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A forum for growing rare fruits, edibles and Permaculture with a focus on tropicals.

Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby luke_p » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:14 pm

Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:20 pm
Climate Zone: Sunset 17/15
Hi all-

I was fairly disappointed by the offerings of apples and especially european pears at the recent Golden Gate Scion Exchange. Has fireblight discouraged all the pear growers? I think pears are a phenomenal fruit, and started looking up varieties with claimed fireblight resistance. I have made a list (copied below) of promising varieties with descriptions I gleaned from the web. The descriptions are copied and pasted from other websites but I imagine fair use would apply. I doubt we have the chilling hours for some of the northeastern pears... but I'm sure the southern pears would do really well here. Is anyone in Northern/Central California growing any of these varieties (note that some are patented)?

I have Warren, Seckel and now a variety named "Paul Popenoe's Duchess". I have seen Seckel pears around here with substantial fireblight damage, so it is definitely not a fully resistant variety. I have had decent luck with it (it survived fine with a Bartlett was nailed) and it is so delicious that I think it is worth trying.

AMBROSIA A cross made in 1978 by Purdue University between US 571 and Honeysweet. It is a patented and trade-marked pear licensed exclusively to Gardens Alive, Inc. and marketed through Gurneys Seed and Nursery Company. We purchased these trees and have grown them to a larger size for resale. The fruit is large and good tasting; and produced annually and in abundance on very fire blight resistant trees. The trees have been disease resistant in our nursery rows, while setting a lot of fruit at a young age. Fruit ripens in July to August depending on year and location, with some fruit hanging into September. Our trees set their first blooms relatively late, missing the bloom period of ‘Orient’, but overlapping with ‘Pineapple’ and ‘Kieffer’. Because we don’t know for sure, we assume cross-pollination with another pear is needed for productivity.

AMES Original tree was found growing in the city of Ames, Iowa. The tree is said to be vigorous and stately in habit, highly resistant to fire blight, and very cold hardy -- H. Hartman, Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, 1957 — In 1981, Oregon State University donated germplasm to the National Pear Germplasm Repository, Corvalis, Oregon. There the tree ripens its small-to-medium fruit in late-July. It is said to be average in fruit quality.

ATLANTIC QUEEN PEAR is a unique old French cultivar. The tree is prolific and tolerant of adverse conditions, with resistance to fireblight. The very large (to 1 1/2lb) fruit has yellow-green skin covering a melting, juicy, aromatic flesh. The trees can reach a height of 25 feet or more and grow in any fertile, well-drained soil, in full sun. They have strong vertical branches and require little pruning. The fruit grows on long-lived spurs and is spherical to typically pear-shaped. It should never be allowed to ripen on the tree. The ripening process is completed in storage where the pears will ripen more evenly. It ripens in September. It has done well in the east and west in both maritime and hot summers. USDA Zones 5-9. Needs a pollenizer.

AYERS Medium size fruit, very flavorful and sweet. An Anjou cross that grows well in Danville, VT. Skin is rose-tinted, somewhat russeted. Tree shape quite columnar. Resistant to fireblight. Ripens in September

BLAKE’S PRIDE This yellow and light-golden pear was developed in Kearneysville, WV. Resistant to fire blight. Ripens 10-14 days after Bartlett. Pollenized by Bartlett, Harrow Delight or Warren. 800 hours. USDA Zones 5-9.

BURFORD We purchased our mother tree from Vintage Virginia Orchards in North Garden, Virginia. Burford was a selection from Tom Burford’s great-grandfather's orchard that undoubtedly he found outstanding because of it flavor, ripening quality, tree stamina and above all resistance to fire blight and pear psylla. Here’s what Tom had to say about the tree. “A 75 to 100 year old tree was my childhood backyard favorite pear tree, growing between the row of outhouses and the gas generator house that piped 'light' to the main house. This about seventeen foot tree (I measured it a number of times before cutting the top out) has extraordinarily limber branches. With a full load of from 17 to 20 bushels the limbs nearly head high would bend to the ground with mature fruit without breakage. In 1954 hurricane Hazel blew the tree to a 45 degree angle, but it was righted by a sling around its trunk with the aid of our faithful Ford 8N tractor and produced it usual full crop of pears. For nearly 60 years I enjoyed the pears canned from this tree. The ripening time for harvest is forgiving and even when fully ripe on the tree or gathered from windfalls the pears are useable for dessert, canning and pickling. -- Tom Burford, April 2003.

