Starkrimson Tree Care – How To Grow Starkrimson Pear Trees

By: Mary Ellen Ellis

Pears are delightful to eat, but the trees are lovely to have in the garden as well. Consider growing Starkrimson pears to enjoy the tree and the fruit too, which are juicy, mildly sweet, and have a pleasing floral aroma.

Starkrimson Pear Info

The origin of the Starkrimson pear variety was simply a fluke. It occurred as what is known in fruit growing as a sport. It was the result of a spontaneous mutation and was discovered on a tree in Missouri. Growers found one branch of red pears on a tree that typically has green pears. The new variety was given the name Starkrimson for its stunning, rich red color and for the nursery that patented it, Stark Brothers.

Starkrimson pear trees grow a truly tasty fruit. The pears start out deep red and brighten as they ripen. The flesh is sweet and mild, juicy, and gives off the scent of flowers. They taste best when fully ripe, which occurs as early as August and should continue for several weeks. The best use for Starkrimson pears is fresh eating.

How to Grow Starkrimson Pears

To grow a Starkrimson pear tree in your yard, be sure you have another variety nearby. Starkrimson trees are self-sterile, so they do need another tree for pollination and to set fruit.

Pear trees of all types need full sun and plenty of room to grow out and up without getting crowded. The soil should drain well and not collect standing water.

With the tree in the ground, water it regularly for the first growing season to help it establish roots. Occasional watering is needed in subsequent years only if there is not enough rainfall. Once established, Starkrimson tree care requires just a little effort.

Pruning each year before spring growth emerges is important to keep the tree healthy and to encourage new growth and a good form. If you cannot harvest all of the pears, fall cleanup of fruit may be necessary too.

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Space Needed to Grow Pears

The space you have to grow a pear tree will determine the form of the tree. Pears can be trained in many of the ways as apples. European pears are commonly trained to a central leader (shaped like a Christmas tree) or modified central leader form. Asian pears are usually trained to an open center (shaped like a vase). Here are pear tree forms and the space they require:

Standard-size pear tree can grow to 40 feet tall if not pruned and have a spread of 30 to 40 feet. Standard pears are commonly pruned from 15 to 25 feet tall with an equal spread. Plant standard pear trees 18 to 25 feet apart. Standard pears fruit in 4 to 8 years and can live for 75 years. Standard-size pear trees are not commonly planted in home gardens. Mostly they are planted in commercial orchards.

Semi-Dwarf pear tree will grow to 25 feet tall if not pruned and will grow as wide. Semi-dwarf pears are commonly pruned from 12 to 15 feet tall with an equal spread. Semi-dwarf pears bear fruit in 3 to 5 years and can live to 60 years old. These trees can be pruned to a central leader (a single main shoot rising from the trunk) or several leaders–sometimes pruned to a cup shape. Semi-dwarf trees are usually grafted trees a shoot (called scion) taken from a pear variety (which transmits the fruiting qualities of the variety) is grafted on to a particular rootstock (to provide vigor to the grafted scion) which determines the size of the tree.

Cordon pear trees are pruned to about 30 inches tall. A cordon is commonly a dwarf pear tree whose growth is trained to a single main stem or leader (called cordon) or multiple leaders (called double “U” cordon with two vertical leaders, or multiple cordons with three or four vertical leaders) the leaders are trained upright or oblique. Cordons are suited for small spaces as the tree is trained to a horizontal plane rather than allowed to form a bush or tree.

Cordons produce fruit on short side shoots. Cordons must be pruned regularly during the growing season to keep their shape and size. The leaders on these trees are commonly trained at an angle of 45 degrees by being tied to two wires stretched at heights of about 2½ and 5 feet between posts rising 7 feet out of the ground and placed at 10-foot intervals. Cordon pear trees should be planted at a distance 1½ to 3 feet apart in rows 6 to 10 feet apart. Cordon trees are usually planted at about one year old.

Espalier pear trees. Standard and dwarf pear tree varieties can be grown as espaliers–usually kept to 8 or 9 feet tall by pruning. An espalier pear is trained with a central vertical trunk or leader and two or three tiers of horizontal branches or arms trained to radiate to the left and right of the central leader. Espaliers are commonly trained to horizontal wires stretched 24 inches apart. Espaliers, like cordons, are good for small spaces. Plant pear trees for espalier 12 to 15 feet apart. Espalier pear trees are usually planted when three to four years old.

Fans or palmettes are pear trees trained to a small height on wires. These trees can be shaped as a pyramid or triangle, a fan–usually with two main leaders or ribs radiating from a short trunk with sub laterals forming a fan shape, or palmettes, a cross between an espalier and a fan with a central leader and arms radiating at angles rather than horizontally–shaped similar to an open palm. Similar to cordons or espaliers but smaller, these trees require less maintenance. Pyramids, fans, and palmettes commonly grow to about 5 feet tall on horizontal wires 18 inches and 3 feet above the ground. These forms can be planted 3 ½ to 5 feet apart in rows 7 to 10 feet apart. The plants are usually planted when 3 to 4 years old.

Stepovers are knee-high, single, horizontal cordons bent at right angles close to the ground. These low horizontal trees can be used in small gardens as decorative borders. Stepovers are trained just as cordons only lower.

Size of a pear tree

The size of a pear tree is determined by its rootstock. Pear trees are commonly grafted onto quince or specially developed rootstock. A grafted tree combines a rootstock and a shoot (called scion) taken from a fruiting pear variety. The scion transmits the fruiting qualities of the variety and the rootstock provides vigor and determines the size of the tree. Unlike apple trees, no fully dwarfing rootstocks are available for pears. Pear trees are either standard size (about 20 to 40 feet tall) or semi-dwarf (about 12 to 20 feet tall).

Starkrimson Pear Info: Growing Starkrimson Pears In The Landscape - garden

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Wairere Nursery
826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email:

Watch the video: EarthWise: Episode Ten - Grafting 101, How to Graft a Pear Tree

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