Are Pear Trees Self-Pollinating?

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Are Pear Trees Self-Pollinating?
All pear trees benefit somewhat from cross-pollination. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

In order to produce fruit, fruit tree blossoms require pollination. Pear trees vary in whether they can pollinate themselves or require a second variety for cross-pollination.

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Types

Most pear trees require cross-pollination in order to set fruit. Anjou, Bartlett, Comice, Hardy and Kiefer are partially self-fruitful but produce larger yields if fruit if allowed to cross-pollinate. Seckel cannot act as a pollinator for Bartlett.

Significance

Unless you purchase a tree with two compatible varieties grafted onto a single rootstock, you will need to plant two different, compatible types of pear in order to obtain any fruit from self-unfruitful trees or a good yield of fruit from self-fruitful trees. Check with the nursery where you purchase your trees or your local extension office to ensure that the trees you select can pollinate each other.

Considerations

Pear trees rely on bees for pollination, yet their blossoms produce less nectar than other flowers, so attracting bees can prove a challenge. For extensive pear plantings, you may need to bring in beehives. Also choose two varieties resistant to fire blight, since the disease destroys the tree's pollen, making it ineffective for cross-pollination.

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