Asian Pears in zone 5, southern WI

fruitmaven_wiz5(5)April 18, 2012

Hi all,

Having caught the fruit bug and "lost my mind" according to my husband, I am planting just about every possible type of fruit that grows in my area. I haven't planted pears though, since I don't like needing to guess when they're ripe and then ripen in the house some more. I've been reading about Asian pears though, and they sound interesting. I like that they stay small (10-15') since I'm on a normal suburban lot and am running out of space. I know I'd need two for pollination, and Jungs nearby has Chojuro and Nijuseiki in their bare-root room right now.

Having never tasted an Asian pear (though I like pear flavors and crispy apples), are they worth growing? Does anyone in WI, MN, IL grow these and like them? Let me know what you think, please!

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glenn_russell(6b RI)

I love my Korean Giant Asian pear. Very large, juicy, sweet fruit on a productive tree. -Glenn

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:58PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Hi, Fruitmaven, talking about running out of space, we are in the same boat!. I am in chicago, I grow Asia pear in my back yard. I am current grow 3 in 1 grafted from Miller. I planted last year and bloomed this year, a lot of flowers.

keep in mind that Asia pear is not grow for its sweetness but for its juicy crispy texture. If you like sweet pear, Asian pear is not a good choice.

One of my friends grow Olympic Giant , which is high on my wish list. Olympic tastes sweeter and juicy, Nijuseiki is juicier but less sweet... If you have Asia market or Korean store nearby, the very big pears ,pemmalo size, over one lb each they sale , usually are the Olympic Giant. Some catalog says it need pollinator, some said it is self fertile. I guess it all has to do with how many pears you want it grow in a tree. Asian pears need to be thinned anyway. My friend only grow one Asian pear tree in the yard and I had been telling her that she needs a pollinator until she offered me a Naval orange size pear last fall from her third year Olympic Giant tree. I guess reality beats text books. I am since very quite about pollinator. It is a later ripe, sometime in Sept here. Another good thing about Olympic Giant is that it can be stored for a long time. I ordered my tree last Spring before tasted my friends' Asian pear in the fall. Too late to change my mind but to add one more tree. Overall, I think Olympic giant has better taste . if I only grow one Asian pear, Olympic Giant is the one I will grow.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:01PM
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fruitmaven_wiz5(5)

Olympic sounds interesting, but with it ripening in late October I worry it won't have time to fully ripen. We get our last frost in late September, and have had Halloween snow before. That's why I was looking at August-September ripening Asian pears. I will have to try some Asian grocery stores to see if pears are available there. A speciality fruit shop today said, "We don't have any, it's not quite the season yet."

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:31PM
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mamuang_gw

Hi There,

Even though I grow Asian pears in the East, I'd like to share with you my backyard experience of Asian pears.
I grow Olympic (aka Korean Giant), 20th Century (aka Nijisseiki), Shinko and Hosui.

I can't speak about Hosui because I just planted it last year. The first three have fruited. Olympic fruit is big (if you thin hard), sweet and juicy. 20th Century is smaller, juicy but not as sweet. Both of them are keepers for me. Shinko is small and bland. I grow it because it's disease resistant. If the taste does not improve in a year or two, I probably will take it out since I don't have a lot of space.

My Asian pear trees are not small. They are quite tall. In 3 years, Korean Giant and 20th century have grown over 15 feets. I consider a 12ft or under tree a tree small. Anything over that is not small. If I have not "trimmed" them. They would be 20 ft by now. I really should not say I trimmed them since I have just tried to learn how to prune different fruit trees I have. Let's say, if I have not head cut them rather severely these past two years, I would need a ladder to pick the fruits.

As for pollination, two different varieties of pears that bloom about the same time probably will maximize fruit setting. I was told that European pears can cross pollinate with Asian pears. If your neighborhood have other pears (Asian or Euro), you probalby can get away with planting just one tree. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 6:18PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Fruitmaven-
My Korean Giant (Aka Olympic) pear's were ready/ripe right around October 1st here in 6b. Hope that helps,
-Glenn

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:22PM
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mamuang_gw

Hi Fruitmaven,

My Korean Giant pears were ripe anywhere from around mid to late Oct. Last year, I picked the last few after Nov 1. I used to think my zone was 5 until I saw a new zone map. It put my area (central MA) in zone 6 a. It can get very cold and snowy here, too.

