There are many different varieties of pear that grow well and can give a delicious treat in the autumn. A pear tree can be a great addition to any garden and some small varieties can even be grown in containers. Once established, pear trees need only a very little care and attention throughout the year and can pretty much to left to their own devices.

Growing pears:

The ideal place to plant a pear tree is in a sheltered and sunny spot away from any frost pockets and protected from strong winds. Shallow or poorly drained soils should most definitely be avoided.

It is usual to buy pear trees in one of two forms, either as bare root or container plants. Container plants can be transplanted at any time of year though winter is the best time for this. Bare root plants are the cheaper option and should be planted between late autumn and early spring.

If you are keeping your tree in a container be sure that you have bought a plant grafted to a container variety rootstock as the rootstock will determine the eventual size of the tree. Choose a container that is at least 45-50cm in diameter and fill the bottom of the container with crocks to retain water. Fill containers with a good quality multi-purpose compost with one third grit to improve the drainage.

If planting in the garden, you should be sure to bury the tree to the same depth that it was in in the pot or its previous position. Dig a hole that is the depth of the root system and can be up to tree times the diameter of the root system. Spread out the roots in the hole, refill with soil and tamp down to make sure there are not air holes. Laying a mulch around the base of the young tree is a good idea as it will help retain moisture in the soil and will keep down the weeds. A guild of beneficial plants can help young fruit trees to establish. Be sure to water young trees regularly in dry weather.

It is best to harvest pears just before they have fully ripened. They should be firm and swollen and you will be able to tell they are ready when they subtly change shade. Lift and gently twist to remove pears from the tree. Pears benefit from being stored for a time before they are eaten – the length of time they will take before they are ready depends in the variety.

Why grow pears in the garden?

A pear tree can be a great show tree in a smaller garden or can become a beloved part of an orchard or forest garden. They can provide biodiversity and shade in mid-summer when it is needed.

Pears are delicious and can be eaten fresh or cooked in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.

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