Pear is one of the most important fruit crops of temperate regions. Fruits are tasty with pleasant flavour.Fruits are a rich source of protein (0.69 g) vitamins (vit. A 0.06 mg; vit. B -0.03mg) and minerals like calcium (8 mg), phosphorus (15 mg) and iron (0.5 mg) per 100 grams of pulp. Patharnakh has become the commercial fruit crop of Punjab. The area under pear is steadily increasing in North India. In Punjab, pear occupies an area of 2147 hectares with an annual production of 42940 tonnes. With the introduction of new promising semi-soft pear cultivars, the area under pear is likely to increase further. The area under patharnakh increased in past thirty years due to the supply of quality nursery plants propagated on pear root suckers and Kainth seedlings. Now the quality plants of soft pears are being made available to the growers by Punjab Agricultural University nurseries.
((Origin and History))
Pyrus species are native to the Northern Hemisphere of the old world. European and West Asian species are native to Eastern Europe and South Western Asia. East and North Asian species (oriental group) are native to Eastern Asia including China, Japan and ManAuria. Patharnakh (Pyrus pyrifolia) (Burm. F. Nakai) originated in China from where Chinese merchants and settlers brought it to Amritsar’s village Harsa Chhina during the time of Lord Kanishka (120-170 AD). From here patharnakh spread to other areas. In Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Patharnakh is cultivated under the name of Gola pear. Area and Production: Area and production both increased substantially during 1980 but soon there was a glut in the market and farmers got panicy and resorted to the uprooting of pear orchards during 1985-86. At present, area under pear in Punjab is 2707 hectares, with annual production of 59992 MT.
- CLIMATE AND SOIL
Low chilling requiring pears are being cultivated in plains of North India. Cultivars requiring high chilling hours (900-1000) are cultivated at higher hills of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttara Khand. Soil: Pear is not very fastidious to its soil requirements. It is being grown from arid irrigated areas of Sirsa-Abohar to loam and clay loam soils of Amritsar and Hoshiarpur. It is doing well in foot hills where soils are light sandy to gravels. It prefers deep well drained loam soils with pH less than 8.5. Alkaline soils are unfit for pear cultivation. The soils with electric conductivity less than 1.5 mm hos/cm, less than 10 percent CaC03 and lime 20 percent are suitable for pear cultivation. High pH soils show iron chlorosis and zinc deficiencies in the pear plants. Climate: Pear can be grown successfully at 1200 to 1800 meter above sea level. In can tolerate very low temperature below 0°C and can with stand high temperature during summers (47°C). Best temperature for its flowering and fruiting is 2°C in winter and 32°C is summers. Rainfall 100-125 cm is sufficient for its growth. Summers should be less humid. Fruits make good growth if rains are there at maturity stage. Botany: Pear belongs to genus Pyrus and family Rosaceae. The pear fruit is a pome. Thalamus develops and overgrows the ovary just like in apple. Ovary have 3-5 seeds.
- Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm) F. Nakai Sand Pear:
Trees are spreading in nature and can grow upto 9 m high. The bark of the trunk is light brown, rough and shreading. Branches grow fast and become drooping. Leaves 10-12 cm long with Serrated margins, round base and acuminate apex. The upper side of the lamina is dark green and lower side of light green in colour. Fruits are round to pyriform in shape and have deciduous calyx. Fruits tastes sweet. Flesh white in colour, fruits usually hard at maturity, can with stand transportation.
- Pyrus communis L. (European Pear):
Trees are of pyramidal in shape, upright growing. Bark of the trunk light brown to grey in colour. Twigs show lenticles young shoots light brown in colour. Leaves medium in size, ovate 5-10 cm long with fine serration. The base of leaves is obtuse with acuminate apex. Leaves are dark green from upper surface and light green from lower surface. Fruits variable pyriform. The lengths of neck differ from cultivar to cultivar. Fruits with fleshy pedicels and persistent calyx. Fruits sweet, soft fleshed and creamy white.
- Pyrus serotina Rehd. (Shiara):
Tree is spreading. The bark of the trunks dark brown. Leaves just like Pyrifolia but smaller in size ovate with pointed type. The spurs are stout and spring fruits round, hard and brown in colour. Fruits have bold seeds. The taste is sour. Seeds are used as rootstock for pyrifolia and communis species.