Description provided by National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Corvalis, Oregon. Tom told me this pear will begin ripening fruit in early September and hold them until the first frost, when it will drop them all at once. Here in Georgia, our mother tree is a large tree for its age. In the past, it has begun dropping their fruit by mid-October.

CAMPAS Originated in St. Petersburg, Florida, on the farm of Martin Campas. “Introduced in 1935 by Stanley Johnston, Michigan Agriculture Experiment Station, South Haven, Michigan, as “Campas #2”. Parentage unknown; discovered in 1923 by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, which propagated and distributed trees for trial purposes to many experiment stations; it proved of sufficient value for canning in comparison with Kieffer at the Michigan Station to warrant its introduction and naming. Fruit: size medium; skin yellow, somewhat russeted; flesh with fewer grit cells, whiter, and softer than Kieffer, which it resembles; ripens late. Tree: high degree of resistance to fire blight. – Brooks and Olmo Register of Fruit and Nut Varieties -- Description provided by National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Corvalis, Oregon. Here in Georgia, our mother tree drops its fruit from mid-August to mid-October. We like to eat them.

FLORIDAHOME Low-chill pear from Florida. Very nice quality: sweet, smooth-textured, juicy, flavorful. Harvest July/August in So. Calif. Early bloom. Chilling requirement less than 400 hours. Partly self-fruitful.

GODLEN SPICE Golden Spice is a very hardy pear, with 1.75" fruit that are medium yellow and lightly blushed with dull red. This small, firm fruit is best for canning and spicing, fair for eating. Ripens in late August and can be messy if fruit is allowed to fall to the ground. Very resistant to fireblight. Needs pollinator. Hardy to -40° Maximum elevation: 7,000 ft
HARROW DELIGHT Fire blight resistant, fruit similar to Bartlett. Yellow skin with attractive red blush. Smooth, fine flesh is especially flavorful. Ripe two weeks before Bartlett. Heavy bearing tree. Introduced in 1982 (Ontario, Canada). 800 hours. Interfruitful with Bartlett, Bosc, D'Anjou and Moonglow.

HARVEST QUEEN This tree is more vigorous than my other European pear on OHxF 333, and requires quite a bit of pruning. It yields large pears in about late August to early September. Flavor is excellent, very sweet with some tartness. There are a few grit cells close to the core in some of the fruits. This one russetts some. It is another winner, fireblight resistant and very easy to grow.

Very low chilling requirement, interfruitful with Flordahome. Large, early season fruit has yellow-green skin and sweet, mild-flavored flesh. Reported to be highly resistant to fire blight. 100-200 hours.

HOSKINS Tree “originated in Knoxville, Tennessee by Brooks D. Drain, Tennessee Agriculture Experiment Station. Introduced in 1954. Seckel x Late Faulkner; crossed in 1938; tested as Tennessee 38S10. Fruit: size medium; roundish obovate, pyriform, sides unequal; skin medium thick and medium tough, dull, light yellow blushed and mottled with russet; dots many, large, russetted and conspicuous; core size medium; flesh white often tinged with pink, fine-grained, melting, juicy; flavor subacid to sour, sprightly, good; ripens 25 September - 7 October in Clarksville, Tennessee. Tree: large; vigorous; spreading; fire blight resistant. -- Brooks and Olmo Register of Fruit and Nut Varieties.-- Description provided by National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Corvalis, Oregon.

FAN-STIL Medium, bell shaped pear has crisp, juicy, white flesh and creamy yellow skin with slight red blush. Vigorous, very upright growth. Bears consistently. Highly resistant to fireblight. Ripens in August. 500 hrs. Self-fruitful.

KIEFER Medium to large late season fruit for canning and cooking. Sprightly flavor, coarse texture. Resists fire blight, tolerates hot climates. Dependable crops. 200-300 hours. Self-fruitful.

“Grown from a seed of a Sand Pear by Peter Kieffer of Roxborough, Pennsylvania. Presumed to be a cross of Sand Pear and Bartlett. First fruited in 1863 and the first Sand Pear hybrid to assume importance. It is the standard by which other varieties of the group are judged. Fruit medium or larger in size, ovate in form, usually pointed at both stem and calyx ends. Flesh gritty, fairly juicy, tender but not fully buttery. Fair in dessert quality, quite satisfactory for culinary purposes. Improves in quality if harvested at the proper time and ripened at a constant tempeature of 65 degrees F. Tree fairly vigorous, moderately productive, somewhat resistant to fire blight.” -- H. Hartman, 1957-- Description provided by National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Corvalis, Oregon.

