Pear Trees Grown From Seed - Pollination

DriftlessWIMay 28, 2014

I am currently growing pear trees which I started from seed. They will be transplanted next spring to start an orchard for wildlife. I know they will not produce true to variety and since I am planting for wildlife, I am hoping to get a little more variety which may be more desirable at different times, e.g. smaller pears which taste better (to deer, turkey, coyotes, etc.) after a few frosts.

The main variety that the seed came from was Comice. I also started a few trees from Anjou seeds.

My question has to do with pollination. Is there any chance that the Comice pears will pollinate each other because there will be enough genetic variation since they are not all clones?

I know the Anjou pears will pollinate the Comice but I am afraid that I might lose too many when transplanting and there may not be enough to pollinate all of the Comice pears.

My backup plan will be to buy other varieties.

Thanks for your time!

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I have a summersweet pear that had a long sprout come up from the rootstock. I was away from home a lot, so didn't get around to pruning it out right away. It got 2 inch long wicked thorns on it! I believe I bought it from St. Lawrence Nursery, so one could look up their rootstocks if curious. Anyway, don't be surprised if you get any thorns on any of those seedling pears. They would certainly keep neighbor kids from climbing them and breaking branches.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 5:15PM
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I grew a few seedlings from a "bosc" and was wondering the same thing before I decided to graft to it.

I think your best bet is to choose the pear that pollinates the most cultivars (IIR that would be bartlett?)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 7:02PM
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I like what your doing. It's a long shot but you never know when one tree from seed becomes a household name. If your using a variety of seed a good place to start would be seed from fireblight resistant stock. I love Bartlett but they cannot survive infestations of blight in my area. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:30PM
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the reason named varieties won't pollinate the same variety is because they are cloned by grafting and all originated form one original tree. Therefore effectively are the same tree.

Seeds on the other hand are individual offspring carrying different genetics. So near a 100% chance the seedlings will pollinate each other.

The down side: Pests will have access to an easy breeding ground. Furthermore the fruit will rot quickly once it falls to the ground. This will happen at a time deer have plenty of other food options. If you plant turnips you will get the desired effect of winter food for deer after the turnip is frozen in the ground and other food getting thinner. But of course turnips are annual. Watermelons is another. Coyotes love them.

Another thing you can do is gather acorns and read up on how to store them for the winter, then go around planting them in fence rows or whatever. Oaks grow slow but 50 years after you die wildlife will be eating from your big beautiful trees.

Also, you can plant elderberry thickets. those grow from cuttings. google that. If you can't find an Elderberry bush to get clippings from I can send you some next march.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:18AM
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I appreciate everyone's responses!

Thanks cckw, that was just the information I was looking for. I might have to get back to you on that elderberry cutting offer next March! I tried to root american plums from cuttings but it was a failure. I hear that plums are difficult to root from cuttings though, are elderberry easier?

Turnips and oak trees are a great suggestion. We currently plant food plots though and have plenty of old/heavy mast producing oaks on our property. I just wanted to try to add some more variety. I am currently growing american plum from seed also. I hope to eventually plant hazelnut, dogwood, service berry, etc. I may even try some Dunstan Chestnuts too.

Comice are my favorite pear but I just realized they are much less disease resistant than I thought. Starting a tree from a disease resistant variety is great advice and I wish I would have thought of that before this little experiment. I may still plant them though, hoping one or two have some resistance to fire blight.

I will probably buy all of my future trees from a nursery so the pear trees can have disease resistance, appropriate cold hardiness and root stock.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Apples would be a better choice. Deer and Bears love them.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 6:58PM
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