All my Asian pears are semi-dwarf.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:36PM
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fruitmaven_wiz5(5)

Thank you for all of the information! My zone just changed from 4b to 5a, so I am a bit colder than mamuang and glenn_russel. It is good to know that I would have to prune them quite hard to keep them to 10'. I am thinking of just getting one variety now, and seeing if the Bradford pear ornamental tree on my street would pollinate it. Lee Reich (fruit author and farmdener extraordinaire) recommends Chojuro, and I know his climate in NY is similar to mine. I'd still love to hear people's opinions on Asian pears they have tasted!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:18PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Chojuro has more flavor and aroma than Nijuseiki, if only compare these two varieties.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:21AM
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dr-solo

Shinko are sweet if left on the tree LONG after most other asian pears. I sorta forgot 3 of them on the tree the first years so when I finally picked them they were very sweet. The one I picked earlier wasnt as sweet. I prefer Hosui which has a wonderful taste and ripens earlier.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

I love Chojuro. Hosui also. The store bought olympics were not that good, and am waiting for next year to sample my own. I have shinseiki and it's good if you don't mind them bland and juicy. I prefer the russetting types. I now have Drippin honey, Mishirasu, and Yoinashi. I also want Atago, an early russeting type, Shin-li and Daisui-li, new patented releases.
Anybody know more about Atago, Shin-li and Daisui-li?
Noogy

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 4:47PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Just harvested my Asian pears. They are sweet but can be sweeter if I left them on the trees for another 2 weeks.... want to beat the squirrals. When it is fully ripe, the squirrals can pick them all in single night and take a bite on each pears and left the rest on the ground...
Liked the flavor of both types , but I have tasted home grow Korean Giant which is equal sweetness but far larger in size, and keep longer in storage.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:08AM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Here is another one

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 2:23PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

Oly,
Nice looking fruit. You gotta get rid of those varmints! You've come too far to not let them hang just a little bit longer. My chojuro, when golden, are excellent. I won't see anything this year. Freeze damage was total.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 6:05PM
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mattpf

Have any of you guys tried growing shinsiki pears?
I fluked out and got a real nice little shinsiki at homedepot for 1 penny lol
I don't even know why or how homedepot got this tree they are not rated for my zone but are rated very winter hardy. It survived a zone 3/4 winter no problem . It did suffer sun damage (armature mistake) this winter I will protect the beautiful little tree with burlap and paint it white.

I just thought I'd share my experience on how hardy these trees are . Know body really knows how hardy they are till they try. We had some minus 25 weather with wind chills of minus 40 for brief durations.

I'd expect mine to fruit next summer. I've actually found my variety in stores and they can be sweet. And are very large also. They are very juicy crispy and I'd bet that if left on the trees longer they will sweeten. They always pick fruit unripe to ship out . They can't commercially ship out ripe fruit I've had some very sweet Asian pears that taste better than any pear or apple .

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 10:45AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I haven't grown Asian pears yet but I've been researching. I found Shinseiki listed as cold hardy on NGR-Corvalis website:

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Shinseiki'

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:43PM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

This photo is Mishirasu. I love asian pears. I grow Hosui, Hamese, Olympic, Chojuro, Shiseiki. Each ripening in succession so they are all the best but my favorites are Shinseiki and Chojuro.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 6:49AM
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olympia_gardener(5)

I have Shiseiki in my yard as well. It is very juicy and crunchy but the flavor is not as good as Chojuro. One of my Chojuro was kind under stress and ripe earlier than the rest. When it fell off the tree by the wind. It tasted very sweet!.
I think Raintree carries Mishirasu. I am always wondering what it tasted like?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:30AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I've been perusing the GRIN database and they have one called 'Okolo': Okolo (PI 541908).-Originated in Brookings, South Dakota, by N.E. Hansen, South Dakota Agriculture Experiment Station. Introduced in 1940. Open-pollinated seedling of Pyrus ussuriensis. Fruit: diam. about 2 1/4 inches; pyriform; skin light yellow with minute russet dots; stem long and stout; flesh white, firm, juicy, with delicious flavor. Tree: bears well. - Brooks and Olmo Register of Fruit and Nut Varieties

I am tempted to try grafting it. I don't know if they distribute to the public or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Okolo'

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 1:41AM
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northwoodswis4

I noticed in the link that milehighgirl sent that Shinseiki grew in St. Cloud, MN, for several years. That is north of my home, so is probably in zone 3. Now I am curious about Asian pears, which I have never tasted. Can one graft them to a European pear? Will they cross-pollinate with a European pear? This year I got my first pear (squirrels got the other two pears) from a Dwarf Clapps Favorite planted in 2006. I am still waiting on a Luscious, Summercrisp, and Flemish Beauty all planted in 2008. Would they work to pollinate it? I know it is a bit foolish to plant things that are of questionable hardiness, but I don't always follow my own advice. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:52PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Asian pear tastes great.You can grafted Asian pear onto European pear. Not sure it will survives in zone 3, maybe a shelted area. But reliablly sets fruits every year might be a problem.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:09PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Asian pear tastes great.You can grafted Asian pear onto European pear. Not sure it will survives in zone 3, maybe a shelted area. But reliablly sets fruits every year might be a problem.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:10PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Asian pear tastes great.You can grafted Asian pear onto European pear. Not sure it will survives in zone 3, maybe a shelted area. But reliablly sets fruits every year might be a problem.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:11PM
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