If you buy the fireblight-resistant varieties we offer here, pears will be one of the easiest tree fruits to grow without sprays of any kind. No pear variety is completely immune to fireblight (though Korean Giant and Maxine are close), but the varieties described below should require just common sense care: protect from deer, water during droughts, light pruning, and mulch. In fact, you probably shouldn’t even fertilize pears since fertilization can increase fireblight susceptibility. They don’t get trunk borers, and are little bothered by most of the other pests of their second-cousin, apples.
Curing Asian pears ripen on the tree, so no need to “cure” them like European-type pears. For the European pears, when you see the first fruits showing a slight color change from green to yellow or when the flesh around the stem yields slightly to pressure, it’s time to pick the ones that seem farthest along, bring them into the house, and let them fully ripen on your countertop. Of course, you can always just bite or cut into some to test for ripeness.
Pollination: The Asian varieties bloom before the Europeans; consequently, cross-pollination is best achieved by planting at least two different Asians or two different Europeans. However, there is usually enough overlap in bloom time that it’s not a serious issue.
All of our pear varieties are available on Pyrus calleryana, perfect for the Ozarks’ challenging soils. We also offer Magness, Korean Giant, and Maxine on OHxF97 rootstock, an experimental rootstock from Oregon State University that produces a full-sized, disease-resistant rootstock that brings varieties into bearing more quickly. If you want to try one of these three varieties on OH x F97 be sure to specify that.