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I have some very old pear trees. The orchard has had 75-100 years of neglect. There has been no irrigation. Julian normally has little to no rain May-Sept but this year there was rain n May and two inches in July. This is the first year we have owned them. The blossoms appeared the first of April. What is the expected time until the fruit is ready to harvest?

Variety name is not known, image below.

Pear in blossom 1st of April

Closeup 1st of August

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Impossible to be definite about when they're ready, it varies according to environmental conditions as much as variety of pear. However, there is one thing you do need to know - European pears should be picked when they are mature, but not when they appear 'ripe'. They ripen from the inside out, so what looks like an unripe pear is ripening, and by the time its 'ripe' on the outside, it might well be mushy and starting to rot in the middle. So deciding when they're mature enough to pick, but not yet ripe, is the difficult part. The link below might help you choose the right time:-

http://www.starkbros.com/growing-guide/article/pears-ready-to-harvest/

If you have an Asian pear variety, they will ripen on the tree quite happily and not rot on the inside before they do. As you don't know what you've got there, you'll probably have to experiment this year, maybe picking some which are mature, and leaving others to see how they do.If they ripen nicely on the tree, and are not rotten inside, likely you have an Asian variety - and you'll know for next year.

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With pears (and apples) you need to distinguish two dates

  • ripe for picking
  • ripe for eating

Those dates may be the same or - especially for breeds for storage - weeks apart.

Also at least here in Germany there are early and late cultivars that are picked between late July / early August and the end of October /early November (with bloom in April and May), meaning the time between bloom and harvest ranges between a scant five and over six months. Some breeds then get stored until January.

Why am I telling you all this?
Because without knowing what breed you have we can't give you an estimation on when your pears are ripe, i.e. when they may be picked and when they are ready to eat simply based on April 1st as date of bloom.

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Ours are at least 70 years old and here in the mid-south, they generally start ripening in late August.

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According to locals in Julian, 20 Aug to the 1 Sept. is normal.

From Bamboo's link:

The best way to tell if a pear is ready to harvest is by taking the fruit in your hand and tilting it horizontally. The mature fruit will easily come away from the branch at this angle (as opposed to its natural vertical hanging position). If it is not yet ready for picking, it will hold on to the branch.

The pears were ready by this method 4 Aug. Pears picked four months after bloom. This was confirmed by these values:

  • Lower left - 14% sugar.
  • Upper left/Lower right - 15% sugar.
  • Upper right - 16% sugar.

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