Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Topping out pear trees

Topping out pear trees.

I have several trees of a variety named Potomac. It is very vigorous.

Potomac has excellent pears but the tree vigor makes it difficult to care for the trees. Picking the fruit is also a challenge.

These Potomac trees were topped last year and I will graft them this spring
There is a huge amount of literature on the vigor of apple cultivars. The literature on pears is almost non-existent. The grower must rely on his own observations or talk to other fruit growers.

In my orchard I see that the Japanese pears like Chojuro, Korean Giant, Shinko are the least vigorous as a class.

Of the European pears, Harrow Sweet, Blake's Pride and Concorde are relatively low vigor.

Harrow Sweet went off-patent in 2017 so I will probably be working most of the Potomac over to HS.

Shenandoah pear top worked to Butt. No, not "tastes like Butt"! Butt is a variety used to make Perry, fermented pear juice. It is very tart and tannic. OK, maybe you were right to start with. It tastes like bntt.
Top-working has some problems. For one thing, the tree has a large, raw stub that is an entrance point for rot.

It would be nice to milk another ten or fifteen years out of these trees.

If I am on top of my game I will plant replacement trees between these old, veterans and not lose a lick of production.

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