Pear Varieties - Your Online Source for Information on Pears and Pear Trees
There are over three thousand pear varieties in the world. Yet, of these, fewer than one hundred produce abundant, delicious pears, and under twenty are commercially produced.
Pears can be planted in backyards just about anywhere apple trees can grow, except in the growing zones farthest north. In the United States, almost all commercially grown pears are produced in the Pacific Northwest.
Pear trees first grew in the Eastern United States when colonists brought them over from Europe. However, after a while, the trees were overcome with bacterial diseases.
Today, fire blight and the insect pest, pear psylla, can both be difficult to control. But, each year pear cultivars are produced that are heartier and more disease resistant. Settlers who carried pear trees westward found that areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington State had near perfect conditions for growing pears.
Most pear varieties do not need as much attention as apples, and are much more tolerant of moist or clay soil. Pears take between four and eight years before producing a crop, so good planning and tree care are needed so that trees are very healthy when it is time for them to begin producing a harvest.
You have to plant at least two varieties of pears as cross-pollination is necessary to have fruit. The pear varieties, Seckel and Bartlett do not do well together, so choose other types when planting.
Some of the pear varieties that are most disease resistant are:
Baldwin and Leconte, which are mainly grown in the southern United States
Most of the pear varieties grown in the Pacific Northwest are ones which originated in Europe.
Today, you will find:
Yellow Bartlett (August - January)
Red Bartlett and Starkrimson (August - January)
Green Anjou (October - June)
Red Anjou (October - May)
Bosc (September - April)
Comice (September - February)
Concorde (September - January)
Seckel (September - February)
Forelle (September - February)
These Northwest pears are grown in four regions spread throughout Oregon and Washington State.
The first, Hood River & Mid-Columbia region is under the shadow of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams and in a stretch that runs for thousands of acres alongside the Columbia River, in both states.
The Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon makes up the Medford District, the region furthest south.
The region producing pears for the longest time is Washington’s Wenatchee Valley. Orchards here produce every kind of U.S. pear and have origins going back as far as the 1850s.
The fourth region is the Yakima Valley region of Washington State. Here, there are many more thousands of acres of pears that grow under the gaze of Mounts Rainier and Baker.
Overall, Washington State produces the most pears of any U.S. state.