Bartlett Pear Information – How To Care For Bartlett Pear Tree

Yellow Bartlett Pear
(Image credit: Mary Prentice)

Bartletts are considered the classic pear tree in the United States. They are also the most popular type of pear in the world, with their large, sweet, green-yellow fruit. Growing Bartlett pears in your home orchard will give you a continual supply of this delicious fruit. For Bartlett pear information plus tips on how to care for a Bartlett pear tree, read on.

Bartlett Pear Information

Bartlett pears aren’t just popular in this country, they are also a favorite pear in Britain. Not by the same name, though. In England, Bartlett pear trees are called Williams pear trees and the fruit are called Williams pears. According to Bartlett pear information, that name was given to the pears much earlier than Bartlett. After the pears were developed in England, the variety came into the control of a nurseryman named Williams. He sold it around Britain as the Williams pear. Sometime around 1800, several Williams trees were brought into the United States. A man named Bartlett propagated the trees and sold them as Bartlett pear trees. The fruit were called Bartlett pears and the name stuck, even when the error was discovered.

Growing Bartlett Pears

Growing Bartlett pears is big business in the United States. For example, in California, 75 percent of all pears grown commercially are from Bartlett pear trees. Gardeners also enjoy growing Bartlett pears in home orchards. Bartlett pear trees typically grow to about 20 feet (6 m.) tall and 13 feet (4 m.) wide, although dwarf varieties are available. The trees require full sun, so pick a location with at least six hours a day of direct sun if you are growing Bartlett pears. How to care for Bartlett pears? You’ll need to provide Bartlett pear trees a site with deep, moist and well-draining soil. It should be slightly acidic. Regular irrigation is also an essential part of care for Bartlett pears since the trees don’t tolerate drought. You’ll also need to plant a compatible pear species nearby for pollination, like Stark, Starking, Beurre Bosc, or Moonglow.

Bartlett Pear Harvesting

Bartlett pears are unique in that they lighten in color as they mature. On the tree, the pears are green, but they turn yellow as they ripen. Green pears are crisp and crunchy, but they grow soft and sweet as they turn yellow. Bartlett pear harvesting doesn’t occur after the pears are ripe. Instead, you should harvest the fruit when it is mature but not ripe. That allows the pears to ripen off the tree and makes for smoother, sweeter fruit. The timing of Bartlett pear harvesting varies depending on where you live. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, the pears are harvested in late August or early September.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.