We pruned our pear trees this spring. Now one of the trees is full of wierd shaped fuzzy fruit. I have looked up fuzzy pears on the internet and most people agree that the fruit is quince. Besides being a strange shape, the pears are extremely hard and are holding onto the tree for dear life even though it's October.
Since I don't think that pears can turn into quince, I'm wondering what has happened to this tree. I am putting the pears into a box to see if they ripen. Are they safe to eat? I have wiped off the fuzz.
Hello and thank you for asking the question. I have actually had this question before while working the Benton County Extension Master Gardener desk. In that instance we definitely identified the fruit as a quince. Yes you can eat them but because of their astringent quality it is best to eat them as jam or jelly or in another cooked form. Yes they will ripen off the tree and from what I am finding they are 'ripe' when all yellow with no green spots and when they smell fragrant. When ripe they will separate from the tree easier. One source suggested harvesting the fruit after the first light frost or when they started to fall on the ground. Yes the fruits of quince are hairy.
When this question came into our information desk we eventually concluded that the pear tree had been grafted onto a quince rootstock. That tree had been heavily grazed by deer which eventually caused the pear portion of the plant to be either killed or totally removed by deer. Fruit was produced after the yard was fenced and the deer were no longer browsing the now shrub. The supposition was that the root stock survived and produced new growth which eventually produced the weird looking fruit (quince). In this case the 'pear' tree was young and had not been maintained for several years. Do any of these circumstances fit your tree?