery row, and properly branched, should be given twice or even three times the space mentioned.

The budding of pear stocks may be done during July and August if they continue in a growing condition, but they are liable to be attacked by mildew of the foliage, for which reason they must be closely watched, and should the malady prove troublesome the budding must be done as soon as properly matured buds can be obtained. Such stocks as, for any cause, were left unbudded at budding time, together with any in which buds shall have failed, may be grafted the following spring; but this, as well as any and all grafting of the pear, mast be done very early, before the earliest movement of the sap in spring. In the spring, as soon as the swelling of the buds indicates that the germs are alive, the stocks are cut back to force them into growth. Often to insure the formation of straight, upright, symmetrical trees, careful nursery-men leave 3 or 4 inches of the stock above the insertion of the bud. to which the young shoots may be tied, if it shall fail otherwise to take an upright direction. Shoots may also be thus tied to prevent their being blown out, or otherwise injured by the wind. These stubs should be cut back to the bud when no longer needed for the purposes indicated. Such sprouts as spring from the stock in consequence of the cutting back must be removed from time to time to encourage the growth of the bud. This should be done while they are yet tender and succulent and can, therefore, be taken off without the use of a knife. This process must be repeated as they reappear, unless it is rendered unnecessary by the failure or loss of the bud.


Beyond that described under the head of budding, little pruning is required during the first season, except to pinch in such side shoots as threaten to rob the one intended to become the trunk of the future tree. Early in the spring of the second year, all lateral shoots must be wholly cut away, and since the pear tends strongly to renew its growth from the terminal buds of the previous year, the shoot intended to become the trunk of the future tree must be cut down to the point at which the top is to commence, when the branches to form the head will start from the buds nearest the top. The uppermost shoot must, if needful, be confined in an upright position to constitute the continuation of the trunk.

The habits of growth of varieties differ so widely that no inflexible rule can be laid down to determine the height at which the top of a pear tree should be commenced, unless it be that the heads of the more spreading varieties should be started higher than those of a more upright habit. The preferences of the larger number of purchasers have begotten among nurserymen the practice of forming the heads of all varieties at a height of 3 or 4 feet. This height is open to the objection that, while not seriously faulty in the case of such spreading varieties as Onondaga, Osband (Summer), or Flemish (Beauty), it is essentially unsuited to such very upright growers as Buffum, Sterling, Clapp (Favorite), and even Anjou. In this particular, as in various others, the practice of nurserymen, begotten by the preferences of the average of their customers, fails to adapt itself to the needs of the more intelligent and considerate orchardist, and to those of even smaller planters, who regard the health and productiveness of their trees as of higher importance than the possibly increased convenience of cultivation.

A proper system of primary branches, upon which to grow a permanent head, should be provided from the growth of the second season. Probably the most satisfactory provision for this purpose consists of a central shoot, with from three to five laterals diverging from the trunk at its base. A head should, in no case, be grown upon two shoots, forming a crotch, since this will be very liable to split and thus ruin the tree. A few varieties, of which Rostiezer is a notable example, have the habit of producing but few branches, and also of making successive annual growths, mainly from the terminal buds of the previous year, thus forming a too open or straggling head. Such tendency is best overcome by cutting back the branches in spring, the effect being to increase their number, though at the expense of vigor.

After the primary branches have been developed, and the growth of the third year is in progress, comparatively little pruning will be found necessary beyond the occasional cutting away of a straggling or crossing branch, although there is a class of varieties, of which Summer Doyenne and Winter Nelis are types, which, especially when growing vigorously, incline to twist and straggle so awkwardly that the branches must frequently be tied in position to insure the formation of a satisfactory head.

Prior to the third or fourth year, all pruning must necessarily have for its object the direction and encouragement of wood-growth, for which purpose it is most effective when performed in late winter or early spring, while the trees are yet dormant.

