Pear trees originated in central Asia. They are relatives of the apple and are propagated and managed in a very similar way. But pears are in some ways easier to grow than apples. Apples can be pestered by many insects and diseases, but pears are relatively trouble-free.
Pear trees can be grown organically simply because they don't require any sprays to keep them healthy and pest-free. Fireblight is the only disease that challenges pear trees, but this is easy to diagnose and manage.
If you can't find pear trees at local nurseries, you can order trees online. Most online tree orders will be shipped as dormant, bare root trees in early spring. You can usually order bare root trees any time between late fall and early spring, and the nurseries will ship at the appropriate time for your area.
Fruit trees should be pruned every year in late winter or early spring, after the coldest weather is past and before growth begins. Prune minimally, especially with young trees, as excessive pruning will delay or reduce fruiting and create too much leafy growth.
Have you moved into a house that has an old, overgrown pear tree Are the branches overlapping and going every which way Don't lose hope. This tree is probably fine, it just needs a little work to get it back in shape and productive again.
To ensure optimal growth the first year, please provide a 4 foot diameter weed and grass-free area around the tree. This will provide a water basin and minimize grass/weeds from taking water and nutrients from the tree. During spring and summer, 4-6 inches of mulch should be placed a few inches away from the trunk to provide good air circulation. The best mixture of mulch during spring is weed- free hay and compost. During summer time try a mixture of grass clipping, and weed-free hay.
Summer pruning is advised, especially for removing waterspouts, rootsuckers and fire-blight-infected wood. Summer pruning can also be used during the first three years of tree training to produce the desired tree shape. Undesired growth should be removed in early summer or after harvest between late August and early September. Also, note that pruning should be focused on thinning out rather than heading-back cuts.
Fire blight, cause by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, is the most devastating disease of pear. Fortunately, this disease is not a problem every year and, when it does occur, it is often isolated to specific geographical locations. However, when infection occurs, the disease develops quite rapidly and can destroy individual trees or even orchards in a single season.The bacteria survive the winter in old cankers on pears and other plants and in healthy pear buds. This disease can occur in four phases: canker blight, blossom blight, shoot blight, and trauma blight. As the weather becomes favorable for growth in the spring, the bacteria begin to multiply rapidly and can be seen oozing out of tissues. This creamy, bacterial ooze is attractive to insects and they pick it up and carry it to open flower buds where infection occurs. The bacteria are also carried by wind and rain to open pear blossoms. Infected tissues are characterized by their blackened, \"burned\" appearance, hence the name \"fire blight.\"The most effective method for control of this disease in home plantings is sanitation. Any cankered or infected branches or twigs should be cut back to healthy wood during the dormant season. All pruning cuts should be made at least 8-12\" below visible symptoms. All tools should be disinfested with 10% bleach (1 part bleach: 9 parts water) or 70% alcohol. Prunings should also be removed from the vicinity of the tree. In addition to these practices, it is important to scout for new infections and remove blighted tissues as soon as they appear. The effects of this disease can also be minimized by maintaining overall tree health by following proper cultural practices that avoid excessive vigor. Pear cultivars vary with regard to their overall susceptibility to fire blight, so \"less susceptible\" cultivars (e.g., Comice, Winter Nelis) can be selected for planting.
Fabraea leaf spot, also known as leaf blight and black spot, is caused by the fungus Fabraea maculata. This disease usually appears late in the growing season but can occasionally develop in late May and early June. Fabraea leaf spot attacks leaves, fruit, and twigs of pear. Symptoms first appear as brown to black spots on the leaves. Heavily infected leaves often yellow and drop prematurely. Severe defoliation can substantially reduce tree vigor and yield, especially if trees are defoliated several years in a row. Lesions on fruit appear similar to those on leaves but become slightly sunken as fruit expand. Severely infected fruit may also crack. Once established in a tree or planting, this disease is difficult to control since significant amounts of fungal inoculum overwinter on infected leaves. Spores of the fungus are easily spread by splashing rain and wind in the spring.Effective control includes a good sanitation program. Since overwintering infected leaves are a major source of spores in the spring, removal of all fallen leaves during the dormant season significantly reduces the chances for new infection. In addition, properly selected and timed fungicide sprays are important for disease control (refer to Spray Guide below).
Pear scab, caused by the fungus Venturia pirina, is a disease that is quite similar to apple scab. The fungus causes circular, velvety, olive-black spots on leaves, fruit, and sometimes twigs. As the lesions age, they become gray and cracked. The fungus overwinters on dead, fallen leaves and produces spores (primary) in the spring that can infect during periods of rain. Infection from these primary spores can take place anytime after pear growth begins until mid to late June if suitable weather conditions exist. During the summer, a different spore (secondary) is produced by the fungus that is capable of inciting more new infections when splashed onto leaves and fruits by rain.This disease is effectively controlled by a good sanitation program in which diseased leaves and fruit are removed from the vicinity of the tree. This significantly reduces sources of inoculum in the spring. Scab can also be controlled with properly selected and timed fungicide sprays (refer to Spray Guide below).
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Homegrown tomatoes were the province of our neighbor, Mr. Sherman, a history professor who had summers free to dedicate to amending our sandy soil, fertilizing, caging, watering, and pruning hybrid beefsteaks.
Using a mixture of covers will lead to different results in different years based on weather conditions, but a benefit of the mix is that at least a few of the species usually grow well. Cover crop mixes are also valuable because of the biodiversity they provide in what may otherwise be a grain field with little diversity. The biodiversity of plants helps not only beneficial insects and wildlife, but also an incredible diversity of below-ground organisms. Studies have shown that the number of microbe species and the quantity of below-ground organisms increases with a greater diversity of plants grown. Thus, a mix of cover crops often contributes to soil health, as does keeping living roots in the soil for as much of the year as possible. Buckwheat is a good companion in a cover crop mix because of its prolonged flowering, the fact that it grows quickly but does not crowd out other cover species, and its soil improvement properties.
In the galaxy of cover crop plants, buckwheat is also known as one of the best for smothering mid-summer weeds. While individual buckwheat plants are not particularly competitive with neighboring plants, a dense stand of rapidly growing buckwheat typically outcompetes the majority of summer weeds. There is some thinking that this is a function not only of buckwheat leaves shading out small weeds, but also the roots having some chemical interactions that suppress at least some weeds. This is another area where more research is needed. Regardless, buckwheat planted in a dense stand can provide good weed control for otherwise bare fields through mid-summer. Be aware that as the buckwheat matures and its leaves start to fall off, some late season weeds may come up through the buckwheat canopy, particularly following a rainy period. If this happens, the whole plant stand can be mowed down, tilled, or otherwise terminated and either a fall cover crop (eg., rye, oats, etc.) or a fall cash crop such as winter wheat, winter canola, or fall vegetables planted.
For cover crop, pollinator, or wildlife use, a wide planting window exists, from about the second week of May (if the soil is warm enough) to late August in Missouri conditions. Planting in late summer will lead to a much shorter buckwheat crop and a shorter period of flowering, but it will still produce some cover. Buckwheat should not be planted in the fall as it will grow little and quickly be killed by the first light frost. It needs the warmer growing conditions found in summer due to its nature as a warm season crop.
If buckwheat is allowed to go to seed, some volunteer buckwheat plants can be expected either later that year or, more likely, the next growing season. However, these volunteer buckwheat plants are easily controlled with tillage, mowing, or herbicides. Buckwheat does not have hard seed and normally just one flush of volunteer plants will occur. For wildlife planting, such volunteer buckwheat plants may be considered desirable as they reduce the need for replanting. 153554b96e