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any pear trees with thorns?

Posted by kossetx 8a (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 3, 08 at 15:46

I'm in a delema here. I planted an off shoot of a very old pear in my small orchard about 5 years ago. The tree it came from is at least 75 years old and 35' across. This tree has leaves that look exactly like my moonglow and ayers pear trees, but it has a different growth habit, not upright, and very small "thorns", I guess you'd call them, at the ends of the branches. I believe the older tree was an asian pear tree of some type because the pears were big and round like a small grapefruit. It hasn't produced in years though.

My existing pear trees are 30' apart and I have a southern bartlett that I need to plant around them. I can do one of the following things due to limited sunlight.

1. split the difference between the trees and make them 15' apart.

2. cut down the unknown tree and plant the bartlett in it's place.

3. Dig up the unkown tree and replace it with the bartlett, and use the unkown to split the difference so if I have to cut a tree down one day, it would be this one.

Even though I don't know if it is even a pear or if it will produce because it wasn't grafted, I hate to cut it down. It has been there about 5 years. I could also pland the bartlett about 200 yards from the other pear trees but it would be next to plum trees, but in full sun.

This should be this much of a delema, but it is. The old pear tree is on family land that I have no more access to, and this tree is a kinda link to the past. Do some pear trees have thorns and what would you do?

TIA, Mark

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: any pear trees with thorns?

Mark: You say you planted an offshoot. That sounds like a root sprout to me. So won't the tree you have be the rootstock of your old tree not the scion? I won't be surprised to see a pear rootstock with thorns.

The Fruitnut

RE: any pear trees with thorns?

Agree with the fruitnut.
What you've got is a shoot from the rootstock the fruiting pear was grafted onto, which would, in all likelihood be thorny. Could be a callery pear seedling(which has been widely used as an understock for fruiting pears in TX) or even a seedling European pear, in which case, it might take years(or decades) for it to grow out of the thorny immature state and begin fruiting, and it would be a crapshoot as to what the fruit would be like.
Perhaps the current owners of the land would allow you to collect scions of the old pear and graft onto the rootstock?

RE: any pear trees with thorns?

Thanks for the replies! I honestly don't think it is off rootstock of the old tree. There were/are several of these trees in the area of it but they seemed too far away to be root shoots. I belive it is from animal cosumption and distribution. The tree was on it's own for 30-40 years and I used to find deer on their hind legs getting fruit from it.

I'm just guessing though. My particular tree was about 10' past the tree canopy. It is probably in my best interest to quit being sentimental and cut it down and put the good tree in it's place or move it somewhere else. The old pear doesn't produce anymore so would grafting from it be usefull? It still flowers, but the fruit doesn't set anymore.

RE: any pear trees with thorns?

That far from the trunk, it could be a seedling of the fruiting pear - but still could be a rootstock sprout; I've seen 'em pop up 20 ft or more away from the main trunk.
Yes, grafting a scion of the old tree onto your thorny rootstock would be useful - you should get an invigorated clone of the original.
If the old pear tree is still flowering, but failing to set fruit, I would suspect that it probably just needs a pollenizer - it may have had a 'companion' pear that has since died or been removed. Not all pear varieties are self-fertile.

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