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Asian X European Pear cross, is it worth trying? (Orcas pear x Nijisseiki )  RSS feed

 
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As many of you might know, I planted a pear tree for my daughter's 1st birthday. The tree, however, does not look that great. It hasn't grown any more this year, and it has black spots on it's leaves. This is despite amending with coffee grounds, compost, comfery leaves, duck bedding, oyster mushroom slurry and prenatal vitamins. I don't know if it's my soil, or the tree (the plum tree I got from the same nursery looks even sadder).

Anyway, I'm thinking of trying to grow a back-up pear from seed. My mom gave me a bunch of delicious Orcas (European) pears which were pollinated by her Nijisseiki (Asian) pear tree. Both of her trees are really healthy. The pear I planted for my daughter is also an orcas, but not nearly as healthy. My mom lives 30 minutes away, so her trees are also growing in a similar environment.

I'm wondering what the chances of the Orcas  x Nijisseiki pear seed would be of being tasty. I'm also worried because I know some Asian pears when crossed with European ones have resulted in some really horribly thorny and invasice pears. I sure don't want that!

I'll try to post a picture of the pear and plum trees later, in case anyone has any ideas about what's wrong with them...
 
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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The most famous pear in Oklahoma is a somewhat fibrous cooking pear (it never really bletts or gets soft, and is a serious mouthful to chew, though the flavor is sweet and good) called the Kieffer. It’s a old cross between Bartlett and an Asian pear. It’s often called a “Homesteader” pear because it was popular with homesteaders 100 or more years ago and it often survives at abandoned homesites where nothing else has. It’s a big solid pear that’s resistant to fire blight (the tree is attacked but survives) and can survive drought.

My point being, trying new crosses of this sort seems ENTIRELY worthwhile to me.
 
Nicole Alderman
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That pear variety makes me hopeful, Dan! I just hate to have my daughter's tree bear hard, bitter fruit. I want her tree to last and be fruitful and wonderful her whole life, and worry that a cross might be healthy...but really nasty.

In other news, I got a thread started asking about her current pear (https://permies.com/t/92459/wrong-daughter-Orcas-Pear-Orcas). Here is a picture of it...



 
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Dan Boone wrote:The most famous pear in Oklahoma is a somewhat fibrous cooking pear (it never really bletts or gets soft, and is a serious mouthful to chew, though the flavor is sweet and good) called the Kieffer. It’s a old cross between Bartlett and an Asian pear. It’s often called a “Homesteader” pear because it was popular with homesteaders 100 or more years ago and it often survives at abandoned homesites where nothing else has. It’s a big solid pear that’s resistant to fire blight (the tree is attacked but survives) and can survive drought.

My point being, trying new crosses of this sort seems ENTIRELY worthwhile to me.



On the place I recently moved off of there was an ancient pear tree probably 40+ feet tall. It was the only one left when someone cleared what used to be apple and pear orchards. Maybe it was allowed to survive because it was near the road. It is still producing. The pears were big and fairly hard. I ate them and canned them and the horses loved them.

If I had known how delicious canned pears were just for eating and also in that old recipe from the Bisquick box for coffee cake, I would have canned a lot more of them. I'm going to miss those pears - none to can this year. The owner doesn't even bother to pick them.
 
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Hi Nicole,
I live in western Washington and my pears all got that fungal brownness this year too. My impression is that young trees are more susceptible, and that they usually come back much healthier after the following winter, and even better the winter after that. That's my hope.

If it were me (depending on space, money, and energy constraints) I would try growing a seedling (or a few) and see how they turn out. I'd be prepared to top work them if it turns out the fruit is nasty, but that's not hard from what I hear. But I would also plant a few more grafted trees, because they'll produce much sooner. Also I've heard that pome fruits (apples, quince, pear) are much more variable when grown from seed than stone fruits, so your seedling is likely to not give good fruit, though it's worth a shot. Also the seedling will be a standard, and standard pears can get huge if not kept pruned back (I've heard of specimens that are seventy feet tall in western Washington, though I don't know if that is true or not). Orcas will need a pollinizer I'm pretty sure, if you don't have one already. I believe Comice is a good one for it and Comice pears are reputed to be among the very best tasting (they have a gene that makes them have few or no grit cells in the fruit).

Blake's Pride and Ubileen are supposed to both be very disease resistant. I got both (in addition to several others) from Burnt Ridge this year, but all my pears except moonglow and Nijisseiki got rust/scab pretty bad.

You might also try growing quince if you don't have any yet. They had a little bit of scab/rust but recovered really well. We live in good quince country for the most part, and unlike pears, they tend to bloom very late and avoid our spring rains that wash the pollen out of a lot of pears.
 
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