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European pear varieties in low chill area?

Posted by bluerose4 So Cal zone24 (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 2:19

I'm trying to decide on which 2 pear trees to plant this season. I like the taste and texture of comice type pears. Is it too ambitious to plant comice and bartlett in coastal Santa Barbara county? Or southern bartlette/warren would be safer? I haven't found any info on how southern bartlett tastes but it seems like it does well in the low chill area. I have grown flordahome and hood and while they did well I'm hoping to grow something that tastes close to commercially available varieties, hence the choices above. Any insights?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: European pear varieties in low chill area?

I have a link to NCGR that might interest you.

RE: European pear varieties in low chill area?

I have friends about a block away who inherited a yard of fruit trees when they purchased an adjacent property. Among the trees are Bartlett and Comice pears. They both fruit. We live about two short blocks from the back arm of Morro Bay.

That said, I've never thought the pears they've offered me have been especially good, although they don't seem to have a handle on how/when to pick and/or store (in the case of the Comice) the fruit.

I'm going to assemble some pear trees myself this Winter. I've chosen Moretini, Seckel, Warren, and Buerre Superfin.

My original plan included Bartlett (which I absolutely love--when it's good) and Comice, but I was persuaded to to try these instead. If you can place your trees where they won't get much Winter sun, that would help with the chill hours, but pears seem be a little forgiving.

RE: European pear varieties in low chill area?

I have 17 pear cultivars planted, and am just getting my first pears this season on a 1 tree I planted last season, and surprisingly, one I planted this last bare root season. I have 4 pears on my Seckel and 4 or 5 on my Rescue pear. One Seckel was ripe and has been eaten much to our delight, very delicious and sweet as sugar. Here are the varieties I have, and my zone is very close to yours:

Seckel Pear
Comice Pear
Concorde Pear
Moonglow Pear
Fondante de Moulins Lille Pear
Pineapple Pear
Rescue Pear
White Doyenne

Jiugnos Pear TM
Bella Di Guigno Pear
Butirra Precoce Morettini Pear
"Citron de Carmes Pear
Aurora Pear
Ubileen Pear
Doyenne de Juliette Pear

I would strongly suggest you contact either Tierra Madre Farm:

Or, Trees of Antiquity:

Tierra Madre Farms is in Santa Cruz, and Trees of Antiquity are in Paso Robles. Both in areas that understand your climate well. They are both absolutely fantastic companies, with excellent selections of fabulous heirloom pears, apples, and other stone fruits.
to discuss what they think will work well for your area. Pears and a little forgiving, like apples I've found, and will produce even in areas that perhaps as a little shy on chill hours for you. Seckel and Comice both should do fine for you. And, there are so man other, better choices than Bartlett.

Patty S.

RE: European pear varieties in low chill area?

Thank you for sharing great links and/or experiences. It is very encouraging to read them since it turns out my area only gets about 60 chill hour max. I may still go with southern bartlett and warren just to be a little safer. Has anyone grown either?


RE: European pear varieties in low chill area?

My goodness Patty--you must really like pears! I have a couple of multi-grafted trees, and those few are plenty for me.

I have a friend who is always sending me a box of pears from that famous pear place for Christmas, which all get ripe at the same time of course, and I'm sorry, but I can only eat so many pears! I usually end up putting them in vinegar to make pear-flavored vinegar. (and hinting at other times of the year that I hate it when all my pears get ripe at once because what can you do with them??? Somehow she never makes the connection :)

Carla in Sac

RE: European pear varieties in low chill area?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 12:24

That's a lot of pears Patty. I'm still building my pear collection (10 types by spring) and have yet to taste any from my trees. Based on my recolection of the descriptions in Tierra Madre, I think you've got some of the pears in the wrong list. In particular, Jiugnos and Citron de Carmes are both pretty early, Jiugnos actually meaning "June" in Italian.

Also, I think Concorde is a pretty late pear. Whole Foods has had them for the last ~3 weeks and I've enjoyed them quite a bit. They are sweet (16-17 brix), and juicy, all while still being reasonably firm. They also had a wonderful fruity flavor with a hint of something like vanilla. I'm tempted to add it, but I don't see it available on either of the two site. The only place I see it is from Grandpa's Orchard, but I've already gotten my order from them this year (and it's on OHxF97, which is non-ideal).

I thought that maybe I was becoming a bigger fan of pears, so I tried some Bartlets and Boscs (previous favorite). The Bartlet were not so tasty (brix of 11-12 and unpleasant flavor) and the Bosc were OK (brix 12-14, a bit tougher texture (not a bad thing), and OK flavor). I know Bosc can be better, as I had some which reached 18 brix and were quite good, which I picked from a PYO around September 10. I'm guessing that both these pears were picked too early, in order to store until now.

RE: European pear varieties in low chill area?

Hah, I just got back to this message thread. Bob, I have my categories switched, lol! The first section are my LATE pears, and the second grouping are my EARLY pears. I have them like that on my spreadsheet, and I really should reverse the categories, with early first, the late below the early cultivars. My goodness. Carla, I love pears. My favorite deciduous fruit right next to cherries. I had 3 Seckels this last season, and they were delicious, very sweet and most definitely a "dessert" pear. Hoping for fruit on some if not all this year, I see a lot of fruiting spurs out there. Sadly, I'm going to have to replace my Aurora pear, it didn't make it. Now, my fear, is what caused the demise. We do have pockets of Fireblight out here, and the Aurora is not very Fireblight resistant. It doesn't look like Fireblight, but it never really got growing enough to display the distinctive symptoms. So, debating whether or not to give Aurora another try, or find another cultivar.

Patty S.

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