- Pyrus pashia Buch-Ham (Kainth):
Trees are spreading and upright. Tree size variable may grow 5 m to 9 m high. The bark is dark-brown. The young shoots ends in spines. The small spurs also spiny sharp. Leaves like ‘patang’ elliptical with fine serration on the margins and acute apex. Fruits are brown in colour hard and round in shape. It grows wild. Fruits size variable. 3-5 seeds per fruit brownish black. It is an important rootstock for pear cultivars.
Hard Poar (Pyrus pyrifoUa):
- Pathamakh: Very important cultivar of hard pear group. It is commonly known as gola pear is some areas. It is commonly cultivated cultivar in Punjab. Patharnakh requires only 250-300 chilling hours for flowering and fruiting. It is heavy bearer with well sized, firm fruits. Fruits can withstand long- distance transportation. Trees are spreading and vigorous. The scaffolds grow upright and then spread. It starts bearing at the age of 5- 7 years depending upon the rootstock used. The spurs are stout and can bear fruit for 15 years, if not broken. It takes 2-3 years for taking re-growth of the spurs to bear fruit. Fruits are of medium size, round and yellowish green with prominent dots on the surface (lenticles). Flesh white in colour, gritty due to the presence of grit cells. Flesh is crispy and juicy. Keeping quality very g3od, can be kept at room temperature for three to four weeks Fruits mature in the last week of July. A fully grown tree can bear upto 3 quintals of fruit. Average yield 1.5 quintals per tree. TSS of juice 13% with 0.5% acidity.
(These are natural hybrids of the Pyrus pyrifolia x Pyrus communis species).
- Punjab Beauty:
The trees are upright in growth forms pyramid shape, medium vigour, regular bearer. It resembles ‘Le conte’ cultivar in tree shape and foliage. Fruits are medium in size, yellow in colour with red blush at full maturity. Flesh is white and juicy. TSS of juice 14% and acidity 0.3%. The fruits become soft at ripening. Fruits mature in end July. Average yield 80 kg per plant.
- ‘Le Conte’:
Tree is of medium in vigour with upright and spreading habit. Fruits are of medium in size mostly pyriform in shape with small necks. The colour of the fruit is greenish yellow. Flesh white, juicy and sweet. Fruits mature first week of August. TSS of juice 14 percent and acidity 0.3%. Average yield per tree 80 kg in on vear and 30 kg in off vear.
- Punjab Nectar:
This cultivar is similar to the above cultivars of soft pear group. It also requires about 250-300 chilling hours. Trees grows upright and spreading at maturity. Fruits are of medium in size with 14% TSS of juice and 0.31% of acidity. Fruits ripen in end July. Average yield 80 kg per tree.
- Punjab Gold:
This is also a selection from semi-soft pear group. The young plants grow upright and are less spreading. Fruits become yellow at ripening. The TSS of juice 14.5% with 0.3% acidity. The fruits ripen in end July. Average yield 80 kg per plant.
The trees grow similar to ‘Le Conte’. The trees are taller and more spreading. It is an alternate bearer. The fruits are little smaller than ‘Le conte’ but are more pyriform in shape with long neck. Fruits ripen in August. Very popular in foot hills of North India. Average jdeld 80 kg/tree. The TSS of juice 13% with 0.3% acidity.
It is a hybrid between two species Pyrus communis and Pyrus pyrifolia. The trees are very hardy upright growing and spreading at maturity. The foliage is dense, leaves are smaller than patharnakh. Tree is very productive just like patharnakh. The spurs are stout. Fruit size is equivalent to patharnakh with prominent points at the calyx and fruits develop red bluish near maturity. The flesh is gritty. TSS of juice 12.5% with 0.3% acidity. It is late maturing cultivar. Fruits ripen in 2nd week of August. Average yield 100 kg/tree, regular bearer.
Trees are of medium vigour. It bears small-sized fruits, which ripen end June. Fruits develop red colour partially. Due to early maturity it is grown in the foot hills for early marketing. The tree yields up to 55 kg of fruit. The TSS of juice 12% with 0.32 acidity.
