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Asian Pear Major Problems

 
Isaac Rosenberg
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Hey there. First time poster here, and new to fruit trees.

I moved into my new place last summer and there is an asian pear (multi graft) tree here. It appears well past the age that it should be bearing fruit, but it had none last year. The previous resident said it never fruits, assuming it wasn't old enough, which seems obviously not the case to me. This is especially true as this year there were tons of blossoms on all three cultivars (even though one of them is teeny tiny). After the blossoms opened and some of them started wilting, all of a sudden (well, maybe over a couple of weeks while I didn't check on them) they were all completely destroyed, along with the vast majority of the leaves that had already grown. The blossoms had turned charred black and crispy, and the as well. As you can see in the photos, the leaves have many holes in them, which I would guess were bugs but for the what appear to be singed edges of all the holes. It almost looks likes the holes were burnt into the leaves - there is the one photo that shows a spot that appears to be the early stage of the burnt-like holes. The foliage seems to have fully recovered and the tree looks totally healthy at the moment, but there is no fruit set (obviously - well, there are, like, two or three little fruits and they seem to be burnt/whatever it is from earlier). After google-ing the crap out of this, the best guess I can come up with is 'blossom blast'... but it doesn't quite fit, from the descriptions I've read.... none of the wood seems to be affected by whatever killed the blossoms and early leaves...

Any help would be soooo appreciated - would love to figure it out so I can get some actual pears next year!

(I'll add more photos in a reply to this)
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crispy leaf
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burnt mess
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holes in leaf
 
Isaac Rosenberg
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More photos
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Galadriel Freden
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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My first guess is that it was affected by a sharp frost. However, I also wonder if fireblight is a possibility (hope not).
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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All of those holes in the leaves and fruit look like june beetle damage. The "burnt" edges to the holes are the plant's response to the insect damage. You may have a pollinating insect problem. If there weren't many pollinators or the weather was cool and rainy during the blooming season so pollinators weren't active, then the flowers may not have been pollinated and then aborted. Asian pear flowers aren't very attractive to honeybees, they have a stinky smell and are pollinated by flies. Next year try to notice what insects are visiting the flowers.
 
Isaac Rosenberg
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Galadriel Freden wrote:My first guess is that it was affected by a sharp frost. However, I also wonder if fireblight is a possibility (hope not).


From the reading I've done about fireblight it doesn't seem like it... :/
 
Isaac Rosenberg
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Mike Turner wrote:All of those holes in the leaves and fruit look like june beetle damage. The "burnt" edges to the holes are the plant's response to the insect damage. You may have a pollinating insect problem. If there weren't many pollinators or the weather was cool and rainy during the blooming season so pollinators weren't active, then the flowers may not have been pollinated and then aborted. Asian pear flowers aren't very attractive to honeybees, they have a stinky smell and are pollinated by flies. Next year try to notice what insects are visiting the flowers.


Thanks for the info! So you think that maybe I have two separate problems - the beetles and lack of pollination? Would it make sense that the beetles only feasted in the early spring? And that the flowers look so entirely decimated by being 'aborted'? And what about the pattern that the tree never fruits?
 
David Livingston
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no polinators no fruits
 
Bryant RedHawk
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As David said, no pollinators, no fruit. But take a look in the surrounding area (1/4 mile) and see if there are any cedar trees or juniper trees, they harbor some diseases that can wipe out fruit trees.

I had to remove many sacred cedars from our land because they were close enough to our orchard to possibly create issues for our fruit trees.
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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I don't know where you are located, but here in upstate South Carolina we have two species of "June beetle". One of them is brown in color, overwinters as an adult in the soil, emerges in April, and is gone by mid-May. The other is green in color, overwinters as larvae, emerges in June, its season coinciding with that of the Japanese beetle. Around here the brown "june" beetle causes leaf damage on chestnut and persimmons similar to that shown in your photos.

As far as the effect that lack of pollinators can have on your fruit set. Six years ago I planted a very early (May) season peach to try to get a peach whose fruit would escape the damage that Japanese beetles caused to the mid and late season peaches. It turned out that the earliness was due to a much earlier bloom time, not a faster ripening fruit. It would bloom in Jan (late Dec this past winter) and no fruit would ever develop. I assumed its lack of fruit was caused by the flowers and developing fruit getting blasted by the winter's frosts. This past spring I built and set out a top bar hive, a swarm moved in, and grew into a strong honeybee colony. Prior to this, honeybees were almost nonexistent around here following the varroa caused population crash in the early 2000's. This spring, for the first time, I had a good fruit set on this peach. It turned out that none of the native pollinators (solitary bees and flies) were active during the Dec/Jan window when this peach tree was blooming. But now with a perennial pollinator in place that would pollinate throughout the winter whenever temperatures were warm enough for them to fly, the pollination job finally got done on this peach.
 
Mike Turner
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Cedar-apple rust is mainly a problem on apples, but will occasionally infect pears. It produces galls on the cedar tree. On apple trees it produces many 1/4 inch diameter yellow or red spots on the leaves. Around here, it mainly hits certain apple cultivars, but will occasionally see a little of it on the leaves and fruit of the Bradford pear if I look hard enough. I didn't see any cedar-apple rust on the leaves in your photos.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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"Cedar" trees also carry leaf curling blight and fire blight, which affects pears, peaches and plums. I agree with you Mike, the photos do not show signs of apple rust.
Most of what we call cedar in the US are actually junipers, the most active carrier.
The only true cedars I know of are on the West (Left) Coast. Every thing else known as cedar are members of the juniper family.
 
Isaac Rosenberg
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:As David said, no pollinators, no fruit. But take a look in the surrounding area (1/4 mile) and see if there are any cedar trees or juniper trees, they harbor some diseases that can wipe out fruit trees.

I had to remove many sacred cedars from our land because they were close enough to our orchard to possibly create issues for our fruit trees.



There is a wall of cedar (not Juniper... as Mike mentioned, I am on the west coast, in Victoria BC, so have true cedars over here) trees like 50 feet from the tree :/
 
John Saltveit
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Isaac,
I live in a similar climate to yours. We have huge problems with codling moth. That's not what this looks like to me. That should be a dot on the fruit, later finding a worm inside eating the seed. Asian pear trees grow really well here, and I assume as well in your area. We don't really have a fireblight problem here. I would look into a nutrition deficiency. I think I was reading that one of them leads to a problem with flowering. Check to see if it's phosphorus. A good permaculture solution could be to plant lupine near your drip line. It dynamically accumulates both phosphorus and nitrogen, but check to confirm first. Most PNW soils are lacking in calcium, due to excessive rainfall. Ag lime is dirt cheap, but you'd probablly want to have your soil tested. You could do it the old school farmer way: see what weeds there are naturally and what they dynamically accumulate and that will point to what is lacking in your soil. Got plantains, daisies, dandelions? Might be low in calcium. I was, tested it cheaply, added ag lime, and I don't have that problem anymore. Logan Labs will test your soil very cheaply (20 bucks a few years ago) They're in Ohio.
John S
PDX OR
 
C. Letellier
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Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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For the blossoms did you have a freeze? That can leave damage almost like they were burned on some trees.
 
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