Pear Tree Irrigation: Tips On Watering A Pear Tree

Pear Tree Irrigation: Tips On Watering A Pear Tree

By: Liz Baessler

Pear trees are a great addition to a yard or landscape. Keep reading to learn more about pear tree watering and how often to water pears.

Pear Tree Watering

The main thing to establish when determining pear tree watering needs is the age of the tree.

If your tree is newly planted or less than a few years old, its roots are probably not very well established beyond the root ball it formed in its initial container. This means the tree should be watered close to the trunk and frequently, two or possibly even three times a week if there’s no rainfall.

When a tree matures, however, its roots spread out. If your tree has been growing in the same spot for a number of years, its roots will have expanded to just beyond the drip line, or the edge of the canopy, where rainwater naturally drips off the leaves to soak into the ground. Water your mature tree less frequently and around the drip line.

Keep in mind the type of soil your tree is planted in. Heavy clay soils hold water well and require less frequent waterings, while sandy soils drain easily and require more frequent waterings. Never let water stand around your tree for more than 24 hours, as this can cause the roots to rot. If you have heavy clay soil that drains slowly, you may need to split up your watering over several sessions to keep the water from pooling.

How Much Water Do Pear Trees Need?

Newly planted trees need roughly a gallon (3.7 L.) of water a week, whether that comes from pear tree irrigation, rainfall, or a combination of the two. You can get a sense of whether you need to water by feeling the soil 6 inches (15 cm.) from the trunk and 6-10 inches (15-25 cm.) deep. If the soil is damp, the tree doesn’t need to be watered.

Regardless of its age, a pear tree’s roots don’t usually grow deeper than 24 inches (60 cm.) below ground. These types of roots benefit from infrequent but deep waterings, meaning the soil gets moistened all the way to 24 inches (60 cm.) deep.

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Read more about Pear Trees

Asian Pear Tree Care

Prepare to plant the tree in spring after the last frost. About one week before planting, remove weeds, grass, and rocks. Pull apart any soil clumps. If planting more than one tree, space them at least 15 feet apart. Soak the tree's root system in a large container of water for about one hour.

Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the root ball, so that the roots will fit and spread freely in the ground. Mix a four-inch layer of compost into the soil. Work in the compost with a shovel.

Cut any damaged roots off the root ball. Loosen the roots. Place the tree in the hole on the same level as it was in the original pot. Backfill with two-thirds of the soil and then tamp the soil with your feet gently.

Before backfilling the last one-third, soak the soil with a garden hose. Let the hose trickle water, and let the soil absorb the moisture. Make sure the tree is planted so that the graft union rests about two inches above the level of the soil. Prevent a depression around the base because, in winter, water can accumulate, freeze and damage the tree.

Establish a 10-foot tall stake two feet deep into the ground, four inches away from the trunk. Tie the tree to the stake.


Fruits will produce most prolifically in full sun. Find the most open and sunny area of your garden where the air flows well.

Asian pear trees prefer deep, well-drained fertile soils. Loam is best, but plants will adapt to clay soils, with a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

One year before planting, test the soil pH. If it needs to be increased, add lime into the top seven inches of soil. If it needs to be decreased, add sulfur.


Water the tree deeply about every 10 days after planting and while establishing, ensuring the moisture reaches the whole root system. Adjust watering times based on rainfall or hot weather.


Wait a month before fertilizing. Then give the tree a half-pound of 10-10-10. If the tree ends up growing more than one foot per year, refrain from fertilizing it. Nitrogen encourages growth, but too much can prevent optimal fruiting or encourage diseases.

If the tree grows slowly (less than eight inches each year), feed it one-third to a half-cup of 10-10-10 per every year of the age of the tree, or up to eight cups divided into two feedings.

Sprinkle the fertilizer over the soil and water it. Spread a four-inch layer of bark mulch four inches away from the trunk. Add the first portion in the spring before new growth appears and the second portion when the tree begins fruiting.

Maintain a two- to four-inch layer of mulch to keep weeds down and encourage the soil to retain moisture and nutrients. Adding compost or farm manure in spring and summer can also help the tree stay healthy. Before winter starts, mulch again with straw or grass.

Temperature and Humidity

Depending on the variety, Asian pear trees can survive winter temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The tree is hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 8 or 9.

Determining your Irrigation Schedule

Ag Weathernet has an irrigation scheduler tool which allows you to plan your irrigation schedule based on the actual precipitation and evapotranspiration at a weather station near you. It takes into account your soil type, your soil’s water holding capacity, and the evapotranspiration rate of fruit trees. You can set up multiple fields and track them on your computer, or phone. AgWeathernet will require you to create an account if you don’t already have one. However, it is free to use.

Alternatively, follow the steps below to calculate your water needs.

How Much Water Do I Need?

The amount of water that trees need in a given week is calculated based on the evapotranspiration rate (ET). You can use data from Ag Weathernet to find apple ET in your area. Login and click on water use. Select your crop and a station near you. The water use model will predict tree water use over the prior week.