LOUISIANA BEAUTY (LEONA) supposedly delicious, unable to confirm fireblight resistance

LUSCIOUS “Originated in Brookings, South Dakota, by Ronald M. Peterson, Agriculture Experiment Station. Introduced in 1973. SD E31 x Ewart; cross made in 1954, selected in 1967, tested as South Dakota 67SIl. Fruit: size medium; pyriform. with broad neck; skin thick, tender, attractive rich yellow with occasional small scattered brown russeted areas, sometimes with a pink blush; flesh light yellow, firm, fine texture, melting, very juicy, flavor similar to Bartlett, quality good; ripens 25 Sept. at Brookings; recommended as a dessert variety. Tree: size medium; broad-oval; vigorous; moderately productive and moderately hardy at Brookings; shows more tolerance to fire blight than most varieties, adapted to parts of the northern Great Plains; glossy, green foliate turns red in the fall. - - Brooks and Olmo Register of Fruit and Nut Varieties -- Description provided by National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Corvalis, Oregon.

LUSCIOUS Medium sized bright yellow fruit that is juicy and sweet. Glossy green foliage that has a good red fall color. An excellent dessert pear that is fireblight resistant. Uses: Baking, Eating, Pies, Sauce

MAGNESS Medium-sized, short-necked, greenish-yellow, lightly russeted fruit. A thick skin reduces insect damage and contributes to long storage life. Soft, sweet, juicy flesh with minimal grit. Moderately vigorous, spreading tree. Shows resistance to fire blight. Pollinated by Harrow Delight, 20th Century or other Asian pear. Matures early September. Hardy in Zones 6-9. 400
MOONGLOW Large fruit, for fresh use or canning. Productive, spur-type tree. Midseason harvest. 400-500 hours. Pollenizer required, good pollenizer for other pears.

Excellent flavor; smooth flesh with almost no grit cells. Ripens about a week before Bartlett. Medium-large. Good keeper; storage of 6 to 8 weeks required to develop full flavor. Precocious and productive. Very resistant to fire blight. Introduced by USDA in 1960 from the Mich. 436 x Roi Charles de Wurtemburg cross.

MAXINE A fire blight-resistant Bartlett-type. Very good quality; firm, crisp, juicy; snow-white flesh with no grit cells. Precocious and productive. Found in Ohio and introduced in 1845.

NOVA Late Summer. Large yellow roundish dessert pear with melting juicy flesh. Chris Blanchard’s favorite pear. For decades he and Liz Lauer have been trialing a wide assortment of pears a few hours north of here in Penobscot County. He described it to me as “large with smooth creamy texture and a thin skin. Wonderful dessert pear. Also the best canning of our 12–14 varieties.” Holds its shape in the jar. Very hardy, though from our trials in northern Aroostook County, not quite as hardy as Patten. Appears to be fireblight and scab free. Pyrus communis. Hammond, NY. Discovered and introduced by Bill MacKentley of St Lawrence Nurseries, Potsdam, NY. Z3. ME Grown. (3-6' bare-root trees)

ORIENT Fire blight resistant. Beautiful, large, nearly round fruits with shiny yellow skin and red blush. Flesh firm and juicy with mild flavor, used mainly for canning. Large, vigorous tree. Introduced in 1945 (Chico, CA). 350 hours. Interfruitful with Kieffer and Moonglow.

PINEAPPLE The Pineapple Pear is a pollinator. This pear tree has large yellow fruit with red blush. It's crisp flesh has unusual pineapple flavor. The Pineapple Pear tree is a good variety for the deep south. The pear tree bears a large crop at an early age and can reach a height of 15-20 feet. The Pineapple pear is Self- fruitful but bears better with second variety. This pear tree is blight resistant and ripens in August.

POTOMAC Moonglow x Buerre D'Anjou. Ripens to a light green. Flesh texture is moderately fine and buttery. Pleasingly subacid flavor with mild aroma. Tree shows more resistance to blight than Seckel.
This pear was released by USDA in 1993; from the Moonglow X Anjou cross. The highest quality fireblight resistant variety available. The skin is light green and glossy and the flesh is moderately fine with a flavor similar to Anjou. Ripens two weeks after Bartlett; keeps 8-10 weeks in refrigerated storage.

