Growing pear trees in Australia

| October 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

How to grow pear trees in Australia

Growing pears in Australia

Pear trees (Pyrus communis) are wonderfully ornamental fruit trees which grow well in Australian backyards. In my humble view every Australian should have a pear tree in their backyard. If space permits growing pear trees in the backyard is fantastic, however attractive and productive pot specimens can also be grown for those with less space to play with.

These small trees are becoming increasingly popular in Perth and throughout WA, even in bigger gardens, because their crop is easy to pick, these compact pot grown pears are also generally just easier to manage from a maintenance point of view.

I love eating fresh home-grown pears, whether it’s fresh pear slices on a cheese platter, delicious pear tarts, or a refreshing pear and rocket salad there is nothing better than home-grown.

If you have ever wondered how to grow pear trees in Perth then look no further. Pear trees are a simple fruit tree to grow, but there are still a few tricks to successfully growing pears in Perth, Western Australia. Get these right and you will be laughing.

When to plant pear trees in Perth:
The best time to plant deciduous fruit trees, like pears is when they are dormant, in winter and early spring.

Types of pear trees in Western Australia:
There is a range of pear varieties in Australia. Check out these readily available pear varieties in Western Australia.

  • Packham’s Triumph pear tree – This is an Australian heirloom pear bred in Molong, NSW and dates back to the late 1800’s. It is a great eating pear with smooth, green to yellow skin and juicy, white flesh which is sweet and rich in flavour. A great all-rounder, it can be used for fresh fruit, drying, preserving, cooking and juice. Consistent cropper with excellent storage qualities.
  • Williams Pear tree – The Williams bon Chrétien pear, commonly called the Williams pear in Australia or the Bartlett pear in the United States and Canada, is one of the most commonly grown varieties in the world. Large, greenish yellow, orange blushed fruit, smooth skin, classic if slightly dumpy pear shaped. The flesh is smooth and moderately juicy and sweet. Keeps shape with cooking and good for preserving.
  • Beurre Bosc pear tree – Used for fresh fruit, drying, preserving and cooking. A regular and heavy cropper with very good keeping qualities. Also called “Kaiser” pear.
  • Corella pear tree – Attractive red skinned flesh with yellow background. Mid season, early flowering variety requiring only a medium chill. The Corella pear variety when ripe still has the sweet soft flesh but the skin remains hard and crunchy and it makes for a satisfying mouth feel.
  • Josephine pear tree – This pear is used for fresh fruit, drying, preserving and juice. Like most pears grows best when it is planted in full sun.
  • Paradise pear tree – European pear ‘Paradise’ is a delightful small early ripening pear that has fruit in clusters. Paradise pears are also called ‘Faccia Bella’, crystal pears or sugar pears. They have green skin with a red blush, and sweet white flesh.

Dwarf pears varieties:
There are a number of dwarf pear varieties available in Perth. Another great option is to buy a multi-grafted variety to give you two varieties of pear on the one tree. Below is a list of some of the more popular dwarf pear varieties;

  • Sunshine Dwarf  Pears – A highly productive tree which is best planted in full sun, they produce extremely sweet, crisp pears. Ripens very early in the season usually around February.
  • Bonza Dwarf Pear – A highly productive pear tree variety producing extremely sweet, crisp sub-tropical pears. Matures very early season. Grows well in Perth’s Mediterranean climate.
  • Winter Nelis Dwarf Pear – A good yielding pear, which is ready to harvest in mid to late March. Best planted in full sun.
  • Williams Bartlett Dwarf Pear – Dwarf form of the popular “Bartlett” pear. Ripens early March. Plant in full sun for best success.
  • Beurre Bosc Dwarf pear – Dwarf form of the popular “Buerre Bosch” pear. Ripens late February.
  • Josephine Dwarf pear – Dwarf form of the popular “Josephine” pear. Ripens mid-late March. Like most pears grows best when it is planted in full sun.
  • Packham’s Triumph Dwarf  – Dwarf form of the popular “Packham’s Triumph” pear. It has great versatility and can be used for fresh fruit, drying, preserving, cooking and juice. Consistant cropper with excellent storage qualities.

Ornamental pear varieties:
Ornamental pears are one of the best trees for Perth gardens tolerating heat and periods of dry.

  • Manchurian Pear Tree – The Manchurian pear is a good shade or specimen tree for small to medium gardens.
  • Snow Pear Tree – A form of Pyrus sets itself apart from the rest with its main point of difference being the slightly glaucous foliage which gives the tree a soft, silvery green appearance when in leaf.

How to grow pear trees at home:
Growing pear trees at home is easy, fun and rewarding! Below are the steps on how to how to grow pear trees in Australia;

  1. Choose a sunny spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with a dynamic lifter. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the tree from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and back-fill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant’s root zone. This helps keep water where it’s needed. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  4.  Mulch around the base with organic mulch like wood chips, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. Feed and improve the soil yearly. When in flower, feed weekly with a Fruit Plant Food to help promote more flowering and fruiting.

How to grow pear in a pot:
Growing pear trees in pots is a great idea, but look for the dwarf pear varieties. Below are the steps on how to how to grow pears in pots;

  1. Choose a pot at least 60cm wide. Position in full sun and fill with quality potting mix.
  2. Remove the tree from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in pot and back-fill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like wood chips, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. Feed and improve the soil yearly. When in flower, feed weekly with a Fruit Plant Food to help promote more flowering and fruiting.

When to harvest pears:
Pears should be harvested just before they are fully ripe, when the fruit is still quiet firm. This means picking two weeks before full maturity as the background colour of the skin is changing from dark to light green (or yellow or red). In Western Australia most of the common pear varieties will be ready to harvest from February through March.

Storing pears at home:
Pears ripen from the inside out so by the time they are soft on the outside, the inside flesh may be overripe. Leave your unripe pears at room temperature in order to induce ripening.
If needed you can speed up the ripening process, place pears in a brown paper bag. This traps ethylene which pears produce as they ripen. Additionally placing your pears next to bananas or avocados will help to ripen them as both fruits naturally release ethylene as they ripen.

Ripe pears should be stored in a refrigerator.

Best pear varieties for cooking:
With so many varieties available on the market, it can be tough to choose which pears work best for baking. We recommend using either Bartlett or Bosc. Both varieties have the highest volume and are widely available in Western Australia.

Pear tree care and common problems:
Very cool or hot weather can affect ripening of pears, and leaving fruits on the tree for too long can cause them to rot from the inside out. Scab and other fungal diseases can cause problems for pears also so be sure to manage as required.  Insects are generally less of a problem with pears than with other tree fruits.

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

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Category: Vegetable Garden

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