Shinko Asian PearPyrus pyrifolia ‘Shinko’
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Pyrus pyrifolia ‘Shinko’
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The Shinko Asian Pear is a top-quality variety of these delicious fruits, which combines the crunch and tang of apples with the sweetness and floral perfume of pears. The apple-shaped fruits have a russet skin and white flesh, and ripen on the tree to perfection. Once harvested they can be stored for 3 months in the fridge, so nothing gets wasted. Much easier to grow than European pears, it makes an attractive small tree around 15 feet tall, with profuse spring blooms of creamy-white and red fall leaves.
Full sun gives the best results with the Shinko Asian Pear. It grows best in richer, well-drained soils, so use compost to enrich the soil, and as mulch. It has good resistance to fire-blight that so easily kills other pear trees, and it is much tougher and easier to grow. Prune to develop an open form that ripens the fruit best, and plant a second, different variety of Asian pear to act as a pollinator.
If you love the complex and fragrant flavors of pears, but also the crunch of a good apple, then Asian pears are for you. Still relatively new in our markets, and always at premium prices, these delicious and unique fruits have everything going for them. It might come as a surprise, but they are also very easy to grow at home – not at all difficult and disease-prone the way European pear trees are. They are resistant to the scourge of fire-blight, so they grow well in ordinary gardens, and you can be harvesting big crops within a few years. Growing your own fruit is intensely satisfying – and financially rewarding too, with big savings that put the freshest of fresh fruit on your family’s table. The Shinko Asian Pear is a classic Japanese variety that is rarely available, but highly-prized, with a perfect balance of flavors – sweet and floral, but still with a tang and a satisfying crunch when you bite into it. As well, they store easily for 3 months or even more, and they are great for salads, baking and for drying into tasty pear slices for snacking. Treat yourself and your family, and start growing Asian pears – you won’t believe how rewarding it is.
The Shinko Asian Pear is a medium-sized deciduous tree that typically grows to around 15 feet tall, but can be a little smaller or even a bit bigger. It has a spreading crown around 10 or 12 feet wide. The broad oval leaves have a bronzy tone when they are young, quickly turning a deep and healthy dark green. Fall leaves are often bright red, which adds to the decorative qualities of this tree. In spring the branches are decorated with clusters of creamy-white flowers that are richly-fragrant and attractive to bees and other pollinators. The new leaves begin to appear as the flowers mature, and they soon hide the tiny pears that quickly develop, until they become too large to remain hidden. The fruits are medium-large, usually 3 to 4 inches in diameter, and shaped like an apple, not a pear. The skin is beige, with many tiny near-white spots on it, looking like a russet apple. You can eat the skin, or peel it – your choice. The flesh is white and moist, with a firm, crunchy texture and a delicious floral/butterscotch flavor you will adore. There is just enough acidity to keep it from being bland and over-sweet.
Use the fruit to eat fresh, or add to salads. Bake them into muffins, and for tarts and pies they are especially good, because the slices hold their shape and don’t become mushy. They can also be dried into long-lasting tasty slices. Fruits ripen on the tree, and are ready to harvest when the skin turns from green to yellow. This is usually in September, but your local climate may cause that to vary. These fruits can be kept for up to 3 months simply by storing them in the crisper of your fridge. You won’t be trying to get rid of a ‘fruit glut’ when you grow this pear – you will be able to eat them all.
This compact tree is easily attractive enough to grow on your lawn – you don’t need an orchard. Plant it wherever you would grow a decorative tree, and enjoy watching it change through the seasons. Like almost all Asian pears, the Shinko Asian Pear needs a second tree to act as a pollinator, otherwise it will produce no more than a handful of fruit. European pears don’t work, as they bloom too early, so grow another variety of Asian pear, such as ‘Chojuro’, or a hybrid like ‘Orient’ or ‘Pineapple’. Since these trees are quite small, it’s easy to fit a second tree into your garden – and that means more fruit to enjoy or share.
The Shinko Asian Pear grows in all moderate climates, from zone 5 to zone 8, without trouble. It is not as demanding for climate as European varieties.
Grow your Shinko Asian Pear in full sun for the best results. It grows best in more fertile soils that are well-drained. Enrich the soil when planting, and cover the root-zone with a rich organic mulch like garden compost. Keep grass and weeds away from around it and water deeply during extended dry spells.
Although you might encounter some minor pests, this tree is resistant to serious diseases. Prune in late winter and develop an open, spreading crown, removing crowded branches and shortening side-shoots. Once the pears are developing it is best to thin out the crop, leaving one or two fruits at each cluster. Otherwise you will have a heavy crop of tiny fruits with little flesh, rather than big juicy pears.
The Asian pear, or sand pear, Pyrus pyrifolia, has been grown in Japan for 2,000 years, but it was only in the late 19th century that growing outside home gardens began. Among the first-named varieties were Chojuro and Nijisseiki. Government research stations bred varieties in the 20th century, and in 1941, in Okayama, breeders crossed Nijisseiki with a variety called Amanogawa. A great new variety was the result, which was called Shinko. Although considered a top variety for flavor, it is still mostly grown on a smaller scale in Japan, and rare in America outside of specialist markets.
If you haven’t tried growing your own fruit, the Shinko Asian Pear is a great place to start. You will love the combination of crunch and fragrant pear flavor, how long you can store them, and how easy and disease-free the tree is to grow. Order now, because this highly desirable variety is always in short supply, and sells out fast.