REGAL RED COMICE A red sport of Comice, with the same high quality as its parent -- the flavor standard. Excellent storage pear. Considerable fireblight tolerance. Foliage quite dark green. Quince compatible.

SECKEL (somewhat) Connoisseurs' favorite. Sweet, flavorful, aromatic, spicy, perhaps the best dessert pear. Russeted brown skin. Resists fire blight. Does not cross-pollinate with Bartlett. 500 hours. Self-fruitful.

SOUTHERN BARTLETT This pear has made it’s way to us via two avid fruit collectors Carl Mohrherr of Pace, Florida and Travis Callahan of Abbeville, Louisiana. The South has long needed a pear that can match up with the northern Bartlett. The Southern Barlett is a juicy, very large pear with tender fine textured flesh. The shape is similar to the Bartlett. A vigorous grower with a spreading shape and gorgeous orange leaves in the Fall. The Southern Bartlett is also know for its early yielding of fruit and plenty of it! Ripens Early August through Early September. Pollinate with COURTHOUSE, GOLDEN BOY, KEIFFER, LE CONTE, ORIENT or TENNS. Zones 8A-9A.

Variety was discovered on an old Louisiana homestead and is thought to be a chance sport of Bartlett. Tree tends to grow in a spreading pattern. Moderate resistance to fireblight. Ripens early to mid August. 300 to 400 hours. Self-fruitful.

Southern Bartlett has a spreading shape, and bears in about 4-5 years. It is a modestly larger tree than Acres Home, but not as big as Tennessee. Its flowering period is about the same as Acres Homes and
Southern Queen, but is slightly higher chill - about 450 hours, which metro-Houston regularly gets. It can get some fire blight, perhaps slightly more than Acres Home, but not enough to get excited about. The fruit size is about 70% of Acres Home. Southern Bartlett seems to be more of an alternate year bearer. An outstanding pear for the Houston area. It can be pollinated with Acres Homes, Tennessee or
Southern Queen.

SOUTHERN KING A high quality traditional pear of unknown parentage. Popular in Houston and other low chill areas. Shows resistance to fire blight. Good for fresh eating or canning. Self-fruitful. Less than 400 hours.
SOUTHERN QUEEN Bears in about 5-6 years, and worth the wait. It is upright in growth habit and does not grow quite as rapidly as Acres Home. The chill hour requirement is only 300 to 350, which is perfect for metro-Houston. Southern Queen seems totally blight resistant. Southern Queen is russet and all fruit evenly pear shaped, and are slightly smaller than Acres Home fruit. It bears heavily every year. An outstanding pear for the Houston area. Pollinate with Acres Homes, Tennessee or Southern Bartlett.

SPALDING If you like the crunchy juicy, sweetness of an Asian pear and the mellow complex flavor of a European pear, you will love Spalding. A healthy, vigorous tree produces loads of medium size, round, light green fruit. Bears in 3-4 years. Self-fruitful and fireblight resistant. 350 chill hours.

SUMMERCRISP Medium-large fruit ripening in mid-August. Very winter-hardy; chance seedling found in Minnesota in 1933. ProbablyPyrus communis X P. ussuriensis cross. Sweet, crisp flesh, almost like an Asian pear; very low acid. Annually productive; tolerant to fire blight.

TYSON Known since 1794, Tyson is a medium-sized conical pear. Fruit quality very high, especially for fresh eating. Keeps only a short time in storage. Tree is large, vigorous and productive. Resistant to fireblight. Ripens early September.

URE One of the Pyrus ussuriensis/Pyrus communis crosses that gives hope to those aspiring to grow pears in extremely cold or fireblight-prone areas. Unlike many ussuriensis crosses, the fruit quality is good. Ripens September

WARREN Excellent quality dessert pear, tree is highly resistant to fire blight. Medium to large, long-necked fruit with pale green skin, sometimes blushed red. Smooth flesh (no grit cells) is juicy and buttery with superb flavor. Good keeper. Cold hardy to -20 deg F. From Mississippi. 600 hours. Self-fruitful

SHINKO (asian) Shinko has large, round, bronze-skinned fruit that is crisp and sweet. Fruit flavor is especially excellent in hot climates. Shinko is extremely productive and has excellent fire blight resistance. Fruit ripens in mid August to September. Pollinate with CHOJURO, HOUSI, KOREAN GIANT, SHINSEIKI, or 20TH CENTURY

TENNOSUI (asian) Assumed to be a chance cross of TENN (also known as Tennessee pear) and Hosui pear. Crisp, bell-shaped fruit matures late July to Early August and is very productive. Cut fruit remains crisp and tasty and is slow to oxidize. Shows resistance to fire blight. 150-450 hrs. Self-fruitful.

