Organic pest control for pear trees is imperative if you want to raise organic pears for market or for personal use.
Pears Are Hardy
According to the National Sustainable Agricultural Service, pears may be the easiest fruits to grow organically. They grow well in almost every part of the country, and in a wide range of soil and climate conditions. Pears have fewer diseases and fewer problems with pests than other fruits as well.
It is important to consult with your country Cooperative Extension Service to find out the best varieties to grow in your area. Trees that are compatible with your climate and soil conditions will do better with less intervention, than those that are not.
Organic Pest Control for Pear Trees
Most of the pests and diseases associated with apples are also associated with pear trees. The difference is that pear trees tend to have these problems less often and with less intensity. In order to combat the pests in your pears, it is important that you identify them correctly. If you are in doubt as to what you are dealing with, try to take a sample to a local nursery or county extension agent.
This is an insect that is somewhat like an aphid. The only fruit that it attacks is the pear and is the biggest problem in pear orchards. The excrement of the psylla, called honeydew, supports sooty mold and black russeting. These diseases weaken trees where there is heavy infestation.
Surround is a kaolin clay that has been developed by the USDA. It is a particle film that has an excellent track record with many pests, including pear psylla. The psylla also has many natural enemies. Some nurseries and online resources sell these natural predators.
- Lacewing larvae
- Minute pirate bugs
- Predatory flies
Many bugs like the stink bug and tarnished plant bug will eat pears. You can deal with these insects by allowing an unmown area of leguminous trap crops nearby. This will not only lure the bugs away from pears, but will provide a habitat for natural predators.
Surround works against these pests as well. Another product called Aza-Direct has been listed by Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic pear orchards.
There are several varieties of mites. These small pests cause problems in the pear orchard both from the reduction in the photosynthetic efficiency of the leaves and because they can cause russeting of the fruit. Mites are worse when pears have been in drought conditions, so try to keep them well watered and mulched.Natural predators include:
- Green lacewings
- Ladybird beetles
- Minute pirate bugs
- Predatory mites
- Predatory thrips
Dormant oil sprays and Neem based biological insecticides are helpful in organic orchards that need to control mites.
Other pests that can affect your pear orchard are:
- Apple maggot
- Coddling moth
- Pear slug
- Plum curculio
Removing affected areas of the tree, leaves, and fruit by hand and disposing of them can be an effective way to deal with these pests. Do not dispose of them in your compost pile, however.
Coddling moths can be trapped in a homemade trap. Fill a gallon milk jug with 1 cup vinegar, ½ cup molasses, 1/8 teaspoon of ammonia, and 5 cups of water. Cut a 2-inch hole just below the shoulder of the jug. Hang your trap in your pear tree, using up to three traps per tree. Pear slugs can often be removed with a strong stream of water. This simple method can work for other pests, depending on the size of your orchard.
You can also look into organic fruit tree sprays, homemade sprays, and other traps to help if you have a variety of pests.The most effective organic pest control for pear trees is to keep your trees healthy and well watered. Most pear tree varieties are not susceptible to pests and will thrive if given a chance.