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Hosui Pear tree

Hosui Pear

(Pyrus pyrifolia)

 

Hosui Pear tree overview: 

The Hosui Pear tree is a relatively new Asian pear tree that is both beautiful and delicious.

 

Hosui Pear

Ripe Hosui Pear

Hosui Pear fruit appearance:

The Hosui Pear skin is greenish when unripe.  The pear skin turns a lovely bronze-golden-rusted color when ripe and ready to pick.    The ripe skin also looks almost translucent.  The fruit is medium to large in size compared to other Asian pears or apples.  The round shape looks more like an apple but it is still a pear despite the lake of a “pear” shape.

 

Fruit taste: 

  • In general, Asian pears are really wonderful.  Although their genetic lineage is all pear, they do taste like a cross between an apple and a pear.
  • More specifically, of the Asian pears, the Hosui is a consistent taste test winner.  Many people say it is the best flavored of all the Asian pears.
  • Hosui are mildly sweet, lightly tart and crisp.  It is also surprisingly juicy with distinct pear overtones.
  • Unlike European pears, the Asian pears ripen on the tree.  Therefore, you should not pick them early and there is no need for storage in a brown bag before you eat them.

 

Hosui Asian Pear cut

The greenish fruit (back left) is a bit unripe and the bronze colored fruit (back right) is perfect.

Fruit season: 

  • Hosui Pears ripen around the month of August.  Hosui Pear fruit hold well on the tree for many weeks after it is first ripe.
  • Multiple sources state that Hosui are self-fruitful.  That being said, all Asian pears seem benefit from pollination by a second variety of pear (usually another Asian pear because European pears often flower at a different time).   A few specific/recommended Hosui pollination companions that I have read about include, 20th Century, Chojuro, Shinko, Shinseiki and Olympic.
  • The tree produces fruit at an early age.  The Hosui Pear fruit in the photos are from a tree that I planted 8 months earlier.

 

Landscaping use:  

The Hosui is beautiful deciduous tree with a columnar growth habit.     It’s also a vigorous tree which grow to be about 10 to 15 feet in height.  However, that height can be kept to half that size with pruning.  Asian pears are also available on dwarfing and semi-dwarfing root stock.

 

Yearly Hosui Pear tree care:

  • Pruning is an important part of your yearly tree care.  Cut out dead or diseased branches anytime.  Otherwise wait until winter to prune crossing or closely parallel branches.  Apparently fruiting is heaviest on 2-6 year old branches so strategic pruning will boost harvest.
  • Similar to stone fruit (peaches) Asian pears may require heavy thinning of the young fruit to obtain optimal fruit size.

 

Soil: 

They do very well in deep, rich organic soil.   However, I have also read that Asian Pears do better than most fruit trees on heavy-clay soil.  However, the soil must be well draining.

Click here to see my 6/9/13 post on the best planting technique to avoid transplantation shock. 

 

Water: 

Regular irrigation.  My Hosui Pear tree is on the citrus watering schedule and it seems to be working out just fine.

 

Sun:

Full

 

Fertilization: 

Asian pears don’t seem to need that much fertilizer.   I have given mine a half citrus dose of a balanced fertilizer in the spring.  Some suggest 5-10-10 as an alternative fertilizer option, but I doubt this makes any difference.

 

Temp:  

The Hosui Pear tree has a very low chilling requirement of 450 chill hours.   This makes it perfect for Southern California.

(Chilling time = total hours per winter below 45 degrees).

 

Pests

Fireblight:

  • In general Asian pears have a greater resistance to fireblight than European pears.  However, of the Asian pears Hosui is more susceptible to fireblight than most other Asian pears.   Fireblight causes limb die back.  If you see this, trim the diseased branches back to healthy wood.

Spider mites:

  • I have read that spider mites are prone to infest water stressed plants.  Treat spider mites by watering that thirsty tree.  Neem or sulfur also works.

Pseudomonas:

  • Pseudomonas syringae can be an issue in locations that are damp/wet in the spring.   Planting in well draining location will help to prevent this issue.

Codling moth:

  • Codling moth can be treated with spinosad if it’s a problem (see below).

Pear scab disease:

  • The Hosui is resistant to pear scab disease.

Pests update 8/21/13:

  • A fellow gardener recently asked about a worm infestation destroying his Asian pear crop.
  • I did some digging around and the Sunset book “Western Garden Book of Edibles” mentioned 2 potential culprits (I really like this book by the way).
    • The larva of the Codling moth and apple maggots can destroy the fruit of the Asian pear. I am not sure which bug is causing the worm problem for our fellow gardener without pictures, but it may not matter that much because both bugs can be successfully treated with spinosad spray.  There is also a pheromone trap for the Codling moth. The Phermone trap can be helpful to both reduce the numbers of moths and to determine the best time to spray for the bugs.
  • Additional information about the codling moth from the UC Davis IPM (Integrated Pest Management program)
    • It is also important to frequently check fruit on trees for signs of damage, beginning about six to eight weeks after bloom, so you can destroy any hole infested fruit and stop the life cycle.  Picking up dropped fruit from the ground is most critical in May and June.
    • They also described a method of bagging each fruit on the tree, which honestly seems like something I would never do, but is said to be very effective.

Food uses: 

The Hosui Pear fruit is really awesome fresh just out of hand, but the fruit also keeps well in the frig for weeks.   Hosui is great in salads.  Umm, Hosui Pear are great with cheese platters.

 

Misc:

The Hosui Pear tree was created in Japan in 1972 by crossing two other varieties of Asian pear (Kikusui x Yakumo) x Yakumo.   It arrived in California in 2004.

 

Useful products discussed in this article:

 

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.

3 comments

  1. I have worms inside my Pyrus pyrifolia. Close to 90% of the Pyrus pyrifolia have worms inside when you cut them in half. This is a shame and I have no clue what these are or how I can stop them in the future.
    Does anyone have any suggestions? I live in Southern California.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Wow Matt, what a bummer. Sorry to hear about your worm infestation.
      Did you get a good enough look at the buggers to describe them?
      Any distinguishing features to the infestation?
      T

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Matt
      I found some good information about your worm infestation. I just added an update with the information under the pest section of the Hosui Pear tree article. Please keep us updated on how things go and good luck. Thanks.

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