The fact should not be forgotten that pruning, in proportion to its extent or severity, may be a tax upon the vigor and health of the tree, and, therefore, to be practised as sparingly as possible. Such necessity may be to a considerable extent avoided if the orchardist,

with a well-defined ideal in mind of a tree such as he desires to produce, will, during the growing season, pass frequently through his plantation and pinch out, while yet small and succulent, all growths not needed for his purpose, at the same time "stopping" such of the reserved ones as may be too far outgrowing their fellows. With the efficient performance of this process while the framework of the top is being developed, very little pruning will remain to be done on the arrival of spring, while nearly the entire growth, which would otherwise have been pruned away in spring, will have been employed in developing the reserved branches.

While the cutting away of an occasional small branch may be done at almost any time, large branches should be removed only in case of actual necessity, and at a period early enough to permit the thorough drying and hardening of the cut surface prior to the movement of the sap in spring, as a means of preventing bleeding and consequent decay.

Summer pruning tends to check rather than encourage wood-growth, and since it acts to a greater or less extent as an obstruction to the circulation, it also tends, as does the permanent bending of the branches and the hardening of the tissues, to hasten the formation of fruit-buds and the production of fruit.

The pear may be successfully grafted upon the white thorn, the mountain-ash, and the apple, and such grafts have occasionally proved more or less productive for a time, but in such cases the union between stock and cion is generally, if not always, imperfect; and such uncongenial combinations are therefore usually shortlived. The quince is the only dissimilar stock upon which the pear is extensively grown. Quince stocks for this purpose are largely imported from France. The Angers quince is generally preferred for this purpose. These stocks are usually planted in nursery rows at the age of two years, to be budded during the following summer, in the same manner as pear stocks. When intended for dwarf trees, nurserymen usually cut them back after one year's growth from the bud to the nearly uniform height of 18 inches, although with the more upright-growing varieties it is by many deemed preferable to branch them even 6 or 8 inches lower. Aside from the height at which they should be branched, the pruning and management should be identical with that prescribed for standards, with the important exception that when planted out for fruiting the junction between the quince and the pear should be 3 or 4 inches below the surface to encourage the formation of roots from the pear. Trees thus planted will begin to bear while yet growing solely from the quince stock, and will continue to produce fruit after rooting from the pear, thus affording the early fruiting of the dwarf, as well as the permanency of the standard.

Not more than a specimen or two should be permitted to grow upon a dwarf the first and second years after planting. Such trees, if left to fruit freely, will almost certainly be ruined from overbearing before they are fully established. Many varieties when grown as dwarfs can never be safely allowed to mature more than a small portion of the fruit which they will naturally set.

While several varieties are found to be especially successful when grown upon the quince, most others prove only moderately so, requiring careful and expert management to insure satisfactory results. A few others,of which Bosc may be named as a prominent case, are obstinately unsuccessful upon the quince, and even when double-worked upon a dwarf of a congenial variety, their success appears to be by no means assured.

Dwarf trees trained as hereinbefore specified are commonly known as half-standards. Other and more elaborate forms are known as pyramids, cordons, and the like, descriptions of which are not deemed necessary here.

Choice of trees.

Aside from the selection of the location for an orchard, the first important particular is the selection of the trees, leaving the choice of varieties for subsequent consideration. Trees of one year's growth from the bud are to be preferred for the following reasons:

(1) Fewer roots need be injured or lost in the process of lifting and replanting, for which reason the tree may be expected the more promptly to recover from the shock of removal. (2) The single season's growth may be cut back and the top commenced to suit the preferences of the planter. (3) The top will present little or no obstacle to the force of the wind until the roots shall have gained such hold upon the soil that there will remain little liability to displacement from this cause. (4) The risk of failure from removal is greatly diminished, while the more prompt recovery and increased rate of growth of the trees in the more open orchard rows may be expected to compensate fully for one or two years more of growth in crowded nursery rows. (5) Something will also be saved in the cost of the trees and in the expense of transportation, as well as in the labor of planting.

If older or high-branched trees are not objected to, it will usually be found that they are but imperfectly branched from having been grown in crowded rows.

Preparation of the soil.