Tim Smith, WSU Extension Emeritus put together this nice table which gives you some average numbers to work with.

Tree Water Use per Week

Irrigation season …cooler …average …warmer
inches/day inches/day inches/day
early April 0.04 0.05 0.06
late April 0.08 0.09 0.1
early May 0.12 0.13 0.16
late May 0.17 0.2 0.25
early June 0.2 0.23 0.25
late June 0.25 0.29 0.32
July 0.27 0.32 0.38
early August 0.27 0.31 0.35
late August 0.21 0.24 0.3
early September 0.15 0.18 0.22
late September 0.08 0.1 0.15
October 0.05 0.07 0.09

***note for standard older style orchards

Don’t forget to adjust the tree water needs by the efficiency of your irrigation system. For example, in an overhead sprinkler system you might assume only about 75% efficiency. For drip irrigation you can assume almost 100% efficiency. Your system may be somewhere in between.

How Much Water Can I Apply at Once?

Now that you know how much water you need to apply you need to think about how much of this water you can put on at once.

How much you can irrigate at once depends on how much water your soil can hold and how much is usable to plants. A soil’s water holding capacity is the difference between the field capacity (water in the soil after a soaking rain that has been allowed to drain) and the permanent wilting point (where a plant growing in that soil would wilt and never recover). The first 50 percent of that water used by the trees is the amount you should count on. We like to call this amount the “usable water”.

The amount of “usable water” held in the tree’s root zone depends on the depth of the soil in the root zone, the texture of the soil, the soil’s percentage of rock and gravel, textural layers, and compaction.

To correct for the root zone depth we assume two feet of root depth in young or dwarf rootstock orchards, and about 3 feet of root depth in older, vigorous rooted orchards. In very high quality soil or older trees you may assume up to 3.5 or 4 feet. Root studies have determined that 2/3 of the root volume of large, old trees is in the top two feet of soil. About 80 percent of the roots are in the top three feet. Thus, even for large trees it is generally recommended to assume no more than 3 feet of rooting depth.

To determine your soil type the web soil survey is a useful tool. You can also send a soil sample to your local lab for textural analysis.

  • Determine your soil type.
  • Estimate the ‘usable water’.
  • Divide inches needed per week by the amount your soil can hold in one irrigation to get the number of times you need to irrigate per week.

Usable Water**В in Common Soil Types

soil texture: — 2 ft. root zone — 3 ft. root zone
acre inch acre inch
coarse sand 0.92 1.25
sand 1.25 1.74
fine sand 1.37 1.95
loamy sand 1.41 2.03
loamy fine sand 1.47 2.08
sandy loam 1.54 2.2
fine sandy loam 1.87 2.65
very fine s. loam 2 2.82
loam 2.2 3.15
silt loam 2.41 3.4
sandy clay loam 2.2 3.11
silty clay loam 2.03 2.91
clay loam 2.03 2.95
sitly clay, clay 1.87 2.81

**Usable water is 50% of the water holding capacity.

How Does the Water I Need Compare with the Water I Have Been Applying?

Step 1. Determine the number of sprinkler heads per acre.

To follow the operation outlined below, you’ll need a tape measure, a gallon milk jug, a watch, and a calculator.

  1. Measure the number of feet between heads down the row. ___________
  2. Measure the distance between laterals (crossways). ______________В В В This is usually the row or every other row spacing.В Don’t measure diagonally between heads.
  3. Multiply these two footages to get the square feet per head. _______
  4. Divide the square feet per head into 43,560 (square feet in an acre). This gives you the number of heads per acre.
  5. Write your answer here. ________________ heads per acre.

Step 2. Determine the gallons of water applied per set.

  1. Catch water in a gallon milk jug until it is full. Time the number of seconds it takes to fill it. This will take from about 20 seconds to about three minutes, depending on the size of the nozzle. Do this timing at several nozzles around the block. There may be some variation. Fix the problem if the variation is more than 10 percent down the lateral. Pressure and nozzle problems are the most common reasons for variation.
  2. Divide the average number of seconds it took to fill your gallon into 60. This will give you the number of gallons the heads are putting out per minute.
  3. Write that number right here. ______________________(gal/minute/head)
  4. Now multiply the number of heads per acre by the average gallons each head applies per minute to get the gallons applied per acre per minute.
  5. Write that number right here.В ________________________(gal/min/acre)
  6. Multiply that number by 60 to determine the gallons applied per hour.
  7. Write that number right here.В ________________________(gal/hour/acre)
  8. Now multiply the gallons per hour by the number of hours you actually irrigate:
  9. Write that number here __________________________(gallons per set per acre)

Step 3. Estimate net gallons per acre:

Water lost to uneven application, evaporation, and runoff can’t be counted towards your trees use. Losses can vary from 10 to 50 percent, depending on the time of season and the system design. The wider the head spacing, the lower the efficiency. Over-tree systems can lose a great percentage of water to evaporation on windy days, especially in mid-day and mid-summer. A normal under tree system will be about 70-80 percent efficient.

