My sick little pear tree

Asked June 14, 2020, 4:48 PM EDT

I planted the tree four years ago. It was on two year old root stock, I think. It is a Red Bartlett. It produced really well last year for the first time. About three weeks ago the pears started falling off. I had 18 and am now down to 5. Also yellow orange spots started showing up on the entire tree. I guess it might be Pacific Coast pear Rust, or Pear Trellis Rust? Is there anything I can do to save the tree and prevent this from coming back? I live in Northeast Portland just on the edge of Gresham. Thank you, Steve

Multnomah County Oregon

3 Responses

Thank you for your question, Steve. Your tree does, in fact have Pacific Coast pear rust, as evidenced by the orange fungal growths. The ‘culprits’ are in the back, and probably on your neighbor’s property. The fungus alternates between these two species. The following OSU diagnostic guide tells more: Since the only control is to remove the conifer (or replace your tree with a more resistant variety), you’d have some convincing to do across the fence. Sorry we can’t be more positive.

Thank you so much...I think. The tree is as I said four years in the ground and has had no problem before this "very wet and humid" year. Are you suggesting that now that the rust is on it, it's toast? That little bugger gave me 40 incredible pears last year. I had to support all the branches but it produced like a champ. Not a single sign of any disease. Will it die now? Or just continue to have this rust every year and not produce? I am not a overly softhearted guy but it would be a sad day if I had to cut it out.
Thanks again for your assistance.

Steve: The very short answer is that we live in ‘the fungus Capitol of the world.” When nature mixes moderate temperatures, moisture, and massive regions of plants, all of which are conducive to fungal growth, there will be fungi present. Rusts have this ‘dance,’ which will continue, perhaps to the detriment of both. So, a suggestion: do you know anyone with land and no conifers close by? Perhaps you can gift it, and stay involved in its life.