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Baldwin Pear

Q: Can you tell me something about Pineapple pears? I have spots on the leaves, is that a problem?

A: Pears are great trees for the horticulturally-challenged. They tolerate many different soil conditions, don’t require much care or fertilizing once established, rarely need pruning, and can produce bumper crops of fruit for decades, with little care. They can get a bacterial disease called “fire blight” in our area, where the tips of the branches whither and turn black.The pear’s success also has a lot to do with its easy picking and easy storage. “Because pears are one of the few fruits that actually ripen more successfully off the tree,” says Hazen, “they are picked when green and hard.” It’s true. Last year, I was almost buried by my pears, and had to keep them in bushels in my house until my friends came back from vacation. A week or so in my kitchen made the pears wonderful eating. The old-timers in Galveston County often pick the pears when they’re “softball” hard, wrap each pear in newspaper, put them in a box, and store them in a cool dark place. Some varieties can keep for several months this way, but some can’t. I found those left on the tree to ripen just became rotten.