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Today is George Washington's birthday and, of course, I'm thinking about cherries. Actually President Washington had a very nice landscape at Mount Vernon. I visited a few years back and got a boxwood cutting from shrubs that were planted when he and Martha were in residence. But it's the cherry tree story that sticks with me. I can't imagine coming home and finding my cherry tree on the ground.

Few plants are as rewarding to grow as fruit trees and few gardening disappointments are as great as not getting any fruit on your fruit trees. I wish there was one easy solution, but there are several factors that can cause your fruit trees and berry bushes to either not set any fruit or devastate you by starting to set fruit and dropping it before it matures. The plant's age, pruning, sun exposure and vigor all factor in. Unfortunately, by the time you notice there's nothing there, it's too late to do anything about it. So start planning now, to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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February 22, 2009 at 5:06 am
(1) Garden Pictures says:

By now I would say, there´s not much you can do about it beside proper pruning and planting several varieties. There seem to be Apple years, plum years, pear years… Actually, more sensitive fruit trees like peaches or apricots can be better off in a less protected place – if they flower too early in spring tempted by more sunshine they are prone to get hit by late frost.

February 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm
(2) suveekay says:

The reason I never get to pick and eat my pears is that one day – always before the pears are ripe – the squirrels take EVERY PEAR off the trees and hide them.

February 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm
(3) Gardening Seeds says:

Thank you very much for the information I really appreciate it!! I found this useful site for Gardening Seeds

February 26, 2009 at 3:00 am
(4) Kleon Mimis says:

My Bartlett pear tree is always loaded with pears, but they are inedible. They are hard as a rock. Is there a specific time that they are picked? And why are they so hard?
Thank you, sincerely, Kleon Mimis

March 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm
(5) Marie Iannotti says:

Most pears ripen, but don’t soften on the trees. If you leave them on too long, they just get mealy.

You should pick Bartlett pears when they reach mature size, but before they start falling off the tree on their own. They’ll probably still be green,so it’s a little hard to judge for sure. But if you slightly twist the pear and the stem snaps, it’s time. If you have to really tug at it, it can probably use a couple more days.

They’ll still be hard, but about 4-5 days at room temperature, 65 to 75 degrees F., should soften them up to perfection.

August 21, 2009 at 7:08 am
(6) Mrs Allen says:

Hi, have to remove all my pears before they drop off – whats the best way to store them long term?

August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm
(7) gardening says:

Pears can be tricky, because they are usually picked before they are fully ripe and then allowed to ripen in storage. Fully ripe pears can become mealy when stored.

The whole process can be a little involved, so I’ll refer you to a really good fact sheet from Oregon State. Scroll down about 1/2 way to the section on pears and in particular, the section titled Picking, storing, and ripening.

December 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm
(8) Safe Horticultural Oil says:

Sometimes it is as simple as a calcium deficiency that can cause buds to drop.Also, using a q-tip to pollinate flowers often helps.

January 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm
(9) container vegetable gardening says:

So that’s how it works with pears. I hadn’t picked them waiting for them to ripen on the tree which they never did! Thanks for the advice.

April 6, 2012 at 6:56 am
(10) Sharon Butler says:

My cherry tree flowers every year, then produces lots of little fruit, but then they die turn brown and fall of.. What is happenening here? thanks

April 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm
(11) gardening says:

Sharon, the most common reason cherries turn brown is a fungus called Brown Rot. It’s most common in damp springs, but if the fruits are left on or near the tree, the spores will reinfect the next year. There’s more on the disease and its controls here.

Or it could simply be a lack of pollination. If there are no bees or other insects out when the tree blooms, it could be inadequately pollinated and the fruits shrivel before maturing. But check the brown rot site first.

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