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Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Posted by dan8 9 (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 2:36

My local Lowes has four different types of bare root Asian Pears from Pacificgroves. They are Hosui, 20th century, chojuro, and shinseiki. There aren't many people around here who grow Asian pears, and so I really don't know what each variety tastes like. (If anybody knows a commercial grower near Stockton, CA I would love to know about it).

So those with experience growing these, which cultivar is your favorite to eat and you would overall prefer to grow. I am looking for something that is crisp and sweet, will have viable fruit on a younger tree, and doesn't demand too much attention.

These trees come as semi dwarf, and ultra dwarf. Which type would you prefer?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

I have two types. One is the Hosui and the other is, I believe Shenko(?). One is blight resistant and does well. The other shows signs of blight. I would go with whichever is blight resistant.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Chojuro and Hosui are winners. The others are less flavorful from my experience, but also very refreshingly juicy.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Chojuro and Hosui are winners, I'll second that. Re: rootstock the two are probably fairly similar in size, asians are not put on quince so the ultra dwarf is probably OH333 which is more a semi-dwarf. I like OH333 for asians so ultra is probably a good deal. They may be able to tell you the actual stocks.

Scott


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Ditto the thumbs-up for Hosui & Chojuro(my favorite).
Tsu Li made a big move up the scale in my preferences last year; will be grafting some more of it this year.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

20th Century is delicious! Very juicy and sweet. It has a yellow skin and a 'lighter' flavor than the brown-skinned varieties.

Hosui is brown-skinned, but not nearly as good as Shingko, in my opinion. Mainly because it has that quality (is there a name for this?) where it sort of 'squeaks' on my teeth as I chew it. Do you know what I mean? Annoying. Shingko has the best flavor of the browns, too.

OTOH, if you are mostly going to be cooking, Hosui might be fine. Asian pears make amazing pies.

If you have room for two trees, I'd get the 2oth Century and find a Shingko elsewhere (Burnt Ridge has them, for example). Otherwise I'd hold out for the Shingko alone :).


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 13:47

Housi hasn't been good for me. I much prefer Olympic, aka Korean Giant. 20th Century was good in Amarillo but haven't tried it here.

Olympic is much easier to thin than the other Asians, it's sweeter, bigger, and it stores a long time. I just finished 1/4 of my last fruit. Still as good as September.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by dan8 Stockton, CA Zone 9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 16:00

Wow, thanks for the many responses. It looks like Chojuro is very popular with home growers. I think I will be going with Chojuro because its known to have more flavor.
@zzita, After watching this video of a grower from Japan, my dad decided we also want to get a 20th Century pear because he says he prefers lighter tasting ones, and I know what you mean with that squeek!
http://www.tottoripears.com/
@fruitnut, I did want to get the Korean Giant, but I can't find any here. In my experience however, the larger Asian pears I've eaten (get them from costco) tend to taste bland and not crunchy, but they are very juicy.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Hi Dan,

This could be the case of different climate produces different quality of fruit of the same variety. That's said, here's my 2 cents.

I have Korean Giant, 20th Century, Shinko and Hosui . I got Hosui based on a lot of positive reviews from this forum but it has not produced so I can't comment on it.

For me, KG is sweet, crunchy and very big. It's very productive, too. Everyone who tastes my KG, loves it. If I could find more space, I'll plant another one.

My 20th is good, juicy but not as sweet. Fruit size is rather small. The tree is not as productive as KG.

My Shinko tastes so bland I am considering removing it. It's the most disease-resistant but low on taste. It's also the least productive of the three.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 17:19

dan8:

Korean Giant isn't as juicy as the other Asian pears but it is sweeter. The texture is also different, more hard than crisp. It's just a harder more dense fruit than a dripping juicy Asian pear. It also hasn't cracked in the rain like other Asians have at times for me. Get one, I think you'll like it. Almost everyone else seems to.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Not me. Korean Giant was the sorriest Asian I ever grew. Rarely set more than 4 or 5 fruits - and yes, they got huge, but it was about like eating a big, wet potato - no flavor, minimal sweetness. Fought fireblight in it every year, but shed not a tear the year it blighted back to ground level.
It must be good, 'cause I see all manner of rave reviews for it - but it was a dog here. YMMV


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

One more vote for Chojuro. It has the richest flavor consistently of those I grow. Hosui is sweet and juicy but not as richly flavored as Chojuro. I'll also put in a good word for Shinseiki. In my opinion it's as good tasting as 20th Century (also non-russeted and yellow skinned) and does MUCH better in my climate. For me, 20th Century cracks badly and is quite sensitive to fireblight, but this may not be a problem for you in CA. KG has also been a winner for me--recommended if you want bigger fruits. My experience with Shinko has been closer to mamuang's than zzita's. It may be that this one needs a lot more heat to bring out the flavor than we zone 6er's have.