OLD HOME * FARMINGDALE ROOSTOCK: interesting article http://www.ars-grin.gov/cor/cool/pyr.oldhome.html

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby cchan » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:00 pm

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Location: San Francisco
Climate Zone: 9-10
Yes there was a lot less pears and apples I think the weather offset the availability of some of the cultivars.
Generally I have seen several of these varieties including magness, spalding, moonglow, ames, sinko, harrow but not all.

I only have magness, warren, and seckel but I am not sure if the label is still present

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby Axel » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:32 pm

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Location: Hanalei Bay, HI & Fallbrook, CA
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Now that I live in zone 10b in Southern California, I am starting from scratch knowledge wise, but this list will help since fireblight is a major concern here. The additional caveat is finding pears that can fruit with 50-150 hours of chill Utah calculation, i.e. without negating hours above 68F, and this is mostly in the 40-45F range.

Here's my bit of experience at growing pears in Santa Cruz.

1) Best pear ever was "Beurre Super fin", insanely tasty pear. Never saw fireblight on it.

2) Warren, excellent pear, never saw fireblight on it either, super tasty if picked at the right time. Seemed heat resistant too.

3) The whole lot of Southern pears were terrible, especially pineapple, yuck! The texture was always mealy. They may be low chill, but grow that only if nothing else works. At best these are cooking pears to be picked unripe.

4) Seckel, delicious and reliable, this is the one I am trying here because a Vista grower recommended it.

I would love to get my hands on a "Beurre Super fin", what a delicious pear that was.
Tropical gardening in both Kaua'i windward Sunset H2/USDA 12b and Fallbrook Sunset 23/USDA 10b.

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby cchan » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:12 am

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Location: San Francisco
Climate Zone: 9-10
For low chill hours I remember Todd Kennedy recommended Magness, Belle Lucrative, Spadona di Salerno. I think you guys can give those a try.

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby luke_p » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:18 am

Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:20 pm
Climate Zone: Sunset 17/15
Just found this article explaining that Magness and Warren are likely very closely related sisters. Fascinating.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/25 ... h-20111125

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby luke_p » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:27 am

Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:20 pm
Climate Zone: Sunset 17/15
Beurre Superfine sounds delectable. It has been decimated by Fireblight in other parts of the world... but maybe still worth a shot out here. Apparently that particular cultivar once made up 90% of the crop in Cyprus!

https://books.google.com/books?id=j6JOU ... ht&f=false

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby luke_p » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:58 am

Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:20 pm
Climate Zone: Sunset 17/15
David Ulmer posted these notes on his experiences with fireblight in Mississippi and Sebastapol. Has anyone tried "Potomac"?

http://crfg-redwood.org/wp-content/uplo ... r_2016.pdf

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby RobertS » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:42 am

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I grow Potomac on Central Coast,Ca. have not had any issues with it yet very vigorous grower.
Axel, Pineapple is a delicious crispy pear for me you mush have picked them too late!

Re: Fireblight Resistant Pear Varieties

Postby joehewitt » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:26 am

Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:54 pm
Climate Zone: USDA 9b, Sunset 16
I have a row of 7 pears, and 3 of them were visited by fireblight a couple years ago. Harrow Delight was one of the three, but I managed to prune off the damage on just one branch and the rest has been spared. B.P. Morettini tree got killed to the ground. Bartlett hit hard, had to prune down to 3 inches above the root stock, but it grew back nicely last year. The four that were unaffected were Seckel, Comice, Conference, and Red Clapp's.

A friend taught me a good strategy for keeping fireblight at bay. Don't allow any spurs to develop on the trunk or primary scaffold branches. Since fireblight infects the blossoms, if you do get an infection and you catch it early, you shouldn't need to prune off anything more than a few small branches.

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