Asian pear trees make a great addition to any backyard environment by providing both shade and excellent fruit. Here’s how to best plant and take care of them!

Choosing a Site

Asian pears bloom very early and are susceptible to late spring frost damage. If late spring frosts happen in your area, plant your trees where cold air will run downhill away from them. Asian pear trees require great air circulation, so don’t plant them in a confined space.

Asian pears thrive in soils that have only average amounts of fertility, water, and drainage. 

Healthy trees will grow about two feet a year for the first three years. With full fruit production, the desired growth is one foot a year. If your trees are not growing this fast, it would be wise to have your soil tested. By applying a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) in the later winter or early spring before the buds emerge, you may have better growth.

Pollination

To ensure pollination, make sure to plant cultivars of Asian or European Pears whose bloom periods overlap. By planting trees 8-15 feet apart, cross pollination will be more likely to happen. Asian pears may to over-bear and produce small fruit. This is best solved by thinning. No more than one fruit should be allowed to develop per fruit cluster. Pull the fruit clusters off in the early spring when they are small, keeping one fruit on each cluster and spacing clusters 4-6 inches apart.

Pruning

Here are some basic rules to achieve success:

First create an open center. Remove the tip from the central trunk to promote side branching. Then prune away all but three or four of the major limbs growing from the central trunk to provide evenly spaced branches strong enough to hold the ripening fruit. Remove any weak shoots that arise from the base and limbs of the tree. The removal of these weak shoots will help against diseases and insects. Pruning of young trees will delay fruiting, so it’s best to prune your tree after the third year of harvest.

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.