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Harvesting Pear Trees

Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown fruit? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the fruits of your labor: the best time to pick the fruit from your tree, and how to store the fruit.

NOTE: This is part 10 in a series of 10 articles. For a complete background on how to grow pear trees, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Pear trees will start bearing fruit in 4-6 years under normal growing conditions with proper maintenance and care.

When to Harvest

Most pears are different from other fruits, you need to pick them before they ripen while they’re still hard and yellow-green. Wait until they start to turn yellow and perhaps a few drop off the tree, then harvest. They should then part from the branch easily. Place in a room at 60-70°F to ripen. Check the pears frequently, as they can take anywhere from a few days to more than a week to ripen.

Note: Asian pears are best when ripened on the tree.

Harvest season begins August thru October depending on the variety and location.

Annual Average Yield per Tree

Most pears:

  • Dwarf, 6-8 bushels
  • Standard, 12-15 bushels

Asian pears:

  • Dwarf, 1+ bushels
  • Semi-dwarf, 1-2 bushels
  • Standard, 3-8 bushels

Storage

Cool storage preserves them for winter enjoyment. Fresh fruit is a special treat during the bleak winter months. Fortunately, many varieties of fruit keep their fine eating qualities for a long time with proper storage. If you’re planning to store them, pick them a bit early, just as they start to ripen. Handle them carefully to avoid bruises that could develop into spoilage.

The ideal storage spot is humid and cool, from 32-40°F. Place them in perforated plastic freezer bags and keep them in any cool place. A refrigerator is the idea storage spot but any cool area in your house, the basement or an unheated porch might also be fine for a while. Bring them out to ripen at room temperature when you’re ready to use them.

It’s best to inspect stored fruit every week or so to check for any spoilage. That way, you can remove any that are developing soft spots or brown areas. This keeps spoilage from “spreading” to nearby fruit. Remember, “One bad apple spoils the whole barrel.”

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