When the late John A. Warder was asked how large the holes should be dug for planting orchard trees, he replied, "Of the full size of the orchard;" and it may also be remarked that when the ground for an orchard has been well tilled and fertilized to a depth at least equal to that at which trees are to be planted, there is no longer occasion for holes larger than shall be necessary to receive the roots in their proper position. If the subsoil be not freely pervious to water, the ground must be deeply and thoroughly underdrained, and in no case should the hole in which a tree is to be planted be sunk into a subsoil so impervious as to retain water beneath or about its roots. If such retentive subsoil occurs too near the surface and is not considered suitable to be mixed with the surface soil, it should be thoroughly disintegrated to the requisite depth by means of a subsoil plow or other equivalent device. In all nearly level retentive soils, it will be found advantageous to "back- furrow" a land along the line of each row in the direction of the surface drainage, so that when the trees have been planted the drainage will be away from them.

Laying out, staking, and planting.

The most economical mode of laying out and planting an orchard, so far as space is concerned, is doubtless that commonly, but erroneously, designated as quincunx, and more correctly as hexagonal; but whether planted thus, or in rectangles, the work may be most rapidly and accurately done by planting a stake where each tree is to stand, and using what is known as a planting-board, consisting of a strip of board 6 or 7 feet long, with a hole for a stake near each end, and a notch or slot intermediate and in line between them to receive the stake, and to support the tree while the earth is being carefully filled in, under, among, and above its roots.

The following are good general rules to be observed in the digging, handling, preparing, and planting of trees:

1. In digging trees, aim to secure as many of the main fibrous roots as possible.

2. Expose the roots as little as possible to the drying influence of sun and wind.

3. Prepare the roots for planting by cutting away the bruised and broken portions.

4. If the roots have been essentially shortened in lifting, cut away the superfluous branches and also cut back such as are to remain till a proper balance of root and top is secured.

5. In heavy retentive soil, plant the tree very little if any deeper than it stood in the nursery, and, in addition, raise a slight mound about the trunk to avoid the occurrence of standing water at that point.

6. In strong but dry soil, a tree may be planted an inch or two deeper than it stood in the nursery.

7. In light sand, with dry subsoil, a tree should be planted 3 or even 4 inches deeper than it stood in the nursery.

8. Dig the hole in which a tree is to be planted deep enough to receive 2 or 3 inches of fine soil, before putting the tree in place, making it large enough to allow the roots to be spread out in their natural position.

9. See that good, friable surface soil is well filled in beneath, among, and over the roots.

10. Should the soil be dry, with no immediate prospect of rain, it will be well after nearly filling the hole with earth, to apply a pail of water, and, after it shall have settled away, to fill up the hole with earth and tramp it down firmly. Staking will rarely be found necessary, except, possibly, in the case of trees old enough to have been already branched, but such stake must be watched and the tree protected against injury by rubbing against it.

Subsequent cultivation.

(a) Newly planted trees: Ground occupied by young trees must be kept well cultivated during the spring and early summer. If hoed crops are planted, larger quantities of manure will be required; but, in either case, cultivation should cease as early as the beginning of August in order to hasten the ripening of the young wood. This process should be continued during at least five or six years, after which green crops may be grown and plowed under as a means, in part, of maintaining the fertility of the soil.

(b) Mulching: Especially during the first few years after planting, in case of hot dry weather during the growing season, mulch may be applied to check evaporation from the soil and to keep it cool, but it should not be permitted to take the place of cultivation. The soil should be well pulverized before applying it.

(c) Manuring: As stated previously, manures should be applied sparingly but regularly, preferably in late autumn, and should be plowed under, or otherwise mixed with the soil at that time or in the early spring, as a means of promoting early growth and the thorough ripening of the wood in advance of severe cold. Thorough ma-turing of the wood should also be assisted,as already said, by ceasing cultivation the early part of August.

Gathering and ripening the fruit.

All selected pears, whether intended for the market or for use at home, should be carefully hand-picked.

(a) Gathering summer and autumn pears: With very few exceptions all pears acquire a higher quality if gathered before they are fully ripe. The generally accepted rule is to gather the crop when an occasionally full-grown wormy specimen is ripe, or when there is a perceptible change in the color of the maturer specimens, or when the stem parts readily from the branch if the fruit is slightly lifted.

