Pear Pleasure

Dessert pears, eating pears, large or small….pears are popular around the world and the Rogue Valley’s climate is perfect for growing pears.  The Rogue Valley was once covered in pear trees and many varieties of extra fancy pears were grown for Harry and David Inc. to ship gourmet fruit baskets nationwide.  So why not grow your own?

In fruit tree catalogs you’ll find European pears,  Heirloom pears,  Asian Pears,  Keeper Pears and pears that are better for espalier.  Dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties of pear trees make it easy for an urban gardener to fit a pear tree into their backyard; some are even small enough grow in a large container.   Pear trees need a pollinator, another pear tree that blooms at the same time to cross-pollinate and bear fruit.  Mostly likely there is a pear tree somewhere in your neighborhood to pollinate your tree, but if not and you only have space for one tree, you can create a combo pear tree by grafting a scionwood branch from another variety onto your tree, or purchase a combo pear tree from a nursery.  Bare-root fruit trees will be arriving at local nurseries soon, so look for fruit trees with healthy grafts, well-balanced branches, and  well-established root systems.

Below are a few heirloom varieties to consider:

Seseckel-pear.jpgckel (Sugar Pear) – American cultivar introduced in 1790. Easy to grow.  Small chubby round pears are small with reddish brown skin,  fine-textured flesh that is sweet richly flavored and juicy. Tolerant of most pear diseases.


 Bosc PearBosc – Originated in France or Belgium, discovered in Europe in the 1800’s, then came to America in 1833.  A large pear with a russet skin and high sugar content, slightly fibrous texture and a spicy sweet flavor.


ComComice pearice –  Originated in France 1848.  A large pear with greenish yellow skin, buttery tender texture, aromatic and very juicy.  A traditional gift fruit.


Green AnjouGreen Anjou – (Beurré d’ Anjou)  Originated in Belgium, introduced to America 1842.  A large conical pear with a short neck stem, it has pale green skin, even when ripe.  Excellent storage pear with smooth texture, lemony flavor, but it’s not very sweet. Good for baking, poaching, roasting, grilling,  and salads.


Red AnjouRed Anjou– Originated as a naturally occurring bud sport on a Green Anjou.  It has all the traits of the Green Anjou, except it’s red.   (Wikipedia: Bud sport is part of a plant that shows morphological differences from the rest of the plant)


Enticing Pollinators

Below are a few plants that can entice pollinators to your garden. This plant list can go on and on, but remember your not just planting for honey bees, pollinators include other kinds of bees, birds, butterflies, moths, beetles, and even ants.

Your garden should have a succession of flowering plants to provide blooms throughout the entire growing season. There should be several different species blooming all the time, so to accomplish this goal plant a combination of annuals and perennials. And Finally,  your garden MUST BE pesticide free
Zinnias, Sunflowers, Marigolds, Calendula (pot marigold)
Red-flowering Current, Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blueblossom), Ocean Spray, Serviceberry, Rhododendrons, Kolkwitzia amabilis (Beauty Bush).
Catmints, Lavenders, Asters, Phlox, Bee Balm, Thyme, Borage, Oregano, Garlic Chives, Evening Primrose, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed), Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Goldenrod, Podophyllum (Mayapple)
Salvias (to name a few): Russian Sage, ‘Hot Lips’, ‘Desert Blaze’, Blue Sage, Raspberry Delight, ‘Lady in Red’, Pineapple Sage, Clary Sage, Salvia pachyphylla Note: Deer do not like salvias!

Raspberry Diseases


Oregon State University

Bushy Dwarf Virus:
Since 1998, this disease has increased in Oregon.  Bushy Dwarf (BD)virus causes berries to be  crumbly and leaves to developed chlorosis yellowing; although, not all infect plants  display this leaf-yellowing symptom.  BD can infect both raspberries and marionberries plants, dramatically reducing their fruit production and infecting surrounding plants.

DB Virus

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture

The BD is spread by pollinating insects, because the virus is in the flowers pollen, so they transmitted the virus to other plants. There is no ‘cure”  so infected plants must be destroyed.

Replanted with healthy nursery-certified, disease-resistant plants.

Below is a list of Raspberries resistant to BD:
Boyne, *Chilcotin, Citadel, *Comox, Fairview, Restival, Glen Cova, Glen Moy, *Haida, *Heritage, Hilton, Killarney, Malling Admiral, Malling Jewel,Malling Joy, Malling Promise, Nootka, Puyallup, Scepter, Sentinel,Sumner, *Willamette.

Note: *Willamette & Chilcotin raspberries are immune to raspberry bushy dwarf.
While, Haida, Comox and Heritage are moderately resistant.

Rasp Mosaic.jpg

Cornell University

Raspberry Mosaic:
Raspberry mosaic disease is spread by aphids, symptoms vary but in general they include: stunted canes, delayed leafing out, clusters of shoots coming out from one node, and tip dieback.  Leaf symptoms are yellow spots and cupping. This disease affects black raspberries more than red raspberries, but both can be infected. The plant typically dies within  two years.

Cultivars resistant to Raspberry Mosaic are:
Canby, Carnival, Chilliwack, Comox, Glen Moy, Glen Prosen, Haida, Malling
Autumn Bliss, Malling Joy, Malling Leo, Nootka, Reveille, Skeena.

Raspberries that are resistant to both diseases are: Haida, Malling Joy, Nootka.