Squirrel eating a pear ©Janet Allen
Squirrel helping himself to a pear

Our pear tree has been very productive over the last 25 years or so, BUT as you can see in the photo, we have a problem with squirrels eating the pears. But for some reason, in 2013 we had very few squirrels even though there were lots of pears.

Most years, though, we didn't bother to use them for some of these reasons.

First, since we don't spray the tree (something we would not want to do), the pears aren't perfect, though they're very acceptable and in some years almost flawless.

Pears ©Janet Allen
In decline, but still productive

Second, eating the pears seems to distract the squirrels from eating other fruits and vegetables in the garden, so they're performing a very useful service.

Third, this "semi-dwarf" tree grew to be much larger than we expected, so it's not easy to harvest, and the ones that drop (or are "pushed" by the squirrels) are quite bruised and soft.

Finally, one reason we keep it is that it has great habitat value (see Our Habitat Garden). It's a favorite perching place for birds, since it's very tall and makes a convenient perch for surveying the whole back yard. It will make a good snag when it dies.

A new pear tree

2-in-1 pear ©Janet Allen
Our 2-in-1 pear tree, newly planted

Our original pear tree is definitely in decline. Fortunately, we now have the space vacated by the ornamental crab tree we removed from the front yard because it was interfering with the FIOS lines, so we've bought a new pear tree.

We chose a 2-in-1 pear so we would need only one tree for pollination. The two varieties are Bartlett and Red Sensation. And since we needed a smallish tree in that sapce, we chose a semi-dwarf, which will reach only 12-15 feet tall and wide.

Harvest record

NOTE: These are the weights after being processed, i.e. all the bruises cut out etc.

YR LB Notes
14 0 One of those years that trees don't produce
13 43 For fresh fruit, dehydrated pear slices; jam
12 0 Northeast had very poor fruit crops due to unusual spring weather
11 30 The squirrels got a lot of them