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The other thing about Hosui is that nothing pollinates it!

I tried every asian pear in my neighborhood, plus a bartlett, and no luck. The only mate I've found for it is a huge old tree of unknown european variety, possibly a seedling, hanging over the fence at my dad's house across town. Some years, it works. Well, one year it did.

!0 years with this Hosui tree, and only once did I get any pears. About a dozen. Maybe I will take it out, but it's a happy, healthy tree. Just no fruit, and not great when there are :(.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Dan, if you are willing to do a bit of a drive, Fowler's has Korean Giant/aka Olympic in their backyard sales' inventory (they also ship if you don't want to drive)

And to taste them, go to any Farmers' Market--ours are still loaded with Asian Pears, even in January, although at this point they only have the later varieties.

Carla in Sac

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.fowlernurseries.com/

This post was edited by sautesmom on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 10:08


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

here in dallas i've lost 2 chojuro's to fireblight; but it must be a dallas thing, nobody else has reported it to be especially susceptable


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Here are three more excellent varieties to be consider: Yoinashi, Tennosui, and Mishirasu. These are high quality Asian pears.

Tony


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by dan8 Stockton, CA Zone 9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 27, 13 at 0:14

So many votes for Chojuro, there's no way I can go without one now. It seems that many people are having problems with growing Hosui, I will stay away from that one.
@sautesmom, maybe one day when I go up north I will pay that nursery a visit.
Thanks everyone for all of the suggestions, it makes me wish I had a bigger yard so that I can just try out everything.
I recently bought a few pounds of European Bosc pear, it was crunchy,very firm, tart and sweet, much better than the Bartlett I'm used to having. Everybody loved it. I think I will have to find myself one of these as well.


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RE: Chojuro, NCGR Corvallis has observed that it produces "Poor quality fruit when grown in a dry climate. "


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Dan I bought my KG from Burnt Ridge but it was small and needs to grow quite a bit. Going back to check on Chojuro


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by rian 7va (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 13:41

Interesting to read all these "pear reviews." I have hosui and shinseki. I was told I needed 2 different asian varieties for pollination. I planted them side by side, a mistake I think because thinning both takes so much time.

Most years the hosui are far and away the best tasting, but every few years they are bland and in those years the shinseki are incredible, simply to die for, wonderful. Whoever said climate, or in my case weather, is a factor, nailed it. I am in vienna, va, a suburb of DC.


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I am in Burke, VA and I planted a Hosui and a Shinko. Does anyone have experience with the Shinko?


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Shinko was often bitter and tasteless so I pulled mine out. Its was not always bad, one year it gave me very good pears.

Scott


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Another vote for Hosui. Not the easiest to care for tho. Mine was pollinated by Raja, which I vote as tops for combo of ease of care, production, and taste. While I also have bartlett my Hosui produced fruit several years before the young bartlett produced any blooms. My 20th cent blooms a bit later. I also have Shinseiki and Hardy Giant but just put those in. It's my understanding that the Shinseiki is a cross of 20th cent and some other pear. I hear it to have similar taste to 20 C but much easier to care for, less blight etc.

This year I'll note specifically if any of my new varieties bloom same time as my Hosui and post results hoping to save zzita's tree. It really is delicious.

Pam in cinti


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by dan8 Stockton, CA Zone 9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 0:52

Bought this asian pear from Raleys and I'm absolutely loving its crispness and sweetness. This might not be easy, but can anybody identify the cultivar of this Asian pear. It is the same kind I usually find in American grocery stores. It is crisp, large and heavy,firm, somewhat flattened, and sweet. It is russeted, but definitely not as distinctly as I've seen in some other pears. The perfect Asian pear in my opinion.


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It looks too brown to be chojuro or shinko. Maybe hosui?


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Hosui? That's my guess, but who knows as color can vary. The lenticels look right. A side view might be better. Looks good to me! I really miss them. we got whacked by the frosts. There were some at the store for $1.75. I bought one and it sucked.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Adam's County Nursery in PA says in their catalog that Asian pears are self fertile. I can't disagree as they set way too much fruit. I suspect most people leave way too much fruit. Enough to lower the sweetness and eating quality. So forget about pollination and develop a good plan for thinning.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

I am confused a bit by the pollination issue. I have an Hosui on order from Cummins and was intending to use Okolo as the pollinator.

zzita says, "The other thing about Hosui is that nothing pollinates it!"

Yet fruitnut says, "Adam's County Nursery in PA says in their catalog that Asian pears are self fertile. I can't disagree..."

So, is there a guess as to whether my Okolo will pollinate it, or do I even need a pollinator?