- Max-red Bartlette:
It is a bud sport of Bartlette. The chilling requirements are little less, that is why performs well in Punjab conditions tree is medium size with very high density of spurs. It is a regular bearer. Fruits ripen in August and develop red colour which makes the fruit very attractive. Average yield per tree 100 kg.
Many rootstocks are being used to propagate pear trees. Promising characters of rootstock are given below:
Pear Root Suckers (Pyrus calleryana):
This is a very old rootstock which is in use since the introduction of pear cultivar patharnakh by the Chinese. Initially in rootstock trials at P.A.U. Ludhiana it has been considered to be Pyrus pyrifolia. A sucker was planted in the old orchard of the P.A.U. in 1976. It grew as a tree quite different from P pyrifolia and did not flower for twenty years, but remained vegetative. Its roots continued to give out rootsuckers, whereas no rootsuckers developed on Pyrus pyrifolia roots. Hence it has been identified as root suckers of oriental pear Pyrus calleryana. Old pear orchards produce root-suckers. The root-suckers are uprooted during September or October. These are planted in the nursery beds for grafting. Only the established suckers are grafted with desired cultivar during December and January. Plants get ready to transplanting in the field within a year. The root-suckers develop a double tier root system. One, feeder roots develop in the upper 15-25 cms of soil depth and second, lower at 50-60 cms depth. Very stable rootstock for plain. The plants produced on this rootstock are semi-vigorous.
Pyrus pashia (Kainth):
The fruits are harvested in October. Seeds are extracted immediately and are sown directly in beds without any treatment. Seeds germinate within a week and become budable in April or may be grafted in December-January. Kainth cuttings can also be used as a rootstock for achieving the uniformity in a rootstock. For this cuttings are prepared during December and treated with 100 ppm of IBA solution for 24 hours and then planted for rooting. Over 90% cuttings root. The shoots can be budded in April-May or grafted in December. Kainth forms a vigorous rootstock for all the pear cultivars. Kainth roots also do not give out suckers. Its plants only produce collar suckers, which should be removed.
Pyrus serotina (Shiara):
It is very important rootstock for pear in hilly areas. Fruits are larger in size than kainth. The seeds are extracted from fruits in the same way as in kainth. The seeds are bolder than kainth. Plants propagated on this rootstock are as vigorous as in kainth. Seedlings are healthier than kainth.
Pyrus calleryana (D6):
The rootstock is commonly used in Australia. It is also a vigorous rootstock for pears. The tree growth is similar to kainth. The foliage also resembles like kainth.
Cydonia oblonga (Beedana):
This is a dwarfing rootstock for pears. In a trial at fruit research station Gangian of the P.A.U. the Patharnakh and soft pears propagated on quince died within 7-8 years of age. The bud union configuration bulged out and partition developed between scion and rootstock in xylem wood. It is compatible with high chilling requiring pear cultivars viz. Anjou, Old Home, Hardy and Flemish Beauty. Rootstock can be raised both through seeds and cuttings. Quince roots are resistant to pear root aplids and nematodes. Some Quince strains which are compatible to low chilling requiring soft pears should be tried.
Pathamakh (Pyrus pyrifolia):
Patharnakh cuttings root well. The own rooted cuttings produce precocious plants. Patharnakh form a good rootstock for soft pears. There are no root-suckers originate from the roots. Rooting of cuttings can easily be promoted by dipping cuttings in 100 ppm IBA solution for 24 hours before planting in the beds in December. Sprouted patharnakh cuttings can be budded in April-May or grafted in December. Own rooted plants of Patharnakh should not be planted since the vigorous trees are prone to tree felling during rainy season. Cuttings are good rootstock for semi soft pears due to semi vigorous plants.
- REJUVENATION/TOP WORKING
Old pear orchards which have ceased to bear optimum fruit can be rejuvenated. The inferior quality bearing fruit trees can be top worked with the superior scion. Method: Head back the 4-6 well spaced scaffolds to keep 30 cm long stubs during December. Completely remove rest of the branches as well as scaffolds. Apply Bordeaux paint on the cuts. Care should be taken while heading back that bark on the stubs should not get damaged. Many sprout emerge on these selected stubs, during February-March. Keep out growing two sprouts on each stub. Thus there will be 8-12 branches. The rejuvenated trees again come into bearing within 3-4 years of rejuvenation and shall bear for another 15-20 years profusely. For top working the sprouts on the stubs should be T-budded during April-May with an appropriate pear cultivar. The rest of the sprouts may be removed. The buds sprout within a month. Unsuccessful buds can be grafted during December. Only sprouts of new cultivar should be kept rest of the sprouts should be removed to encourage the fast growth of propagated shoots.
