Everyone enjoys picking fresh fruit from their own fruit tree and both apples and pears are
excellent trees to grow and most modern trees do not get too large (10-15ft). Varieties are
available that grow well for a good portion of the continent and do best in zones 5-8. For a
long season, look for varieties that produce fruit early, mid and late in the season. Later
season varieties also have the advantage of being better for storage so you can have fresh
fruit well into winter.
Pollination: Although apples and pears are both easy to grow, they do need
a pollinator. This is another variety of apple or pear that blooms at the same time. So for
instance if you wanted to grow a red apple such as CrimsonCrisp you need to have either the
early yellow Pristine for pollination, or the Gold Rush. Growing all three trees gives a better
variety of fruit if you have sufficient room.
Location: Both apple and pears like full sun. In colder areas beware of
planting early blooming varieties at the bottom of the slope or other areas where late frosts
can injure the developing fruit. Those that produce the bloom later are less likely to be in
bloom when a late frost occurs.
Regional Varieties: Apple and pear trees need a spell of cold weather to be
productive but not so cold as to compromise the root system. This can vary between varieties
making some trees better for northern growers (zones 5 and 6), and some better for those in the
south who are zone 7 and 8. There are many varieties that do well all the way from zone 5 to
zone 8 so you will have plenty to choose from.
Planting the trees: Your trees will arrive either with bare roots, as a
root ball wrapped in burlap or in a container with soil. Whichever way your tree arrives, it
should be unpacked promptly. Bare root trees can be soaked in water to keep moist until ready
Dig a hole that is wide enough and deep enough to accommodate all the roots as well as any
soil that is included with the packing. Look for a thicker area that is between the main trunk
of the tree and the roots. This junction should be at, or just above, surface level, not below
the soil surface.
Add some compost to the contents of the excavated soil and make a hill at the bottom of the
hole that will help support the roots. Gently backfill the hole with soil until all the roots
are covered with soil. When your hole is half filled with soil, press down gently to settle the
soil. Continue to fill the hole until the soil is level with the surrounding ground.
Water the tree well.
If planted in spring, your tree should put out some shoots the first year, but you should
not allow the fruit to form. This allows the branches to grow strong enough to support fruit,
and allows the tree time to mature enough to support fruit production.