(b) Ripening summer and winter pears: When gathered, the fruit should be placed in a cool room devoted to the purpose, and spread upon shelves, or in lack of a suitable room they may be placed in shallow boxes or drawers, where in due time they will acquire their full color and flavor. Since this fruit parts with moisture quite freely, it, and especially the later ripening varieties, should be protected from a drying atmosphere, particularly from drafts of air, which will cause the fruit to shrivel and become tough and leathery. It is also true of at least very many varieties that even if blown off or gathered when but two-thirds grown, the fruit if put away as already described will usually acquire a satisfactory quality. Fruits thus gathered and ripened are found to have less tendency to decay rapidly at the core.

(c) Gathering and ripening of winter dessert pears: These should remain upon the tree as long as practicable without danger from frost. When gathered, they should be placed in a cool frost-proof room, and it will be well also to wrap each separately in soft paper.

Some varieties are found to ripen perfectly without further attention, but the quality .of most kinds will be much improved if they are brought into a temperature of 60° or 70° a fortnight before their usual season of maturity.

(d) Winter cooking pears: These should be gathered and put away in close packages in a cool, frost-proof room, in the same manner as russet apples, like which they will shrivel, and become tough and leathery if left exposed to the air. They may remain in this condition until needed for use.

Packing and marketing.

In America, pears are generally packed for market directly from the tree, without awaiting the process of ripening. Barrels are largely used as packages, although this fruit is frequently put up in half-barrels and sometimes in bushel, peck, and even in half-peck baskets.

American growers rarely ripen their fruit before marketing it. This, if done at all, is more generally accomplished by the dealer, doubtless with decided profit, since in the larger cities fully $50 have been known to be paid for a single barrel of selected fruit, and yet the same fruit ripened and offered in quantities to suit customers has been sold at two or three times the original cost. The marketing of unripened pears is obviously unprofitable so far as the producer is concerned.

In Europe, the choicest fruits are carefully selected and house-ripened. When approaching their best condition the fruits are separately wrapped in soft paper, and are then put up in packages of perhaps one or two dozens, and sent so as to appear upon the market when in the best possible condition. Such fruits command prices quite in excess of what they would have realized had they been offered in an immature condition.


Since the popular and desirable varieties of pears may be found fully described in standard pomological works, such descriptions here are not deemed necessary. Among the very numerous varieties of pears described in such works there are doubtless many possessing high quality and other valuable characteristics, which, for some unexplained reason, have failed to attract the attention of growers. Since varieties vary in their season of ripening with change of latitude, and often, to some extent, with change of location, even in the same latitude, the designation of such season becomes a matter of more or less difficulty. In the following lists the season given will be approximately that between parallels 42 and 43 of north latitude.

(a) Amateur pears: It is as true of the pear as of most other species of fruits that very many varieties are of small size, unattractive appearance, or of such delicate texture when ripe as to disqualify them for the market, although they may possess, in an eminent degree, the peculiar characteristics which render them desirable, and to persons of cultivated taste, indispensable for the supply of the family. Such are termed amateur pears.

The following is a list of a few of the mosf popular of these, arranged approximately in the order of maturity:

Name.                Season.            Remarks   
Madeleine           m. e. July          Earliest good pear.
Summer Doyenne      e. July.
Bloodgood           e. July. m. Aug.
Giffard             m. Aug              Excellent, but very perishable.
Dearborn            m. e. Aug.
Rostieier           m. Aug. m. Sept.
Elizabeth           e. Aug.
Brandy wine         e. Aug. b. Sept.
Tyson               e. Aug. b. Sept..       A tardy bearer.
Stevens (Genesee)   b. Sept                 Rots soon at the core.
Clapp               b. m. Sept              Rots soon at the core.
Washington          m. Sept.
(Belle) Lucrative   m. e. Sept.
Bose.               e. Sept. Oct.
White Doyenne       e. Sept. Nov           Liable to crack badly.
Seckel              Oct.
Sarah               Oct.
Anjou               Oct. Nov.
Gray Doyenne        m. Oct. Nov.
Reeder              Nov.
Heyst (Emile d'Heyst) .Nov. Dec.
Mount Vernon        Nov. Dec.
Dana Hovey          Nov. Jan.
Langelier           Nov. Feb.
Germain             Nov. March.
Lawrence            Dec		
Winter Nelis        Dec, Jan.
Easter              Jan. March.

