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Ayers Pear Tree

Pyrus communis ‘Ayres’

Ayers Pear Tree

Pyrus communis ‘Ayres’

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How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

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The Ayers Pear Tree is without doubt the ‘pear of the South’, combining excellent fruit quality with a very short chilling requirement and high resistance to fire blight disease. It grows well from zone 6 southwards, and produces a heavy crop of medium-sized pears that ripen from mid-August into September. The round fruit has a short neck and yellow skin, with a red blush when ripe. The flesh is sweet, juicy and free of grit, making it excellent for eating, and also for salads and the kitchen.

  • Top pick pear variety for warm zones
  • Ripens in August and September
  • Excellent quality for eating and cooking
  • High resistance to fire blight disease
  • Attractive white and pink spring flowers

Grow the Ayers Pear Tree in full sun for best ripening, and in rich but well-drained soil. It is highly resistant to the deadly disease called fire blight, and other pests or diseases are rarely serious problems. Prune as needed in summer, keeping an open tree form, or growing spread out as an espalier on a south-facing wall. For good quality fruit don’t allow the tree to be dry for too long.

Plant Hardiness Zones 6-9
Mature Width 12-15
Mature Height 12-15
Soil Conditions Well-Drained Soil
Sunlight Full Sun
Drought Tolerance Moderate Drought Tolerance
Zones 6-9

Most everyone loves fresh pears, and this versatile fruit is delicious eaten fresh, served in salads, poached as a simple dessert, or turned into pies and baked goods. Most varieties come from Europe – the French are big pear connoisseurs – and do best in mild but cool climates. So if you live in the southeast and want to grow a pear tree – and who wouldn’t? – you need to choose your variety carefully. Luckily you don’t have to go far down the list, because right there in the A’s is your best choice – the Ayers Pear Tree. Specially bred in the middle of last century, this tree has stood the test of time and consistently proved itself to be perfect for hot summers, and to grow well in all but the coldest parts of the country. The large fruits are round and heavy, with a short neck and an attractive blush when ripe. The flesh is free of that crunchy pear grit, so it’s delicious fresh, but equally delicious cooked. Most important of all, the tree is very disease resistant, so it isn’t going to suddenly drop dead on you – always a good thing. Now read on. . .

Growing the Ayers Pear Tree

Size and Appearance

The Ayers Pear Tree is a vigorous, upright small deciduous tree that will grow between 12 and 15 feet tall and wide, depending on how you prune and train it. The leaves are ovals with a pointed tip and a serrated edge, and an attractive dark green with some glossiness. The bark and branches become a rugged gray-brown and even a bare tree in winter has interesting character. In the second half of March, the flowers will open, and they are white with some pink overtones on the back of the petals, making a pretty display. This variety is partially self-fertile, so a single tree will carry a good crop. It takes about 3 years for your tree to bear a significant crop, but a mature tree will produce 10 or even 15 bushels of pears. For the heaviest crop a suitable second pollinating tree is needed, planted within 50 feet. Varieties like Moonglow, Orient and Bartlett are all excellent pears and will pollinate the Ayers Pear Tree – and of course vice versa.

The fruits ripens from mid-August into September, and they are fat and round, almost 3 inches across, with a short neck. The skin is mottled yellow, with a red blush on one side appearing when they are nearly ripe. It is best to pick pears shortly before they fully ripen, as ripe pears tend to drop to the ground and bruise. Place them indoors for a few days and they will ripen to perfection. The flesh is very sweet and free of grit cells, so it is delicious for eating fresh or slicing in a salad (pass the blue cheese!). This pear also poaches well, and of course it can be baked into delicious pies, pastries, and baked goods.

Using the Ayers Pear Tree in Your Garden

Its compact size and attractive blooms makes this tree appropriate in the garden – you don’t need an orchard. Laden with fruit it is a beautiful sight. In zone 6 especially it will grow to perfection when grown against a south-facing wall as an espalier. This is also an excellent way to grow it if you have a small garden, as spread out against a wall it takes up almost no room.

Hardiness

The Ayers Pear Tree needs no more than 350 chilling hours per year (temperatures below 45 degrees), so it grows well even in cooler parts of zone 9. It is also hardy into zone 6. This tree is widely described as the perfect pear for the South.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Grow the Ayers Pear Tree in full sun for the best growth, and to ripen the crop successfully. It grows best in rich, deep, well-drained soils, but it will in practice grow in just about any well-drained soil, including both acid and alkaline soils.

Maintenance and Pruning

The important thing when growing a pear tree is to avoid fire-blight, a very serious and often fatal disease that has decimated pear orchards around the world. It is always most severe in areas with wet springs, but don’t worry. The Ayers Pear Tree was bred to give it excellent resistance to this disease, so it is unlikely to ever be affected. Still, avoid pruning in spring, as fresh cuts can become infected. Prune in summer as needed to develop the tree you want. Thin fruits to one per cluster when the tiny pears are about the size of a quarter. This will give you large, high-quality pears, rather than a crop of tiny, inferior fruit.

History and Origin of the Ayers Pear Tree

The pear tree, Pyrus communis, is native to warmer parts of Europe, and it is there that most varieties were created. The Tennessee Agricultural Experimental Station, Knoxville, was founded in 1883, as part of the University of Tennessee, dedicated to developing plant varieties adapted to the state’s climate. In 1937 breeders at the station began with an unusual pear called ‘Garber’. That pear was created in the late 1830s by the fruit breeder Jacob Garber in Pennsylvania. He crossed an Asian Pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) called ‘Sha Lea’ with an unknown European pear. One of the seedlings was a pear shaped like an apple, and with a crisp flavor. Nicknamed the Apple Pear, it grows well in Texas and the south, and was popular for cooking, although its gritty texture made it less popular for eating. The breeders in Tennessee used pollen from a French pear variety called ‘Beurré d’Anjou’ on ‘Garber’ and among the seedlings was one they named ‘Ayres’, after the 12th president of the University. In the 1950s the Experimental Station was testing pears for resistance to fire blight, and discovered that the Ayres Pear had excellent resistance, so it was officially released in 1954. Somehow the spelling changed, and today everyone calls it the Ayers Pear Tree.

Buying the Ayers Pear Tree at the Tree Center

Planting the right variety for your location, and the needs of your home, is vital for success in producing home fruit. If the Ayers Pear Tree seems right for you, order now, because our limited supply will not last long.

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Ayers Pear Tree

Pyrus communis ‘Ayres’