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 22:22

milehighgirl:

My bet is in 5 years you'll be thinning hundreds of excess fruit just like mine. I've grown several in Amarillo and further south in Alpine. They all set hundreds of fruit at a young age. I don't know what that other guys problem is maybe he's growing a rootstock, scion died.

My two locations in Texas have spring and summer weather a lot like Denver. You just have a longer winter.


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Thanks Fruitnut, I will breathe easier:)


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Milehighgirl: Hosui will cross polinate with several varieties. Do a search for "Asian Pear Polination" and you will find charts that tell you the various varieties. I planted Hosui and Shinko which cross polinate.


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Milehighgirl: Regarding asian pear pollination, Purdue University document state: Asian pear cultivars are partially self-fruitful but better crops are set where two or more cultivars are planted together. In areas with cooler temperatures at bloom-time, cross-pollination by European or Asian pear cultivars will be necessary. Cross-pollinated fruit with seed tend to be larger and more uniformly, round than fruit with few seeds due to inadequate pollination.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Dan, SKU 4408 corresponds to Hosui and 20th Century, as the growers release both varieties depending on the season (20th Century first, then Hosui later). The pear that you have looks like Hosui. I grow both here in Arizona, but the size of the fruit sucks due to the extreme weather conditions and lack of chill out here.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear


scottfsmith wrote:

>Shinko was often bitter and tasteless so I pulled mine out. Its was not always bad, one year it gave me very good pears.

I guess these really are regional! Where I live, Shinko has wonderful spicy flavor, much nicer than Hosui.

Pam wrote:

>Another vote for Hosui. Not the easiest to care for tho. Mine was pollinated by Raja...

>This year I'll note specifically if any of my new varieties bloom same time as my Hosui and post results hoping to save zzita's tree. It really is delicious.

Oh, you are so kind! I have ordered a Shinko, in the hope that it ad the Hosui will get along :).


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Hi zzita

Just found a page that confirms your theory about Shinko. It clearly states that these develop best flavor in hot climates. It is a decent paper worth a read and covers many varieties. Found it when looking for more info about Daisui Li.

HTH

Pam in cinti

Here is a link that might be useful: more helpful Asian pear info


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Hi zzita

I didn't forget your Hosui. Unfortunately this year we had that weird weird very late spring and all my asian pear trees bloomed at once. Specifically I'd say that Hosui, Raja, Chojuro and Daisui Li were in full bloom (along with my bartlett) followed shortly thereafter by 20th C, New C, Hardy Giant and Drippin Honey. The later batch had a good start on blooms before all blooms died away on earlier batch. I thought Hardy Giant and Dripping Honey would bloom earlier based on my reading, but I must state that both these trees were not only first leaf for me but received a bit more shade than the others and that often delays blooming a bit.

I know that doesn't really help but this spring didn't cooperate for any better results.

Pam in cinti


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Revisiting.
Earlier, I said Tsu Li was moving up in my estimation - but consulting my orchard map, it's Ya Li - not Tsu Li - and nice, too, because it's one of the latest ripening, well after most of the other Asians are done.


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Lucky, I surely agree about Ya Li. It's so nice to know that another member has the same taste preferences that I do. Helps to filter down the helpful advice and variety preferences to those that match my taste buds most closely. Not many folks enjoy tart more than sweet.

BTW, my Ya Li is doing very well. Of course she's a baby, and will take years to produce but I'm happy to pamper her.

Pam in cinti


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by skyjs z8 OR, USA (My Page) on
    Sun, May 19, 13 at 18:02

I like 20th Century best. Shinseiki is very good and lite, like Ya Li. Chojuro is very good butterscotch rum flavor but don't pick them late. Korean Giant doesn't have much flavor but boy is it a keeper. Most years I lose a branch due to overfruiting, even after extensive thinning. Korean Giant kept in storage until May, not in fridge, but it broke the branch so I'll have to graft another.
john S
PDX OR


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Dan8, I live in the same gardening climate zone 9 as you, in Roseville about 2 hours north of Stockton. I think all 4 of those choices you listed are very good in our climate. I planted a Hosui and a Twentieth Century semi dwarf in the fall 2011 against a wrought iron backyard fence, and am training the branches to grow horizontal. To my surprise, the Hosui set fruit the following spring. Just before I harvested the fruit, they all disappeared one night, no doubt stolen by a raccoon.

This season, both trees are bearing plenty of fruit that I need to thin them. In this climate, the Hosui does very well, but I do hear it is the more susceptible cultivar to fireblight. It may be true that Asian pears will fruit without another pollinator, but I planted the Twentieth Century just to be sure.

The store-bought asian pear you picture looks very much like the Hosui, a brownish russetted type. They are delicious. Never tasted the Twentieth Century.


