University of Maryland Extension

Pears - Care (fertilizing, fruit thinning, harvesting, spray schedule)

Back to pears


  • One month after planting: Broadcast 8 oz. of 10-10-10 fertilizer over a two-foot circle. Keep the fertilizer six inches away from the trunk and broadcast it evenly. Do not put any fertilizer in the hole before planting.
  • In June, after planting: Broadcast another 8 oz. of 10-10-10 around your tree.
  • Subsequent Years: Increase the amount of 10-10-10 applied by 0.25 lbs per year up to a maximum of:
          Dwarf tree: 2.5 lbs per tree
          Semi-dwarf: 5 lbs per tree
          Standard: 10 lbs per tree

Reduce these fertilizer rates if trees become overly vegetative (producing more than 12 to 14 inches of new shoot growth per year). Maintain pH at 6.0 to 6.5.

Organic/Inorganic fertilizer for fruit


For the first five years, regular deep watering may be required to supplement rainfall. Do not let roots dry out during these establishment years. A small ridge of soil may be hoed up around each tree to prevent runoff.

Fruit Thinning

- A practice that improves fruit production and overall management of tree fruits.


European pears: Do not allow them to ripen on the tree. The flesh will become gritty and soft. Pick pears when they still are hard and full-sized, with a slight change in background color. They also will twist off the tree quite easily. Store pears in a refrigerator or other very cool location. They will soften at room temperature.
Asian pears: These can be allowed to tree ripen. Again, look for the color change.

Spray Schedule 

- Pest control and spray schedule.

General Disease and Insect Pest Control Recommendations

Home Fruit Preventative Spray Schedule and Management of Common Problems

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