Pears are a good fruit choice for the Front Range. They bloom late, usually just before apples. Pears are subject to fireblight disease like apples so look for fireblight resistance. Fruit is borne on two year old or older spurs (short, stout twigs) also like spur-type apples.
In choosing a tree for planting, remember that pears are self-fruitful but bear better when planted with a second pollinator tree. Magness is a variety often used for pollination and it shows good fireblight resistance. Any variety that blooms at the same time will serve as a cross-pollinizer.
Both European pears, Asian pears and their hybrids can be grown. Note that Asiatic pears have a lower chilling requirement than European types. Asian pears generally are also less resistant to fireblight.
European pear suggestions include Bartlett (an early summer pear, left in photo) , d’Anjou (right in photo), Bosc and Lucious. Hybrid pears grown here include Maxine (good fireblight resistance) and Kieffer. Of the Asian types, Shinko shows more fireblight resistance.
As in previous fruit tree adaptation discussions [see “Fruit trees on the Front range” March 12], be forewarned that our erratic climate makes this a difficult fruit growing location and these are only suggestions, not recommendations. Comments on your pear growing successes and failures are welcome.
[Pears in basket photo credit, Carl Wilson]