*e, early; m, middle; b, beginning.

(b) Culinary pears: Very few dessert pears are found to be satisfactory for culinary uses, since they too generally lose at least a portion of their flavor and aroma in the process of cooking. There are, however, several varieties of high, austere character which prove adapted to this purpose, among which are the following:

Name                      Season                       Remarks
Vicar                    Nov. Jan            Occasionaly good enough for dessert.
(Black) Worcester        Nov. Feb.
Catillac                 Nov. March.
Pound                    Dec. Feb.

(c) Market pears: The markets demand varieties of attractive appearance, of at least medium size and of fine texture. To the grower, productiveness and vigor of tree are also of primary importance. If possessing the foregoing characteristics, a variety may prove at least temporarily popular, even though of comparatively low quality. The following varieties, some of which may also be found in the amateur list, are all more or less popular as market fruits:

Name.                  Season.                       Remarks.
Tyson                e. Aug. b. Sept.           Excellent, but a tardy bearer.
sterling             e. Aug. m. Sept..          Productive, and exceedingly beautiful.
Clapp                b. m. Sept.                 Rots soon at the core.
Bartlett             b. e. Sept.                 Leading market pear.
Souvenir du)Congress.b. e. Sept.                 Sometimes very large.
Buffum               m. Sept.                    Variable in quality.
Howell               m. Sept. Oct.
Flemish (Beauty)     m. e. Sept.                 Rots soon at the core.
Bose                 e. Sept. Oct.               Excellent for all purposes. 
Boussock             e. Sept. Oct.
Louis Bonne          e. Sept. Oct.. .            Grown only as a dwarf.
Onondaga             e. Sept. Nov.
Superfin             Oct.
Sheldon              Oct                         Is russeted and dull in color.
Rutter               Oct. Nov.
Anjou                Oct. Nov.
Kieffer              Oct. Nov                    Not valuable north of 43 degrees.
LeConte              Oct. Nov                    Succeeds best at the extreme South. 
Angouleme            Oct. Nov                    Grown only on quince stocks.
Diel                 Oct. Dec
Clairgeau            Oct. Jan.
Columbia             Nov. Jan.
McLaughlin           Nov. Jan.
Lawrence             Dec.
Malines             Jan. Feb.

Relative desirableness of dwarfs.

There arc a few varieties, among which Louise Bonne and Angouleme may be especially mentioned, which on free (pear) stocks are either tardy bearers or require to be fruited several years before developing their ultimate qualities, but which succeed unusually well upon the quince. These, especially the Angouleme, are valued as market varieties when grown as dwarfs.

Angouleme, and perhaps some other varieties as dwarfs, occasionally bloom so profusely as apparently to prove unable to develop the fruit, which in consequence proves abortive. The natural and obvious remedy in such case is disbudding, or its equivalent, cutting back the fruit-bearing shoots before growth is commenced.

The fact that very many varieties are not permanently successful when grown upon the quince is doubtless partially, if not in many cases even wholly, to their increased tendency to early and excessive productiveness when grown upon that stock, which, owing to the very common unwillingness of the grower to remove the excess of fruit, is allowed to consume the material needed for wood-growth, and thus to occasion exhaustion before the tree has gained a thorough hold upon the soil.

If, with any variety capable of forming a satisfactory union with the quince, and with the tree planted in the manner heretofore described, the entire crop of bloom or incipient fruit of the first one, two, or even three years (dependent upon the vigor of the tree) were removed, and if subsequent crops were carefully and thoroughly thinned, it is at least highly probable that permanent health and longevity would prove nearly or quite as general with dwarfs as with standards, thus permitting the more extensive growth of the pear in greater variety in small or amateur plantations and in limited grounds than is practicable with the use of standards. T. T. Lyon.

The pear in the South.

Throughout the whole South the average production of pears to the tree is less than one-half bushel. Virginia and Kentucky have many pear trees in comparison with the other southern states, but should hardly be considered with the remainder of the South, 'as their pears are produced mainly on the northern borders of the states. Texas, on account of its area, has more pear trees than any other southern state; and El Paso County, the most western county, produces over 2,000 bushels. Conditions existing in this region are not at all comparable with the other pear sections in the South.

