Pear Tree placement

Asked February 8, 2013, 1:11 PM EST

I am considering planting pear trees in my front yard (Bartlett and Bosc most likely) but want to make sure their roots will not buckle the sidewalk. Is this a potential issue? How much space do I need to allow? Are there good companion plants for pear trees?

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for asking about pear trees for your front yard here in Western Oregon. Choose pear trees to cross-pollinate each other for fruit-set: Bosc and Bartlett are fine choices. Spacing is a big consideration when you site your fruit trees, and though I can share guidelines, you need to research recommendations for the tree and rootstock you choose. Generally, dwarf pear trees are planted 8 feet apart, while semi-dwarfing rootstocks are recommended 12-15 feet apart. I expect similar distances or more from sidewalks is best. (Full-size pear trees would be planted 15-25 feet apart.) How much you train and prune the trees makes a difference in their size, but so does the rootstock, and how vigorous the roots are is your concern with the sidewalk. The roots need access to moisture and nutrients, so homeowners don’t often plant under fruit trees. Grass is possible, though challenging because of the shade. While I don’t want to overwhelm you with additional cautions and resources, here are some helpful webpages, from university extension services, about growing pears in the home orchard. Pears in the Home Garden (CIS 898) from the University of Idaho: Training and Pruning your Home Orchard from Oregon State University: Growing Pears in the Home Orchard from University of New Hampshire (the climate is different in NH, but much of the other information is appropriate):