Pears are closely related to apples, and their cultivation and maintenance techniques are very similar. However, they are less tolerant of cold winds, and benefit from higher sunshine levels. If you are planting an orchard of apples and pears - it is advisable to plant the apple trees to the North and East, to give shelter to the pears that you will plant in the south and the west part of your orchard. It is thought that pears originated in the Caucasus from where they spread to Europe and Asia and that they were first cultivated more than 4,000 years ago. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans valued the fruit for its flavour and medicinal properties. They also attributed aphrodisiac properties to pears and the fruit was consecrated to Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love.
It is probable that pears were cultivated in Britain during the Roman occupation but the production of the fruit was slow to develop although there is mention in the Domesday Book of old pear trees as boundary markers. By the 13th century many varieties of pears had been imported from France and the fruit was used mainly for cooking rather than eating raw. This was in the time before potatoes were known in Britain! Warden pears appear in the city of Worcester's coat of arms, for tradition has it that during the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to Worcester in 1575 she saw a pear tree laden with black pears, which had been moved from the gardens at White Ladies and re-planted in her honour by the gate through which the queen was to enter the city. Noticing the tree Elizabeth is said to have directed the city to add three pears to its coat of arms.
Top fruit trees are all supplied as bare root plants during the winter months (November - March).
For help with choosing the correct rootstock for your needs, please click here A Guide to Rootstocks