Prepare the pits before hand as described under layout and planting of orchards. The number required for planting on hectare of patharnakh is 169 and soft pear 272. These plants plus five percent extra should be booked with a reliable nursery in advance. Check the pear plants beforehand. Plants should be straight, without any bend. The graft union should be smooth, without any plastic rings. The plants should not be older than two years and should be without spurs. The height of plants may be between one meter to one and half meter. There should be only vegetative buds present on the main axis. Insure that while lifting the plants from nursery soil all the roots have been dugged out. Head back the plants to 90 cm of height before planting in the field during December-January. Place the plants in the prepared pits so as to adjust whole root system in the pit and press from all sides. Apply irrigation soon after the actual planting. Pear plants can also be trained in the nursery for three years near the planting site. Since pears have long juverule period and take time for the plants fill whole of the space provided hence, these can be kept in the nursery. For this purpose, plant the pear plants at 1.5 m X 1.5 m apart. Train the plants there as per modified leader system of training. For final planting lift full root system without causing any injury to the root system and branches during December. Plant these plants in the prepared pits so as to adjust full root system in the pits at a desired depth. The vegetative branches may be given a little pruning that plants may not tilt after irrigation is applied.
- CARE OF YOUNG PLANTES AFTER PLANTING
Prepare the basins around the newly planted plants. Keep soil level little higher around the trunks, so that irrigation water should not stagnate near the trunks. Some plants after irrigation can tilt, straighten these at the same time. Apply 2-3 irrigations at 10 days interval. As son as temperature rise in March-April the irrigation interval may be reduced to 7 days. During rainy season, adjust the irrigation accordingly. No irrigation is required during dormancy (December-January). It is certain that white ants will attack the young newly-planted plants. To have a check on white ants, apply chloropyriphos @ 10 ml/L of water, to the roots near the trunks. One litre of this solution may be applied to each plant at a months of interval from March to June. This practice needs to be carried out at least once every year in August or September. Increase the quantity of chloropyriphos solution to three litres at 4-5 years of age of the plant. No shoots should be allowed to sprout from the ground level to 60 cms of the trunk height. White wash the trunks up to 30 cms to save it from sun burning. Keep the pests and diseases under control.
- MANURING & IRRIGATION
Pear need nutrition for the formation of spurs on the vegetative shoots and for flavoring and fruiting later on. Trees produce heavy crops and can remove 25 kg of N, 10 kg of P, 40 kg of K and 40 kg of lime. The foliage drops during dormancy also add some nutrition. Nitrogen should not be applied in excess as profuse vegetative growth can invite twig die back. Pear usually show- iron and zinc deficiencies during summers, which should be taken care of by spraying ferrous sulphate @ 2g/L or zinc sulphate @ 2g/L respectively. The pear may be applied following doses of manures and fertilizers for getting high returns from the orchards. Age of Tree F.Y.M. Urea 46% Superphosphate Muriate of Potash (Years) /(Kg.)/ (gm) 16% (gm)/ 60% Kp (gm) 1 – 3/ 10-20, 50 – 150, 100 – 300, 50 – 150, 4-6/ 25 – 35, 200 – 300 400 – 600, 200 – 300, 7-9/ 40-50, 350 – 450 700 – 900, 350 – 450, 10/ 50, 500 1000, 500, and above Method of Application: It is very important to know the method of application. Growers usually hand over the fertilizers to their workers and they just spread it according to their ease near the tree trunks, which is damaging. The farm yard manure should be well rotten. Mix farm yard manure, super phosphate and muriate of potash and add by uniformly spreading in the tree basins in December- January. For the first five years of the age of the plant, the quantity of urea to be applied may be divided into three equal parts. Apply each part in April, June and August. Mix the fertilizers well with soil in the plant basins and apply light irrigation. To the bearing plants apply farm yard manure, super phosphate and potash during December. But urea may be divided into two halves. Apply first half in February and second in April after the fruit set. The dose of this half can further be reduced if the fruit set is less. Sometimes few trees may not bear at all or bear very little fruit. In such a situation the April dose may not be applied to these trees. These situations do arise in soft pears. To get more advantage from the inorganic fertilizers, green manuring with leguminous crop should be done after every alternate year.
