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Two monks were describing a flapping flag. One said,”The flag is moving.” The other said,”The wind is moving.” Hui Neng happened to be passing by. He said,”Not the wind, not the flag; the mind is moving.”
Zen Koan

Pears for Prairie Climates

Pyrus ussuriensis

Pear trees have several good things going for them. Firstly, pears. Who doesn't love a pear. Secondly in spring they are COVERED in white blossoms. Thirdly they aren't yellow in the fall. Colours range from dark orange to dark red.

Early Gold pears on the tree

Early Gold pears on the tree


Like apples, you need more than one. It takes a pair of pears to make pears. I'm told that the common grocery store pears are picked while they are still a bit green. If you wait until they seem ripe on the tree, they tend to be woody inside. However I've had a one of these ussurian pears right off the tree. Not big, but tasted heavenly.

Pears tend to get chlorisis (yellow leaves) in our alkaline soils. Plant with 1/3 to 1/2 peat moss in the earth you fill the hole with. Add 1 pound of agricultural sulfur pellets per square yard for 4 feet beyond the drip line, and rake in. Sulfur takes 3 months to take effect. Repeat when the pH climbs above 7.0. (You will need a soil test kit) If your tree turns yellow green, add aluminum sulfate and water in. It will only last a month, but it will buy you time while the sulfur is getting to work. Apache Seed carries aggricultural sulfur as well as aluminum sulfate. Your local farm co-op may have it also.

Pears in bloom

This is the wild tree used as the root stock for prairie hardy pears. It will produce fruit, but they are pear flavoured chunks of sandstone.


Honey bees are not terribly fond of pears. Probably pears are skinflints with the pollen and necter, or maybe the flower is hard to get into. Orchardists will try to get a hive close by so that the short commute lures them in for lower wages. One way around this is to get someone else to do the work. Google "bug hotel" and create a nearby environment that will provide habitat for other pollinators.

Ure Pear Looks like a small lightbulb, about 3" long x 1.5" in diameter. (7 x 4 cm) Taste similar to Bartlett. Good canning pear. Each one has about 4 bites. I've picked this one ripe off the tree, contrary to my advice above. Zone 2

Early Gold Pear Improved cold hardiness, somewhat more resistant to chlorosis. Matures late August to early September 10-14 days before Ure. I recommend Early Gold just to stretch the harvest season. Zone 2

Golden Spice Pear Ripens in mid September. Zone 2

Apples and pears are both subject to fireblight. Ure pears (all three kinds I have are cultivars of ure pears) are somewhat resistant, but read the article linked at the bottom. Watch for it, and be ready to prune as needed. Fertilizer makes them more susceptible. Fertilize in fall after leaf drop. Keep windfall picked up. A good article on it is here:

Fire Blight of Apple And Pear I choose varieties that have resistance, but resistance is not immunity. Read the article before buying apples and pears.

There's lots of interesting work being done with pears right now. The Russians have done a lot of work with pears, growing them even in Siberia. Some friends are working on this. I hope to offer Russian pears in a year or two.


Got something to say? Email me: sfinfo@sherwoods-forests.com

Want to talk right now? Talk to me: (8 am to 9 pm only, please) 1-780-848-2548


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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.