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Seed grown Pear tree

Posted by BackYardGardener26 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 18, 13 at 1:29

Hello,
Out of curiosity I have decided to grow a pear tree from seed, I have a few seedlings growing and with any luck one or two will survive to maturity. Since it will take years for my trees to fruit, I was wondering if anyone can offer some insight on what to expect from them, or are the results of seed grown pears so varied that there is no standard of what to expect. I have plenty of space and even if the fruit is terrible I plan on keeping the trees, but I would love to know if anybody here can tell me there experience on growing a pear tree from seed.
Thanks
Matt


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

I grew some seedlings of bosc pear. Now im in zone 4 where pears arent thought to survive well anyways. This spring will be its fourth year.

I dont have any european pears in my yard, but looking at some pictures of others, and comparing to my russian/euro crosses (golden spice and john) there are some differences. The leaves on my seedling pear are a lomger oval with a more pointed tip, where as the euro have the more rounded leaves. This could be due to the fact that the seedling is still slightly immature.

Pear genes are a gamble. Maybe not quite as much as apples but you will not get something similar to the fruit you got the seed from (parent). Do not be discouraged because in truth you never know what youre going to get, and in my experience so far that is the best part. It is also an opportunity to practice grafting. You may want to think about getting some scion of a known pear that you enjoy to make the tree a bit more functional. You can graft the top and make the whole tree that type or graft a few branches. You may want to just leave it and see how it goes.

I will say the seedling turns a beautiful shade of red in the fall and the growth rate increases every year. I had two and they both survived in dixie cups outside over the winter as first year seedlings buried in snow. Mine is about 3 feet tall and has a good 6 branches so far. This spring I am going to graft a few branches of flemish beauty and leave the top because i really want to see what the tree produces. I will have to wait a minimum of 5-7 years before I even see a single flower let alone fruit though.... maybe 10 years for that. Im halfway there almost!

Good luck


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

Thanks for the reply, my seedlings are from Seckel pears, but I have a few Bosch and Comice seeds still in the fridge, planning on planting them in about a week. I figured if I plant a bunch and from different pears I have better odds of getting a good two or three trees that are disease and fire blight tolerant. If more of the seedlings survive then I am anticipating then I think I will graft some. Never tried grafting but, guess if I have extra trees what do I got to lose.
Good luck on your trees,
Matt


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

Well the knocks against doing what you are doing were stated: It delays fruit production by 4-6 years so figure 10-12 years before you get fruit and the fruit you get can taste like nothing, dirt, cotton, or a lot of other undesirable flavors. I would estimate if you planted 1,600 trees and got 400 to survive to fruit you may be lucky to have one you considered as good as the parents. Still, this is how Zaiger started and he now figures he can produce a new cultivar per 5 (final hybrid) trees planted.

Of course, besides preserves there is always baking if it is at least moderately tasting like a pear. And cider if not.

This is why when one finds a chance seedling that is acceptable or better it should be cherished and preserved.

And yes you can always top it and graft onto the tree if it is a reject down the road.

This post was edited by Fascist_Nation on Wed, Dec 18, 13 at 19:52


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

Aside from what the fruit may taste like, does anybody know what my odds are of getting a standard or dwarf size tree? Or if the fruit would even resemble a pear in look? I have grown peaches from pits off my redhaven tree that gave me peaches nearly identical to the parent tree, but from what I am gathering pears are too much of a genetic toss up to predict much. But is there a ballpark figure on size of tree or shape of fruit. I would consider this experiment a success if I get a standard size tree with fruit that was recognizably a pear and had ok eating quality.
Thanks again,
Matt


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

I would guess that you have a good chance of getting a standard-sized tree with fruit that resembles a pear or a quince and which would be edible if not worth eating! But seedling pomes really are too much a genetic toss up, as you neatly put it, to bet much on. Peaches have a much better reputation for growing true to type.

But rules are made to be broken. For example, I think that I've read here that winesaps are more reliable as seedlings than most apples. You may have a congenial pear; who knows.

A bigger concern to me is fireblight susceptibility, but on the other hand, if you found another fireblight resistant rootstock it would be important indeed.

Good luck.


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

I grew out a bunch of Bartlett seedlings for rootstock, I didn't notice much difference in size. Pears are supposed to be like apples as far as seedlings go: the fruit will likely be smaller and either bland or bitter. They can still be really good for cider or cooking.

Scott


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

I was surprised to find huge wicked thorns on some shoots that had come up from the rootstock on a couple of my pear trees. You might get that. Northwoodswis


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

I have several pears grown up from seed. A couple going on 4 years. One thing to expect is sharp spikes... Another thing I have had a ton of on my seedlings is blister mites. Really bad. Most of mine are Bartlett seedlings.


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

Thorns on a pear tree? Do you think the thorns were bred out then revert back when grown from seed? Mrs. G


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RE: Seed grown Pear tree

Fire blight is my biggest concern as well, I know it is around my area, and that pears are highly susceptible to it. I am growing a good amount of seedlings though so I think I have a fair chance of getting a hardy one or two trees.
I remember hearing thorns are common amongst young pear trees, and that the thorns usually go away after they reach fruiting age. The seedlings I have now don’t have thorns, but I guess some may develop them. I wonder if the ones that produce thorns will have a better chance of survival since the thorns are nature’s way of protecting the young trees, maybe the thorny ones might have some hidden protective genes as well.
Matt


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