Sustainable Fruit Production

Evaluating Asian Pears for productivity and fruit quality under hot humid conditions

Production of European pears (Pyrus communis L.) in the Eastern United States is limited by a number of physiological and pathological problems.  In an attempt to expand sustainable pear production in that region, a series of long-term field trials of Asian pear [Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. F) Nak. {syn. P. serotina L.}] were established at two sites in Maryland.  To compare precocity production in that region, a series of long-term field trials of Asian pear [Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. F) Nak. {syn. P. serotina L.}] were established at two sites in Maryland.  To compare precocity, productivity and survival, nine Asian pear cultivars and three European cultivars were planted in 2010 at the Wye Research and Education Center.  Asian pears were precocious and productive and many trees flowered and fruited in the second leaf.  After the fourth leaf, survival of Isi’iwasi, Shinsui, Kosui and Olympic was good.  Many Hosui and Ya Li (Asian pear) trees as well as Bartlett and Golden Russett (European pear) trees had died at that point, following bloom infections of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora).  Eighteen pear cultivars in two established plantings were evaluated for their field-tolerance to fire blight following a severe hailstorm at Keedysville.  The cultivars Shin Li, Daisu Li, Shinsui and Olympic fared as well as Magness, a fire blight-tolerant European pear that served as a benchmark in that evaluation.  On the other hand, Hosui, Choju, Kosui, Seigyoku, Ya Li and Ts’e Li were severely damaged.           

Clarksville Open Houses 2013 and 2014  Using fruit from the replicated trial at Wye, consumer tastings were also conducted.  The photo above shows Sarah Allard, a Plant Science graduate student, working with consumers as they taste and evaluate Asian pears at Clarksville.  In these tastings, Yoinashi, Atago, Shinko and Olympic were well-received by consumers.  After tasting Asian pears, most people reported that they would be interested in purchasing the fruit and asked for the names of local producers, even those less familiar with the crop.  Based on our long-term research results, there appears to be a good potential for locally-produced Asian pear fruit.  With the correct cultivar selection for fire blight management, local growers should be able to produce this alternative crop sustainably and market their fruit profitably. 

At the 2015 Meeting of the American Society of Horticultural Science (ASHS) in New Orleans, Dr. Walsh summarized his research on Asian Pears in an Alternative Crops Colloquium. The document and the Power Point presentation can be found below.

Asian Pear: A Potential Alternative Fruit Crop for Growers in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Organic Orchard Research at Wye REC

 

International Society for Horticultural Science

ISHS Acta Horticulturae 903: IX International Symposium on Integrating Canopy, Rootstock and Environmental Physiology in Orchard Systems

THE EFFECT OF ORGANIC AND CONVENTIONAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS ON APPLE AND ASIAN PEAR TREE GROWTH, PRODUCTIVITY, EXPENSES AND REVENUES IN A HOT, HUMID CLIMATE

Authors:  C.S. Walsh, A.R. Ottesen, M.J. Newell, J.C. Hanson, E.H. Leone

DOI:  10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.903.92

Abstract:
A one-hectare apple and Asian pear orchard was established in 2003 to compare the growth and productivity of trees under organic and conventional management systems. Trees planted in this plot were selected from three broad categories; conventional apple cultivars, disease-resistant apple cultivars and Asian pears. One plot in each of five blocks was managed using current conventional methods. The other plot was managed using approved organic inputs and certified by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). Trees survived and grew under both production programs but tree vigor and fruit yields were greater in the conventional plantings. We encountered four difficulties in managing the organic plots; 1) slow growth of young trees, 2) difficulty in controlling weed competition, 3) direct pests affecting the fruit and 4) reduced yields. A strong cultivar-by-treatment interaction on yield was measured in two apple cultivars and one Asian pear cultivar. ‘Enterprise’ trees were very productive under the conventional program but significantly less productive in the organic blocks. An economic analysis was conducted to compare the two management programs. This economic evaluation focused on farming practices and inputs that differed; pest control, nutrient applications, field labor operations and tree support. Organic production took more time than conventional production due to the labor required for weed control and the additional pesticide applications. A great difference in the relative system profitability was caused by the differences in yields from organic plots. Lower organic fruit yields appeared to be a greater barrier to profitability than the higher expenses required for chemicals or labor in the organic plots.