It can hardly be said that pears are well adapted to southern conditions, although in certain sections, particularly in the mountains, it is possible to produce fruits of good quality; but on account of the blight the industry has never attained importance. At one time, the late P. J. Berckmans, of Augusta, Georgia, had 600 different pears under test in his nursery, 500 of them being named varieties. Berckmans says that of the 600, those of any worth in the South would not exceed twelve in number, and that the great commercial varieties were the LeConte, Garber, and Kieffer, although Bulletin No. 126 of the Bureau of Plant Industry shows seventy-seven varieties of pears that have originated in the thirteen southern states.

The history of the southern pear industry begins with the introduction of the LeConte into Thomasville, Georgia, in the early seventies of the last century by L. L. Varnadoe. The original cutting carried into Thomas County came from Liberty County, Georgia. This pear was planted extensively around Thomasville, being taken from there into northern Florida, southern Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The propagation was mainly by cuttings, and in the early days of the industry $1 apiece was often paid for trees. At one time it was conservatively stated that there were at least 200,000 trees in Thomas County. Great prices were received for the product, the growers in those days netting from $3 to $7 a barrel. There are reports from H. H.Sanford, one of the early growers of this fruit, of

LeConte trees producing thirty bushela or more. The growing of this pear, like many other horticultural industries in the South, was along extensive rather than intensive lines. The growers thought that they did not need to till or to fertilize their lands and that they could plant these wonderful trees and reap a harvest of dollars, and for a time it seemed as if this were so; then the blight appeared. The "die- back,"as it was originally called, began, and between 1890 and 1895 the industry was in a fair way to succumb. No systematic efforts were made to combat this disease, except by introduction of the Kieffer, which was considered at that time resistant, and which was largely planted in the pear sections of the South.

Because of the blight and lack of care, with no systematized methods of marketing, the pear industry of the southern states fell to a low ebb. For the past several years no commercial orchards have been set, and a great number of the trees that were planted in this early period are either dead or cut down; therefore the production of the hybrid pears in the South is not only at a standstill, but is at this time declining.

The management of these orchards, even while the industry was at its height, was very crude. It is reported on good authority that 95 per cent of the pear plantings in the southern pear sections were most seriously neglected. Some orchards were cropped, to the detriment of the land; others so badly neglected that young pine trees contended with the pears for space; consequently the fruits were not of the best quality. The growers who followed approved methods of tillage and fertilizing received a serious set-back when the blight appeared, as these plantings seemed to be more susceptible to this disease. In time a balance was reached, and it is now considered good practice to run the orchards in sod and every third year to give a light plowing, the application of fertilizers being determined by the growth of the tree. Spraying was little practised in the older orchards. The growers who are still producing pears now find the use of a spray-pump advisable. Harvesting during the height of the pear industry in south Georgia was aptly described by the Thomasville "Times Enterprise:" "The annual slaughter of the LeConte pears has commenced. The trees are full of little gamins, picking a few, flailing some and shaking off the remainder. All—good, bad, and bruised—are dumped into barrels and rushed to market." It is unfortunately true that many of these fruits were gathered in this way. There were growers who hand- picked their product, carefully packing it into ventilated barrels. These, however, were the smaller number. There is an instance on record of a gentleman having sold three hundred and odd dollars worth of pears from a small orchard, on which he had expended $5 since the last harvest. Most of the pears were shipped in barrels, though some were shipped in bulk. The distribution is still poor, and for the past few years the profits from the remaining trees have not been sufficient to warrant further planting.

At present, the South as a whole cannot be considered as a pear-producing section. There are still quite a number of pear trees around the homes. These are rapidly disappearing, due to the blight and the lack of care. The old orchards along the Atlantic and the Gulf are rapidly dying with blight. The hybrid pears, LeConte, Kieffer, and Garber, do remarkably well in this part of the country; but the pear industry will never thrive as it did once until there is a systematic fight made upon the blight. Besides this disease, the pears are subject to bitter-rot, brown-rot and crown- gall, as well as the codlin-moth and the San José scale; but of course these insects and diseases can be easily controlled by spraying.