((Deficiency of Essential Elements))
Pear orchards irrigated with slug water from cities usually show deficiencies of Manganese, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron. The deficiency symptoms resemble that of citrus leaves. Leaf analysis can be got done from a nearest laboratory. However, after identification of the deficient element, the trees may be sprayed with that element. For leaf analysis collect leaf samples at the height of 2.0-2.5 metres. Take 7-8 leaves from mid shoots from all sides of the tree, totaling 50-60 leaves per tree. Wash the leaves immediately place under fan. Put these leaves in respective envelops by fully labelling, transport the samples to the laboratory. [Leaf Composition of Pear in a Healthy Orchard] N%- P%- K%- Mn Ppm- Zn Ppm- Fe Ppm- Cu ppm 1.80 – 2.00, 0.18 – 0.20, 1.60 – 1.80, 75, 35, 90, 17 Patharnakh propagated through cuttings can show yellowing of leaves during summers. Such trees of on light soils show severe leaf chlorosis leading to tip burning of shoots and finally bark shreding of the branch. The chlorosis can be checked by spraying micronutrients like manganese sulphate. Ferrous sulphate. Zinc sulphate @ 2g/L of water during summers. In orchards where Bordeaux mixture is sprayed at dormancy and again in June, the copper deficiency cannot exist.
Pear should only be grown where assured irrigation facility is available. Pear need frequent and light irrigations from March to June. Pear flowers in February and fruits grow during summer months, hence dire need of sufficient moisture. During second phase of growth of the fruits 15 Jime-15 July, there is huge requirement of water for the trees. If the rain is not there orchards may be irrigated by supplying sufficient irrigation. Make segments of 5-6 plants instead of making bigger segments of an acre or so. Larger segments need heavy irrigation, which may invite root rot. Saving of labour for making small segments at the cost of loosing trees is no management. Orchards which were not provided with sufficient irrigation had stunted growth of pear trees, but were free from root rot. After the fruit harvest, the interval of irrigation may be increased to be month up to November. The making of pullies/galleries of earth on the tree trunks and scaffolds is good indication of white ant attack, which normally is seen in September and October months. Check this attack by applying chloropyriphos @ 10 ml/L. of water.
- TRAINING & PRUNING
It is very necessary to give proper training to the pear plants. Pear tree with strong scaffold system bear heavy crop for long periods, without any limb breakage. Pear should be trained on modified leader system of training.
In the first year, no sprout should be allowed to come up on the trunks upto the height of 50-60 cms from ground level. Head back the plant at 90 cm height.
Top most bud sprout shall become the leader. Select 3-4 outgrowing well spaced branches on the main trunk. No shoot should be one above other less than 15 cm. continue to select shoots on the leader also, by heading it back at 50-55 cms of its height. Now the total height of the plant shall be in between 1.40 m to 1.55 m. There should be 6-8 scaffolds on the whole tree. These scaffolds may be bent downward for encouraging the sprouting of a number of secondaries. Bending can be done by tieing a ‘seba’ with a small peg in the ground or with the trunk of the same plant. Bend the shoot gently so that shoot may not break.
Secondary branches on the main scaffolds may be headed back to appropriate lengths, so as to promote the sprouting of buds for tertiaries
Fourth Year and Fifth Year:
Unwanted secondaries/ tertiaries should be removed. Leader if not cut earlier should be headed back to appropriate length. No training is required after developing the desired scaffold system. Pruning: After developing the scaffolds no pruning is done. Due to heavy bearing, if supports are not provided to the bearing limbs, the branches can break. Hence, during every December broken limbs/shots should be removed. Any new shoot emerging in between the main scaffolds should also be removed. While pruning care should be taken regarding pulling of cut branches to avoid spur breakage.
