“I had a pear tree with pears and then before they were ready, bam, no pears. They all fell to the ground. How can I get them to stay on the tree?” Question from Stephanie of Tylertown, Mississippi
Answer: What a disappointment. There are lots of factors at play when it comes to nurturing a fruit tree to production. Let me simply cover what you can do to keep your pear trees happy, and what factors can potentially lead to fruit drop (information derived from the Pear Production and Handling Manual by Elizabeth J. Mitcham, Rachel B. Elkins (2007)). You can troubleshoot from there.
What Pear Trees Need to Produce Fruit
Fertile, well-drained soil
Mild spring weather and good pollination
Proper fertilization with a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 (follow the manufacturer’s directions)
Full sun that penetrates into the tree branches
Balanced crop load (thinning small fruits on loaded branches can encourage fruit set and improve quality.)
Causes for Premature Fruit Drop in Pear Trees
Temperatures that are too hot (85 degrees F and up) or too cool (55 degrees F or lower)
High winds and low humidity
Leaf loss due to pests and disease
Excessively wet or dry soils
Heavy crop load
If your trees are missing anything in the “Need” list, or if they experienced any of the negative conditions in the “Premature Fruit Drop” list, the composite caused your trees to lose this year’s fruit. Hopefully, this knowledge will give you what you need to help your trees produce lots of good fruit next year.
Black Gold Horticulturist
About Jessie Keith
Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.
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