Are you growing fruit trees in your garden? Yesterday I was weeding my vegetable garden when I saw all these tiny pears laying on the ground. My first thought was that the raccoons had been in the tree and had been playing with the fruit. They think they own my pear tree. I was wrong. I remembered my master gardener training and the June drop information I had learned .
The pears are very tiny as they are Bosc pears and do not mature until the fall. So why did the fruit drop off the tree? This is actually a normal stage of development since both apple and pear trees tend to produce more fruit than the tree can bear. About a month after the blossoms dispappear the fruit will drop to the ground. Its natures way of thinning the crop. If all that fruit remained on the tree there would not be enough nutrients for a good crop to develop. The fruit usually drops when it is about the size of a marble.
After the fruit has dropped its excess in June, there will still be lots of fruit left on the tree. My pears are still plentiful on my tree. This is a very old pear tree and most of its fruit is up high and beyond our reach. Its not the healthiest tree but the fruit is still great to harvest. I know it doesn’t look that great. Here in the lower mainland of BC we have a lot of rain which allows fungal diseases to affect our fruit trees. The scab you see on the pear above is a result of just that, scab. Scab is common on apple and pear trees. Often the leaves will get infections that show up as sooty brown to black spots and you may see early leaf drop. This fungal disease overwinters on the fallen leaves of apple trees so clean up of fallen debris is essential.On pear trees, scab overwinters in the leaves and in tiny spots on the twigs and branches.
Scab is the least of my worries as I can peel the outer skin off the pears and still eat them. Have you seen this orange spotting before? This is pear trellis rust. It shows up on pear trees in early spring as orange blisters on the leaves. This is actually a disease that is shared between pear trees and Juniper shrubs. Remember the Junipers of the 1970’s? They are still in gardens today and in many commercial landscapes. When pears are grown within 150 feet of infected Junipers, the orange spots will appear on the pear leaves. The dots continue to increase in size and look like blisters forming on the leaves. The orange spots will have a fuzzy appearance and gradually be seen right through to the underside of the leaf. Unfortunately Junipers are the host plant and the spores overwinter on the plant and travel to pears in the spring.
It would be a perfect world to say not to plant the Junipers close to neighbouring pear tree but thats difficult to do when you have to hunt them down first. Your neighbours may love their Junipers. So when planting these two plants, choose one or the other, not both. Junipers are the host for pear trellis rust.