- WEED CONTROL
Pear orchards are infested with both annual and perennial weeds. Most common weeds are baru grass, Dabh grass, Maina and Bathu, some climbers, etc. Pear trees become a resting place for birds after the fruit harvest, hence some tree weeds become a great hazard, which grow underneath the pear trees. Manual hoeing is very useful to the trees. Weeds are removed by hoeing at the time of addition of manures in December and later on. These hoeings are sufficient to check weeds in the plant basinns. However, the weeds growing in the vacant places can be controlled by using chemicals. Gramoxone is an excellent weedicide to check seeding in weeds. It can be sprayed upto tree trunks. Spray the weeds with Gramoxone (orthoparaquat dichloride 24%) @ 6-7 ml/L of water in end February or early March. Weeds shall dry up and seed shall not form. However, some weeds grow not through other means than seed are not eradicated with this chemical. For these weeds spray round up Glyphosate N (Phosphono-t methyl), Glycel 41 SL. @ 10 ml/L. of water. This weedicide percolate down to the root zone and effectively kill the weeds. It should be sprayed only when weeds have attained good vegetative growth. Glyphosate should not be sprayed near the tree trunks. Better leave the basins unsprayed. Parthenium which cannot be killed with round up should be sprayed repeatedly with Gramoxone or Spray NaCl (common salt) @ 20 percent at full growth. To check the emergence of weeds in the vacant place spray the area with Haxuron 80 WP (Diuron) @ 8 ml/L of water. Before spray orchard may be ploughed with light tillers/ rotavator.
Due to long juvenile period in pear, growing of inter crops in necessary for the grower. Only those crops should be grown which adjust to the growth behaviour of pear.
Vegetables can successfully be grown. Avoid growing of potatoes. Pulses like moong, mash, massar grams and peas can also be grown. Do not grow fodders like Jowar, Maize or Berseem. Some plants, e.g. peach, plum can be planted as fillers in pear orchards.
Growing of Rabi season crops should be avoided. Vegetables as radish, carrots and cauliflowers can be grown. Toria is a good crop which adjust well with pear.
Pear should be harvested at full maturity. Immature fruits on harvesting get shrivelled. Patharnakh takes 145 days to mature from full bloom. Soft pears take 135 days to mature. At maturity green colour of the fruit changes to light yellowish green, firmness decreases. TSS of the juice reaches 9-10 percent. Optimum harvesting time for Patharnakh in North India is end July. Similarly for soft pears it is August. Care should be taken while harvesting the fruit. Gently pick the fniit upward, give a little twist and thumb press the pedicel at the point of attachment with the spur. Spurs should not be injured during fruit harvesting. A spur can bear fruit for 10-15 years. The broken spurs do not bear fruit for 3-4 years. Fruit pedicels also should not break from the centre. Either there should be full stalk or there should be no stalk with the fruit. Harvesting should be done with the help of ladders. Trees should not be shaken for fruit harvesting.
14.POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT
Grading and Packing: Harvested fruits should be kept under shade in an airy ‘Varandah.’ Fruits should not be wet at the time of packing. For sending the fruit to a distant market it should be packed properly in wooden boxes. A box may contain 17-18 kg of fruit. Place the fruits in layers in the boxes by placing some grass/rice trash at the bottom and at the top and cover it with paper before closing the box with its hd. Packed boxes are transported by trucks. Grade the fruits before packing. Marketing: Different grades of the fruits are auctioned separately in the big markets. However, in the local market contractors sell fruits in gunny bags or in open crates. Some intelligent owners market their own crop themselves. They earn handsome income through this venture. They just earn double what contractor offer to them. Post-harvest Handling: Properly graded and packed fruits in wooden or card board boxes can be stored at 0 to 3°C with RH 85 to 90 percent. Pear can be stored in controlled atmosphere at 0-l°C with 1-2% O^ and 0.5% CO2 for two months. A practice adopted by middle men at Delhi market is worth to mention. They send pear boxes alternately packed with mango boxes in trucks. They say both mango and pear get benefited. Pear develops a very good colour by absorbing ethylene produced by mangoes, and mango do not rot. Pears should not be stored for long periods to save their competition with early apple coming to market. Pears should be stored for 20-30 days to tide over the glut period.