Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Tag Archives: pears

Sealing pear stalks


A reader writes: “Dear Dan, in Italy I saw pears sold like this, with the stalks sealed with wax. Is there a reason for this?”

Pears are best if picked slightly immature. This means that moisture loss can still occur via the stalk, once the pear is separated from the tree. Therefore with certain varieties there is the risk of shrivel of the fruit near the stalk end. Sealing the stalk may help to reduce this problem.


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/


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.

Peaches, apricots, pears, gages, a great year

Golden Glow, photo courtesy of coblands_plants/

Golden Glow, photo courtesy of coblands_plants/

This has been a fabulous year for peaches and apricots. The flavour and the size of the fruit have been outstanding, and likewise the yield. In addition, it has been a year that has proved to me again that the disease called “peach leaf curl” is not difficult to control, even without the use of chemicals.

The apricot harvest has been completed, and, with us in Suffolk, the outdoor peaches are not quite ready yet. The flavour of the fruit is still increasing, particularly as the difference between night and day temperatures is now exceeding 10 degrees Celsius.

Young walnut trees are also beginning to crop with the help of very good quality leaf of deep colour and an open structured tree .

Pears are wonderful size. Unfortunately many little birds like to make small holes in some of the pears, which means these pears won’t keep very long. All the same, if you like to store pears, then the overriding factor is temperature. It has to be 1 degree Celsius for good results. Anything higher and the pears will ripen very quickly. Early ripening pears such as Beth and Williams are best used within days after picking. These are not suited for longer term storage.

The green gages equally have been a true delight. These do not ripen all at once and if several varieties are used , the picking time can be spread out over a period of 4 to 6 weeks depending on the season.

At Suffolk Fruit and Trees, we stock all these different varieties as young trees. However, in every season, supplies are limited and soon start tailing off. Early ordering is essential. Delivery will take place once the trees are fully dormant, as that is the time young trees transplant best. This year, this will probably mean a delivery period from late November onwards, depending on prevailing weather conditions. The varieties available are listed on this page at the website

November tips – protect pears and plums from bird damage

A bullfinch, photo courtesy of Paul Starkey/

A bullfinch, photo courtesy of Paul Starkey/

Even though the trees will be looking bare, it’s important to apply cotton threads to pear and plum trees as soon as the leaves have fallen. This is a good method of deterring pigeons and bullfinches who otherwise will eat the fruit buds, essential for next year’s crop, in pears and plums. Ordinary cotton is fine, just wind it around the tree (slip the spool onto a rod or dowel to make things simpler) so that the threads are about six inches apart. What happens is that the bird flies towards the tree, doesn’t see the thread, touches it with its wing, gets a fright, and flies off. No damage to the bird is done, and it helps your tree!