Common Disease Problems
Fire Blight: Shoots and blossoms turn black and shrivel. Plant appears as if it has been scored by fire. Burpee Recommends: Cut out diseased wood to healthy tissue. Clean your tools before using on healthy tissue. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.
Pear Blossom Blast: Buds fail to open, dry out and die. Post infection after bud opening can result in shiny black spots on the fruit and the leaves. The disease rarely progresses past the base of the spurs and is typically concentrated in the lower portion of the tree’s canopy.
Pear Decline: Symptoms include poor shoot and spur growth, dieback of shoots, leaf rolling, premature reddening, reduced fruit and leaf size and premature leaf drop. Burpee Recommends: Purchase varieties with resistant rootstock. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.
Root Rots: A number of pathogens cause root rots. Burpee Recommends: Make sure your soil has excellent drainage. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.
Scab: Dark spots form on leaves and fruit. Water soaked lesions gradually turn brown in the center with a lighter colored margin. Cracking on the fruit can occur. Burpee Recommends: Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for recommendations.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Lygus Bugs (Tarnished Plant Bug): Lygus bugs are ¼ inch long and are green or brown with yellow markings. Nymphs are flightless and smaller than the adults. They suck on stem tips and flower buds and inject a toxic that deforms roots, stems and ruins flowers. Burpee Recommends: Because lygus bugs over winter in garden debris, remove all debris after the first frost. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for insecticide recommendations.
Mealybugs: Mealybugs are 1/8 to ¼ inch long flat wingless insects that secrete a white powder that forms a waxy shell that protects them. They form cottony looking masses on stems, branches and leaves. They suck the juices from leaves and stems and cause weak growth. They also attract ants with the honeydew they excrete, and the honeydew can grow a black sooty mold on it as well. Burpee Recommends: Wash affected plant parts and try to rub the bugs off. They may also be controlled by predator insects such as lacewings, ladybugs and parasitic wasps. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.
Scale: Small bugs look like brown, black, gray to white bumps on the stems of plants. Scale may not have any apparent legs and may not move. Scales have a sucking mouth part. Scale may produce honeydew so leaves and stems may be sticky. Scale can weaken the plant causing it to grow very slowly and may wilt at the middle of the day. Burpee Recommends: Completely spray the stems with Insecticidal soap. For a severe infestation contact your local County Extension Service for recommendation for your area.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
Do I need two different pear varieties for cross pollination? Some varieties produce better with two varieties, some are self-fruitful. Check your variety description.
When will my tree bear fruit? Trees should bear fruit in 3-4 years, with full fruiting in 7-10 years.
Can I grow pear trees in my zone 10 garden? No, unfortunately pears require cold winter temperatures and are not recommended in warmer zones than zone 8 or 9 (check your variety recommendation).