  1. Take a stab at estimating your system efficiency. If you just don’t know, figure 70 percent.
  2. Convert percent into a decimal (70 percent is 0.70).
  3. Multiply the gallons per acre per set by this efficiency decimal. For example: 54,880 x 0.7 = 38416
  4. This equals the:В _______________________ (net gallons per acre per set).

Step 4. Determine the net acre inches applied per set:

  1. Divide the net gallons applied per acre per set by 27,000 gall per acre inch. This will give you the net acre inches applied per acre per set. For example: 38,416 net gallons per set per acre divided by 27,000 = 1.42 acre inches.
  2. This is the amount of usable water you have applied.

  • There are some common problems of pears, These are brown rot, Pear rust, pear leaf blister mite, pear of coriander in the head. It also has problems with aphids and mites.
  • Brown rot is a type of fungal disease that appears brown on the fruit, sometimes also with white pustules of fungus on the surface of the fruit. This is worse in the wet summers. As soon as it appears on fruit, destroy it immediately, remove rotten fruit, which will prevent it from moving forward.
  • The pear rust is a disease spreading in the summer and in the autumn, due to this, bright and orange spots appear on the upper surface of the leaves. As soon as it appears on its leaves for the prevention, remove it, and destroy it. Thereby preventing it from expanding. No chemical control for this.
  • Pear leaf blister mite is a common problem occurring on its leaves, causing yellow or red blisters on the leaves which later become black. Though it does not affect the crop. For remedies, remove the damaged leaves and destroy them. Read more .

There are more than two thousand varieties of pears, it is impossible to list them all. In short, it is made in standard, semi-midget, and dwarf type varieties. Its dwarf varieties are suitable for growing in containers. Among its other varieties are also fruitful and non-fruit trees. The three main varieties of fruit trees are European, Asian, and Hybrid.

European pears

These are the varieties that are usually sold in big markets. They are very tasty, but they are not very disease resistant. They have an upright growth habit and your garden looks attractive. This includes mainly Barlett, Bose, Colette, Anjou, Moonglo, and Sunrise varieties.

Asian pears

Asian pears have hard meat and have different sizes than European pears. It is also known as a Chinese pear or apple pears. Many of its varieties grow 15 feet long and most of them are partly self-fertile. These varieties include the Olympics, Peggy, Moonglow, Hosui, and Maxie.

Hybrid pear

Hybrid Pears is a mixture of varieties of European Pears and Asian Pears, it is better for canning and cooking because they are harder. Mainly it includes Kiffer, Comice, and Orient, Seckel varieties. Read more .

Read also: How to grow Peachtree in containers. Celery growing in containers. Orange growing and caring guide. Know how to grow Pansy flowers . Cantaloupe growing in containers. Jade Plant growing indoors. Onion growing in containers. 8 Best Frugal Gardening tips. Growing Black peppers in containers. Growing Heirloom tomato plants. Onion growing and care guide. Watermelon growing guide. Verbena’s growing and caring tips. Anthurium Growing in pots.

Soil requirements for pot-grown fruit trees

It is best to use normal soil, or a mix of compost such as John Innes No. 3 and ordinary soil, and incorporate a good proportion (20%-30%) of grit to help with drainage. Do not use pure compost as it dries out too easily, but conversely, make sure you have enough grit to allow drainage because fruit trees do not like to stand in water.

Put some large pebbles or broken clay pot pieces in the bottom to allow drainage. A decorative mulch on top of the soil will help keep moisture in.

The key thing when growing fruit trees in containers is not to let the soil dry out, so regular watering is needed.

After the tree has reached its final size it is also worth replenishing a proportion of the planting medium every 3-5 years. This is also a good opportunity to carry out some root-pruning, in other words pruning the roots back by about a quarter, which will encourage the tree to continue growing whilst preventing it getting too big.

During the growing season, a bit of plant food helps as nutrients are easily lost from containers over the year. This should be applied in early spring, as trees put on most of their seasonal growth in the period April - June.

We do not recommend using ""organic"" or soil-less composts, these can be successful, but require expert knowledge to ensure the tree stays healthy.

It's normal for the pads of the prickly pear to dry out before winter due to water loss, according to Fine Gardening. When handling the prickly pear, keep in mind that the bristles can cause serious skin irritation. Always use tongs to handle the pads. If you want to make your own soil mixture for prickly-pear cacti, combine 50 percent builder's sand, 25 percent loam soil and 25 percent organic matter to provide drainage as well as adequate nutrient levels.

Nicole Crawford is a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist. She is studying to be a nutrition coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher. Nicole contributes regularly at Breaking Muscle and has also written for "Paleo Magazine," The Bump and Fit Bottomed Mamas.

Watch the video: How To Plant Your New Fruit Tree