University of Illinois Extension

Pears

PearsPears can be grown in Illinois but production is limited somewhat by a bacterial disease called fireblight that also can occur on apples. Pears grown in Illinois and other areas in the Midwest are grafted on quince rootstocks. Some pear trees are grafted on standard domestic Bartlett rootstocks, and some Asian pear varieties grafted on Betulafolia rootstocks are also available from some nurseries. Select varieties that can grow in zone 5. Plant two or more varieties for cross-pollination. Planting and care are similar to apples, although insect and fungus disease problems may not be as severe on pears as on apples. Pears need to be fertilized with caution as too much new growth can predispose the tree to fire blight. Pears need to be pruned less severely compared to other fruit trees. Pear fruits can be harvested when mature and will continue to ripe in storage. Suggested varieties include 'Maxine,' 'Starking Delicious,' 'Seckel,' and 'Moonglow.' 'Seckel' and 'Moonglow' will cross-pollinate with each other and the additional varieties listed; 'Maxine' and 'Starking Delicious' don't pollinate each other.

Small Fruit Crops for the Backyard - University of Illinois Extension