Fruiting trees offer such a wonderful way to reclaim and rebuild the fertility of our urban yards–if all goes well, one planting will provide sweet food for years to come. This weekend we planted our newest fruit tree, a little four-way Asian pear. Four varieties are grafted onto one tree. The varieties cross-pollinate one another, so you only need one tree to get a nice fruit crop, making it perfect for small urban yards!
Early spring is a great time to plant fruit trees. They are starting to bud, but not yet leafing out, and the transition is eased by mild spring days that are not too hot or dry. In the moist Pacific Northwest, though, we should resist the temptation to lop any wayward branchlets off of our new Asian pears until the weather is dryer–late spring or early summer–as open cuts in wet weather make them susceptible to a bacterial disease that can kill the tree.
As you may have noticed from the photo, there’s something mathematically interesting thing about my tree. The label says “four-way Asian pear,” and so did the nice hand-written sign at West Seattle Nursery. But when I got it home, I counted the labels and did some simple addition: Shinko+Kosui+Shinseiki+Nijisseiki+Kojuro= 5 varieties! I’m very much looking forward to the eventual taste test. I think Asian pears taste like they fell from heaven, and feel grateful that they thrive in our maritime climate (and in much of the rest of the country as well).
If your local nursery doesn’t have 3 or 4-way Asian pears, the amazing Raintree Nursery in Morton, Washington, carries beautiful, bare root trees, plenty of recommendations unique to your garden zone, and their delivery fees are entirely reasonable.
For a refresher on Spring tree planting, find Raintree’s comprehensive guide here.