Field Performance of Asian Pear Cultivars in the Hot, Humid Summer Conditions of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States

 

International Society for Horticultural Science

ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1094: XII International Pear Symposium

Authors:  C.S. Walsh, J.M. Harshman, A.E. Wallis, A.B. Williams, M.J. Newell, G.R. Welsh

DOI:  10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1094.9

Abstract:
Production of European pears (Pyrus communis L.) in the eastern United States is limited by a number of physiological and pathological problems. In an attempt to expand sustainable pear production in that region, a series of long-term field trials of Asian pear [Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. F) Nak. {syn. P. serotine L.}] were established at two sites in Maryland. To compare precocity, productivity and survival, nine Asian pear cultivars and three European cultivars were planted in 2010 at the Wye Research and Education Center. Asian pears were precocious and productive and many trees flowered and fruited in the second leaf. After the fourth leaf, survival of ‘Isi’iwasi’, ‘Shinsui’, ‘Kosui’ and ‘Olympic’ was good. Many ‘Hosui’ and ‘Ya Li’ (Asian pear) trees as well as ‘Bartlett’ and ‘Golden Russett’ (European pear) trees had died at that point, following bloom infections of fire blight (Erwinia amylovora). Eighteen pear cultivars in two established plantings were evaluated for their field-tolerance to fire blight following a severe hailstorm at Keedysville. The cultivars ‘Shin Li’, ‘Daisu Li’, ‘Shinsui’ and ‘Olympic’ fared as well as ‘Magness’, a fire blight-tolerant European pear that served as a benchmark in that evaluation. On the other hand, ‘Hosui’, ‘Choju’, ‘Kosui’, ‘Seigyoku’, ‘Ya Li’ and ‘Ts’e Li’ were severely damaged. Using fruit from the replicated trial at Wye, consumer tastings were also conducted. In these tastings, ‘Yoinashi’, ‘Atago’, ‘Shinko’ and ‘Olympic’ were well-received by consumers. After tasting Asian pears, most people reported that they would be interested in purchasing the fruit and asked for the names of local producers, even those less familiar with the crop. Based on our long-term research results, there appears to be a good potential for locally-produced Asian pear fruit. With the correct cultivar selection for fire blight management, local growers should be able to produce this alternative crop sustainably and market their fruit profitably.

 Evaluation of Fruit Quality and Susceptibility to Blue Mold of Nine Asian Pear Cultivars

 

International Society for Horticultural Science

ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1094: XII International Pear Symposium

Authors:  W.M. Jurick II, Eunhee Park, V.L. Gaskins, M.J. Newell, J.M. Harshman, C.S. Walsh

DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1094.62

Abstract:
Nine Asian pear cultivars (‘Atago’, ‘Hosui’, ‘Isiiwase’, ‘Kosui’, ‘Olympic’, ‘Shinko’, ‘Shinsui’, ‘Ya Li’ and ‘Yoinashi’) were evaluated for quality (firmness, titratable acidity, and soluble solids) and susceptibility to the blue mold pathogen Penicillium expansum. Fruit were grown at the University of Maryland Extension Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown, Maryland and transported to the USDA-ARS research facility in Beltsville, Maryland. Data from pears harvested in 2012 and 2013 were combined and mean values were calculated. Force required to puncture the epidermis varied from 11.3 (‘Kosui’) to 28.8 N (‘Olympic’). Soluble solids ranged from 10.9 (‘Atago’) to 15.9 °Brix (‘Shinsui’), and titratable acidity from 0.09 (‘Kosui’) to 0.18% malic acid equivalents (‘Hosui’). All cultivars were susceptible to blue mold decay; mean lesion diameters ranged from 28.9 (‘Isiiwase’) to 39.1 mm (‘Yoinashi’) after 7 days storage at 25°C. Variation in fruit quality and susceptibility to blue mold decay was observed among the nine cultivars. This information will help both small scale niche growers and commercial pear producers decide whether to immediately market or store fruit of specific Asian pear cultivars depending on their quality parameters and susceptibility to blue mold.