Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What To Do When Your Pear Tree Won't Bloom

For six years I have not-so-patiently waited for my other pear tree to bloom. I bought two, one a burly Harrow Delight, which has bloomed its little heart out since year one, and the other, Highland, which bloomed only its first year.

I made certain that it wasn't getting too much nitrogen (read: forbidding Mr. E to fertilize the lawn anywhere near the orchard area.), it had the most sun of the two trees, it had ample amounts of phosphorus. So why wouldn't it bloom?

The Harrow Delight has an open habit, which Highland doesn't. All the branches were tightly bunched, vertical, and made the tree look like it was huddling for warmth. So last summer, I took some 12" pieces of lath strips, cut notches into either side, and spread the branches until they were at a 45 degree angle. The thinking is, that it simulates fruit load on the branches, and then the plant is reminded that it's actually supposed to be putting out fruit. Otherwise it'll just happily grow, huddled.

And this spring, for the first time since I planted it, the Highland pear is going to bloom. Pears this fall!!!

If you've never grown your own pears, I highly recommend them. My Harrow Delight was once freakishly pollinated by a neighbor's tree, some 300-400 yards away, and out of line-of-sight. The three pears I got were the most juicy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery pears I have ever eaten. So you'll understand how frustrated I've been at Highland not blooming, and how excited I am at the prospect of 25-30lbs of pears this fall, and up to 200lbs of pears in the future.

I'm not the only one. Thing 2 has already put in his order for Spiced Apple Pear Freezer Butter from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, a double batch, thank you.

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