Growing Pears at the Allotment

Growing Pears at the Allotment

Pears are a delicious fruit that comes in many varieties; with two main overall types - Cookers for cooking and Dessert Pears for eating. They grow very similarly to apples but tend to flower earlier and are more susceptible to late frosts. You can plant dormant trees any time but ideally during late autumn to February as long as the soil is not frozen or sodden. 

You can plant bare root trees in a sunny but sheltered position, which is ideally south-facing. Plant the tree in well-drained soil and protect it against frost if required. They will need a hole as deep as the roots but a few times wider for growth. Ensure the soil is packed in and around the roots tightly, with no air pockets. 

Water your pear tree regularly during dry spells, especially when they begin to produce fruit. Also add some fertiliser during Spring.

You can also grow pear trees in containers, this will be a 'Rootstock' such as Quince C. Plant it with some good quality compost and ensure your container has drainage.

Look out for any rot or leaf rust and remove the offending fruit and leaves to help prevent any spread. You may wish to train your tree, depending on the variety. 

Your pear tree should be pruned annually to help produce a better crop and when you prune it and how will depend on your variety. Look out for canker or any disease as you go.

Pears should be picked just before they ripen but are plump with a slight colour change. Pears can deteriorate quite quickly once they become fully ripe. They will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Depending on the variety, your pears will benefit from being stored until softened and ripe from as little as a week to quite a few months. 

Pears can be cooked and used for desserts, chutneys and also be pickled.

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Growing Pears in Summary

Planting Pears

  • Plant dormant trees from late autumn to February
  • Plant in a sunny and sheltered position
  • Can be planted in containers

Growing Pears

  • Water regularly during dry spells, especially when producing fruit
  • Prune annually
  • Watch for canker and other diseases

Harvesting Pears

  • Pick before fully ripened but plump with slight colour change
  • Store well until softened
  • Can be pickled and cooked for desserts and more