Best Pear Varieties for S. California

hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)August 8, 2011

Okay, so I'm going to ask: What would be the best pear varieties for my low chill hours here in S. California? I'm considering Moonglow and Seckel. Moonglow needs a cross-pollinator, hopefully Seckel will be acceptable. They appear to produce at about the same time, so hopefully they flower at relatively the same time. I need a pear or two that will produce with lower chill hours, is fire-blight resistant, prefer low-grit and will stay relatively compact so I don't have to do extensive pruning to keep it small (but I'm armed and dangerous with my Felcos, so that's the least requirement.) Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.

Patty S.

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I would be surprised if Southern California gave enough chill for MG or Seckle. I'm no expert on SoCal climate though. I'd bet youd do better with somthing like Hood or Monterey that is much lower chill. Also, A nursery in Florida called Just fruits and exotics carries some really neat sounding varieties that are low chill. I dont have any experience with them but they sound good.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:39PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, that's what folks are growing around here, and what our nurseries carry, scaper. So they must do okay. But, I'll certainly check out Just Fruits & Exotics and see what they've got.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 12:02AM
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alan haigh

S.CA had a Bartlett pear industry years ago- presumably in the interior at least a bit. One advantage to that climate is that most pears will bare parthenocarpically there and need no pollinator. A neat little factoid I read years ago in Childers "Fruit Science".

I'll bet you can grow most pears there. Pears mostly do fine in a Mediterranean climate. I'd try Comice unless I was discouraged with information I don't currently have (never grew pears when I lived there so I'm afraid I really don't know what I'm talking about).

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 5:24AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Correcto, harvestman. Seckel is self-pollinating here, too, but I don't think that Moonglow is, BUT did find out Seckel will pollinate Moonglow. Comice is probably my go-to eating pear because it is not gritty, super sweet and juicy. Interestingly, DWN does not have them in their lineup of pears, which is odd since they are very low-chill pears. And, they're really hard to find. Exotica Nursery did carry them, and I've got a phone call into Bonita Creek Nursery, who carry all kinds of incredibly great and unusual varieties of fruit trees. If I have to, I'll order it. It is fire blight resistant, so good for my area. We don't have a lot of blight, but it is so devastating if it gets into a tree, I would prefer not to deal with it if I can avoid it. Thanks for the suggestion, I had completely overlooked this incredibly delicious pear. Pears are by far my favorite pome/stone fruit. Yumm!!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 3:00PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Update on my pears. I have decided on a Moonglow, a Seckel, a Comice and my wonderful CRFG buddy, Dave Archer, who owns Bonita Creek Nursery in Bonita, CA also happened to have a Concorde Pear. So, I will have four very lovely pear trees for the front yard. Hoping to keep them small, and I hope I can keep the rats out of the trees, too. Will report back next season to let folks know who they all do!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 1:24AM
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Pears are my favorite fruit also and as I said I'm certainly not an expert on Southern Cal. climate so I didnt mean to steer you wrong. I'd say if you can grow Comice and Seckle in your area you can grow most any pear.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)


How did your pears do?

Super curious about the Seckel.

We have two pears, a Bartlett and mom always called an Asian pear only good for pickling. She has suggested several times when my guy was using the chain saw that the Asian pear should go cause they were not worth eating.

I liked the mushroom shape of the Asian pear and it is not hurting anything (well it does get some fire blight with an apple and the Bartlett) we don't water it, nothing no fertilizer. Last year we pruned it when the weather was supposed to be nice, just to have the fog roll in and it had a really bad year. This year we tried to stay away from it and both pears did really well.

Mom finally decided to pick a few pears to show me how bad the Asian pear really was, only the pear sauce she made with it was so sweet it shocked her. Now she likes the tree.

Turns out, the Asian Pear is not so much an Asian pear but a Seckel. Dad often got great deals from his buddy on fruit trees with missing tags, thus an ornamental plum and peach came home too.

But now what to do with this pear! I need to cut out the only bad spots left on it, but you think it is an okay time to trim it? We had nothing but fog all summer and I did not want to get near it with pruners. It is in a spot that does not get a lot of sun in the morning, gets winter sun blocked by an oak, guessing that adds to the blight

Any thoughts?

How did your pears end up?

This post was edited by Kippy-the-Hippy on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 0:57

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 12:52AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Seckel pear has quite a few pears on it this year, but also suffered from Fireblight (only one of all my pears to suffer from this, even though it's supposed to be resistant - it is not.) Had a few pears on my Jiungos pear that were okay. But, it's the first year for fruit, and I think I picked them a bit early. Have a couple more in the refridge, and will be pulling them out to the counter to finish ripening, so hopefully those will taste better. Fruit up on on my Bella di Giugnos was swiped by a critter, so no report on those this year. Nothing else produced (yet), but all trees are growing nicely, so hopefully more fruit next season!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 4:03PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

My only experience with pears - a Bartlett - which developed fire blight early, so got rid of it. The thing that makes it so hard, is that the disease seems to have spread to the surrounding area. An almond tree planted in the space, also developed it, so am about to cut it as well. It looks suspiciously like a camellia bush nearby may also be infected now - drat!

In the meantime, I recently planted one Asian pear, a gift that is trying to survive our foggy summer.

My only contribution.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 8:13AM
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alan haigh

I have had FB issues on a couple of Seckel pear trees here as well, but it is one I've planted most widely. I think by resistant, they mean it is less likely killed when stricken, but I've lost a Seckel and a Bosc to FB here. Both are also susceptible to scab, especially Bosc.

My sister has a Seckel in coastal N. CA that gets little strikes every year without killing the tree but greatly reducing productivity and overall vigor.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 8:16AM
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I grew seckel in SoCal (350 hrs chill) for 10 yrs. Most years it set fruit...and was an excellent eater (small). The Comice is a sleeper my friend grew with good success (xclnt eater). The Asian pears are just fair eaters IMHO.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 7:50PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Good to know fireduck. My Seckel had a few great pears last season. Hoping this larger harvest will be equally as good. My Comice which is planted right next to the Seckel didn't produce this year, but it really put on some nice size. So, crossing my fingers I have some pears this year from the Comice. I have no Asian pears - not a fan. Have 17 heirloom European pear varieties.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)


I would LOVE to know what all you grow, the ripening seasons and your comments on good or bad. Your my fruit tree growing hero!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:15PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, this is a screen cap of my spreadsheet with my pears. I've only had two so far, Seckel, which of course is excellent, and the Jiugnos pear, which I have had in the refridge for a couple of weeks, and now they're out on the counter ripening, so no report on that, yet. Nothing else has produced, yet, but I'm hoping that next year, I'll have several trees with fruit.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:32PM
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