How to grow pear trees in containers
Growing pear trees in containers is governed by the nearly same rules as growing pear trees in the ground. However, it is against the nature of a fruit tree to grow and live in a container. There are certain things to consider, so that you increase the chances of your tree survival. The things to consider are the following:
1. If you choose to grow a pear tree from seed, you will probably have to wait 7-10 years before harvesting your first fruit. If you want to harvest pears in 1-3 years, you may have to follow the method used by nearly all the commercial fruit growers, which is to buy grafted seedlings of 1-2 years old. You have to choose carefully the rootstock and the scion according to your region’s climate. Every pear tree variety has a minimum amount of cold needed in order to produce apples (see Pear Tree Climate Requirements). Ask your local garden store.
2. You have to choose a dwarf variety (the rootstock determines the final tree’s height). You have to be specific and clear to the merchant that you want a pear tree to grow in a container for the whole of its lifetime. There are many cases in which merchants sell standard height trees as dwarf or semi dwarf.
3. Most pear varieties are self-infertile. If you plan to grow just one tree and your purpose is to harvest fruits, you can choose a self-fertile variety. Alternatively, you can grow at a close distance two different trees of compatible varieties, with nearly the same period of flowering. Ask your local garden store.
4. Choose a container at list twice as big as the tree’s root system. A 10-15 gallon container is a good start. You have to put the bare root tree inside and fill the remaining container with soil mix and dirt. Keep in mind that the point where the scion is attached must be at least 3 inches (7,5 cm) above the ground level. All the containers are naturally built with small holes at the bottom, so that good drainage is ensured (you can also place broken clay pot pieces at the bottom of the pot for the same reason). You have to place the pot at a proper place of your yard, so that it will have full access to direct sunlight. Pear trees –just like nearly all fruit trees – need plenty of sunlight in order to produce fruits. You can move the pots in a protected (but not too hot) environment when freezing outside.
5. You can water and prune your tree as soon as you plant it. Pruning is very important for the good aeration and health of the tree. Irrigation is the trickiest part when growing pear and apple trees in containers. Many pear trees grown in pots have not survived due root rot from excessive water. Be very careful not to over-irrigate your tree.
6. You can add 1-4 lbs. (0,5-2 kg) 12-12-17+2MgO per young tree and 6,5 to 11 lbs. (3-5 kg) 12-12-12+2MgO per mature tree (older than 5-6 years old) on annual basis. Fertilizers can be applied from March to July and the above mentioned quantities can be split into 3-4 applications. It’s better to avoid fertilizing trees that are younger than 2 years old. Always use water soluble fertilizers or irrigate immediately after applying soil fertilizer. Read more on Pear Tree fertilization.
7. Thinning is important when growing pear trees for fruits. During April to July, we have to remove underdeveloped or unhealthy fruits and fruits that have been invaded by pests. We do this in order to leave valuable nutrients for the rest healthy fruits we want to harvest a couple of months later. We harvest pears in most cases from late summer to early autumn (August to October).
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Growing Pear Trees in containers
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