realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Category Archives: Pear varieties

Peach leaf curl disease

Peach leaf curl disease (Taphrina deformans) is the main issue you have to be aware of with peach, nectarine and apricot growing. I f you follow my guidelines you will have no trouble with this fungal disease.

Apricot has the same trouble, but in a milder form. However, if you cover your peach tree or your apricot tree with a double layer of garden fleece from late January until the middle of May, every year, or bring the potted tree indoors during the winter months, the disease cannot develop.

Peach leaf curl

Peach leaf curl, photo courtesy of Scot Nelson/flickr.com

The fungus Taphrina deformans attacks the tree species of peach, nectarine and apricot.

The symptoms are the development of large reddish blisters on the leaves. The tree is seriously weakened as photosynthesis by the leaves is seriously affected.

Eventually the tree is starved to death as it is no longer able to make essential carbohydrates through photosynthesis. Leaves tend to fall prematurely and growth comes to a full standstill.

The fungus attacks the tree from early February until the middle of May. After May the fungus is no longer producing spores and therefore cannot cause new infections.

How to avoid peach leaf curl disease

There are various options for controllilng this fungus. Some varieties are more resistant than others. However this is no help if you already have to cope with this problem.

Actions to be taken immediately are the complete removal of leaves affected. This applies to the fallen leaves as well as the affected leaves that still attached to the tree. Make sure the leaves are all collected up, put in a plastic bag and then put in the non-recycling bin. Make sure the tree is well watered and does not stand in a carpet of weeds and grass. Apply a full watering can of water once or twice a week, particularly during the summer months. Mulch the tree with well rotted farmyard manure. The area to be mulched must be of a minimum size of one square yard.

Never let the tree go short of water! By late January cover the tree with a double layer of garden fleece. Fasten the fleece securely. Make sure the wind cannot affect it or lift it off. Keep your eye on the tree and if a tear develops in the fleece after particularly bad weather, repair the damage properly. This fleece needs to stay in position until the second week of May. After that time, carefully remove the fleece.

Never prune the tree during the autumn and winter months when the leaves have fallen. It is at that time that new infections occur very quickly. Prune during the middle of May or during late August, making sure the old wood is removed to make room for new shoots to form. This is essential as the fruits of peach and nectarine are formed on one year wood only. Seal the pruning cuts with “Prune and Seal”, a compound available from your garden centre. The foliage of a well pruned tree dries up quickly, with less chance of new infections.

If it is not possible to cover the peach tree, to avoid the disease you can spray with copper during the first week of February and repeat the spray 14 days later. Follow the instructions on the packet in detail. Garden centres stock it. At leaf fall in late November put on another spray of copper.

Peach leaf curl disease is spread by rain droplets. The fungus over-winters and is hidden in crevices of the bark and between the bud scales. Therefore consider planting a peach tree in a 15 to 18 inch diameter pot. By the end of January, wheel the potted peach tree into a cold shed or a cold green house or a cold poly tunnel. In that way no fleece is needed as the tree is sheltered from the winter rains. By the middle of May it is safe to take the pot outdoors again. Then position the tree in a warm sunny place and water it weekly or twice a week when very warm weather is occurring. Never let the tree go short of water as it will surely die.

Feed the tree monthly with a suitable foliar feed , obtainable from garden centres.

Onward

onwardOnward is a pear that looks a bit like Comice, yellow and sometimes with an orange flush, and juicy soft flesh once it has fully ripened. It crops fairly early, from September to early October. It is not self-fertile, so needs a pollinator.

Photo courtesy of Marmaladefly/flickr.com

Invincible

Invincible is a new pear variety that produces two sets of blossom and so is less prone to frost damage, making it ideal for the north of England, Scotland, or in frost pockets. It also provides a long cropping period, from early September to mid-October. The fruit is initially crisp, but, left out of the fridge, it gradually becomes tender and juicy. It is partially self-fertile, and so it does better with a pollinator.

Winter Nelis

Winter Nelis, photo courtesy of jmcc2009/flickr.com

Winter Nelis, photo courtesy of jmcc2009/flickr.com

A very late pear that should not be picked before the end of October.  Flavour is good and it is a good producing pear. Unfortunately the fruit is really small. Introduced in 1818. It has a very long shelf life and can be kept in cool conditions until the end of January.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Williams Bon Cretien

Williams Bon Cretien, photo courtesy of marmaladefly/flickr.com

Williams Bon Cretien, photo courtesy of marmaladefly/flickr.com

This is not really suitable for very damp areas in the UK, due to its sensitivity to scab. In drier areas, the skin finish is appreciably better. Not self-fertile, it needs a pollinator. If picked too late, it will start rotting around the core . It should be picked by the end of August/early September. Quality fair to good.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Packhams Triumph

Packhams Triumph. Photo courtesy of flxy/flickr.com

Packhams Triumph. Photo courtesy of flxy/flickr.com

This is a very spring-frost-sensitive tree, and therefore it is suited only for frost-free positions. The tree is of a spreading nature. Of limited success in the UK. Originating from Australia, it was introduced to the UK in about 1941.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Doyenne du Comice

Doyenne du Comice. Photo courtesy of Jacques Bonnet/flickr.com

Doyenne du Comice. Photo courtesy of Jacques Bonnet/flickr.com

Definitely the best flavoured pear, but also more difficult to grow. Without pollination, it will not produce any pears. Good pollinators are Winter Nelis, Concorde and in most years Conference. The tree is very vigorous. Moderate crops. Usually of superior fruit size. Introduced from France in 1858. Particularly suitable for growing along a south- or west-facing wall.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Conference

Conference, photo courtesy of Arkensiel Photographs/flickr.com

Conference, photo courtesy of Arkensiel Photographs/flickr.com

Can be grown anywhere in the UK, preferably in a sheltered spot. It is self-fertile. For good-shaped fruit, it is best to plant a pollinator. It has a certain degree of frost resistance resulting in parthenocarpic pears. These are pears formed without seeds and as result are often misshapen. Easy to grow, it produces heavy crops. Introduced in 1885.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Concorde

Concorde, photo courtesy of chemodan/John Myers/flickr.com

Concorde, photo courtesy of chemodan/John Myers/flickr.com

A super variety, raised at East Malling Research station, introduced in 1977. The tree is very upright and compact, ideal also for training as a fan or espalier. It must not be picked too early as the flavour needs time to develop in the latter stages of ripening. It is a tree that crops well, with great regularity. Apart from Conference, it is the best pear ever raised in the UK. Like Conference it is reasonably self-fertile. However it does better still if it has a suitable pollinator.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Beurre Hardy

Beurre Hardy, photo courtesy of Natoora/flickr.com

Beurre Hardy, photo courtesy of Natoora/flickr.com

A good-quality pear which is rather slow in coming into production. The trees are very vigorous and very upright. Only does well in sheltered positions. Conference is a good pollinator. Raised in France and introduced in about 1820.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order