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I live in Dallas, TX area. I have one Hosui and one 20th century trees on my backyard. They are about 6 years old. They both appear to set good crop every year, as I have been fighting fire-blight on both EVERY single year !!! . I tried copper spray earlier this year (during dormant) but still not see that much of improvement. My best guess is that I am loosing about 50% of the crop to fire-blight damage every year.

Does anybody have any luck of controlling fire-blight? or any suggestions you may have would be very much appreciated .

Thanks in advance,

JIMMY


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by dan8 Stockton, CA Zone 9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 1:15

@ Swakyaby, I was just in Roseville galleria about a month ago during the heatwave, and boy was it HOT!
I currently have the 20th century, it's growing nice leaves but just very slowly. The leaves are a bit fuzzy, are yours like that too? I also bought the Chojuro, but unfortunately it never took root. Boy I wish I had more room in my yard.. This winter, I will certainly be looking for a Chojuro and Hosui again. Asian pears are my favorite and they don't come easy to find in stores, and definitely not cheap either.

@Jimmy. I have never dealt with fireblight but it seems to accompany every post about Apples and pears, so I'm scared because this will be the first time ever growing them. Best luck to you.


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Dan 8, that was 5 days of triple digits here a month ago. The young trees received extra water. Sorry to hear your Chojuro didn't survive . . . what do you think happened?

As you can see from the photo, it doesn't take much room to plant an Asian pear if you're willing to train it to grow in 2 dimensions. I have 2 Asian pears alternating with 2 cherries against the wrought iron fence. And I have found that when branches are made more horizontal, the tree produces a hormone that causes more flowers and fruit along the horizontal branches compared to the more vertical branches. Apples and asian pears take to being espaliered easily. But it was a mistake to try it with cherries.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

My Twentieth Century does have a velvety fuzz on the new growth leaves and branches. This disappears as the leaves mature. Looks healthy to me.


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Swakyaby,
I really like the espalier look you have done. I'm thinking about doing the same with a pear that has a beautiful purplish-red foliage called maxie. I love the look of this tree and it's foliage would perform well aesthetically in espalier form.


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What's the trick to bending Asian pear branches? I haven't tried anything as extreme (in terms of training) as an espalier, but I have tried to train some Asian pear branches to be less vertical, and I've wound up breaking a substantial percentage of those branches. Is there a particular season the branches are most pliable?


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When the branch is small and pliable bend it slight to the shape you want it to grow and tie it in place.


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All my Shinko Pears are lost because of cracking and splitting. I live in PA north suburban of Philadelphia. We got very wet season this year.

I vote for Korean Giant. Very sweet and no disease. Importantly no cracking.


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@CousinFloyd7,
Spring and early summer are the easiest times to train new branches and tie them to supports.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by dan8 Stockton, CA Zone 9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 12, 13 at 20:18

Very nice Swakaby! I think that the Chojuro failed possibly because I purchased it too late in the season and it's roots might have gotten too much sunlight shining on the bag at the store..
That's a very nice and space saving set up you've got there. Is it possible to plant semi-dwarf trees in that manner? I assumed that they would only fruit once they reached a certain size.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

Hi Dan,
I just tasted my first 20th Century fruit today and it was just outstanding . . . juicy, sweet, great texture. And the Hosui I have been harvesting the past 2 weeks have been really nice. I don't know why I don't see more neighbors in my area with Asian pears! Both trees are semi-dwarf, and the main branch was cut off about 3-4 inches below a 6 foot wrought iron fence, with the lateral branches tied horizontally. Both trees were planted in late September 2011, and both have been very fruitful this summer, only 1 1/2 years later. No disease, no fruit cracking, and knock on wood no fireblight!


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

There seem to be many spelling renditions in this thread of the Shinseiki Asian pear. I purchased one from Burnt Ridge Nursery in 2009. I am excited that the tree is loaded heavily with fruit. I am not sure when I should harvest them. Are they fragrant, soft to the touch, golden yellow? Do you think I need to wait until the end of August?


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In zone 5 my guess is that they should be harvested in late August. Taste one now and you should be able to judge if it is ready.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

  • Posted by dan8 Stockton, CA Zone 9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 14:15

It looks like you are doing a great job Swakyaby, I can't wait to taste my first pear when ever it is the time comes. I think that most people don't want to grow Asian pears because they find it challenging. I know a couple of people around here who have said the tree was growing fine, but then the leaves just browned up and died in the middle of summer.

Chervil, you should enjoy them when they are still hard like an apple. For me, they aren't good at all when soft.


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RE: Selecting a variety of Asian Pear

" . . . but then the leaves just browned up and died in the middle of summer."

I suspect insufficient watering. I've killed a couple of expensive new trees that way. Now I've learned to give the young trees deep watering every week during the summer, sometimes twice a week during the hot spells. With temps averaging in the 90s, I have found it's often not enough to trust my drippers.


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