In the catalogue of fruits appended to the Proceedings of the Thirty-Ninth Annual Session of the Georgia State Horticultural Society is to be found this remark concerning pears: "Owing to the prevalence of the pear blight, the commercial production of pears is an uncertain and hazardous industry. Until it is demonstrated that pear-blight can be successfully controlled, it is useless to recommend the planting of pears in commercial quantities. So far as is known, the Kieffer pear is the most resistant to the pear-blight of the commercial varieties." This report of the Georgia State Horticultural Society can be taken as a general recommendation for practically all of the South, except for particularly isolated and special places.

The pear in California.

Visitors at the old California missions during the early part of the last century noted many thrifty seedling pear trees in the mission gardens. Many of these trees survived the neglect which came upon the mission properties after their secularization, and were in thrifty growth and bearing at the time of the American occupation. The first pears sold in San Francisco and in the mines in 1849-1850 were gathered from the old mission trees, and some of these old trees grafted over gave the first California product of the European and

American varieties of more than half a century ago. From this beginning the growth of pears increased until the commercial product of 1914 included the following: 2,725 carloads sent overland to eastern and foreign markets (about the same as for the five years preceding); 2,000,000 pounds dried pears shipped to the same destination (a decreasing product because of the increasing demand for shipping fresh and canning);805,740 cases of canned pears, mostly Bartletts—a product which is rapidly increasing. There are about 2,000,000 pear trees in California orchards. The decade 1905-1915 was a sensational period in California pear- growing because of the appearance of the pear-blight about 1902. It made such rapid progress that in 19O4 practically all the pear trees in one district were seriously attacked and largely destroyed. Control measures were provided by state appropriation in 1905 and continued several years, and it was demonstrated that the disease can be held in check and profitability of trees continued by cutting out all blighted parts from twig to root—disinfecting between cuts all tools used in the work. This demonstration, coupled with an apparent lessening of the virulence of the disease, restored confidence among growers and resulted in largely increased new planting in 1914—1915.

It is a most interesting fact that a single variety furnishes a very great part, perhaps even as much as four-fifths, of the pear products of the state, and that is the Bartlett. Whatever it may lack in high quality is more than compensated for by its commercial serviceability. It is handsome and of good size, endures long carriage, cans well and dries well. and is of sufficiently good quality to please consumers: in fact the California-grown Bartlett is said to be better than the same variety grown in the Atlantic states and in the west of Europe. This is not, however, the chief reason why the Bartlett so largely preponderates in California. The ruling condition is found in the fact that owing to the marked differences in localities not widely distant and yet differing in elevation, in exposure to coast influences and away from them, and other local causes, the Bartlett has a very long ripening season, and valley, coast, and mountain Bartletts follow each other through nearly three months and thus make succession of different varieties during this period unnecessary. There is, however, at present a greater disposition than heretofore to extend the season by growing other varieties, but they are selected for resemblance to the Bartlett type. Clapp Favorite is sold as an "Early Bartlett," and a Winter Bartlett, an Oregon seedling, has been planted to carry the same style of pear as late as possible. Still some progress is being made in extending the California list of popular pears and some of local and of distant origin will probably achieve prominence, especially in the shipments to distant markets.

California pears are grown on pear-seedling roots (especially of the Japanese pear because of less liability to blight in the root), very little recourse being had to rooted cuttings or to dwarfing stocks. A dwarf pear tree is almost a curiosity. The heavier loams and even clays are sometimes planted with pear trees, not because they are best for pears but because other fruits do worse than they. To plant fully the area intended for fruit, pears will go on the intrusions of heavy or too moist soils, while the freer soil will be given to other fruits. Still the chief product of pears is from the best loams California affords, and the profits from the tree warrant the use of such land. Pear trees are regularly pruned to a low vase form, but seldom opened in the center, the interior being used for bearing wood, and foliage enough retained partially to shade the fruit. The fruit is thinned to favor size and to relieve the tree from overbearing. Irrigation is employed in some parts of the state. The varieties chiefly grown are the following: Bartlett, Winter Nelis, Easter, Comnice, Glout Morceau, Hardy, P. Barry (a California seedling), Seckel, Lawson (Comet), Winter Bartlett, Wilder. CH

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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