Pears: Pick green to thwart pesky insects

July 26, 2011 06:15 pm

A reader recently asked what to do about wasps eating their pears as they ripened on the trees, stating once they became ripe all were lost to the aggressive pests.


One of the marvelous things about pears is the same effect bananas display, which is their handy ability to after-ripen.  This simply refers to their ability to fully ripen after being picked while in a green or unripe stage.

Pears are one of the locally grown fruits that can take full advantage of this process with the added bonus of not losing them to wasps or other voracious insect pests. Just pick them before they are ripe and wait. Having done this many times over the years myself, I have never noticed a lack of juice or loss of flavor.

If you are storing them in cardboard boxes between layers of paper, don’t layer more than two deep or you will lose some to rot if they are not readily accessible to being inspected. Keep them in a cool and dark space if at all possible. Bring them out and put them on the counter once you want some for fresh eating or to can and dry.

When picking them green, be sure to lift them in an upward motion to try and snap the stem. If you don’t you may pull of the end of the stem, which will remove wood you want left behind for next year’s pears.

For those of you who experienced the devastating storm last Tuesday, there are a few things you can do to try and help your plants recover. Here in south La Grande, we were hit with hail up to dime-size. This lasted for about 20 minutes. The outside temperature went from 73 to 53 degrees in less than 10 minutes. We lost approximately 95 percent of our peaches and the ones left are heavily pock-marked from the hail.

First you need to take the time to trim off all the broken and damaged stems from your perennials and vegetables. We lost all but one tomato. Our ornamental corn, nearly 5 feet high, was shredded as with a razor blade.

We waited a few days prior to the trimming. This helped us see just what was damaged beyond repair. After trimming we applied one-quarter strength fertilizer to try and give the plants a little extra help recovering. We did this for flowers and fruits or vegetables alike. We have ignored the peach trees for now but will probably wait and see if any recover that will be worth picking.

It still isn’t too late to plant or pick up some lovely hanging baskets or perennials for your deck. Even leaving them in their pots they will be attractive and colorful. Just remember, if you leave them in their pots, they will need to be watered daily.

Here’s hoping you have a good gardening experience!

Jennie Lu Hagen is a La Grande gardener.