Healthy pear trees start with healthy soil. Pear trees need soil that is rich and well-drained, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Test your soil before you plant. It’s much easier to adjust the balance of your soil before you’ve put your trees into the ground.
You can prepare your soil any time the ground isn’t frozen or too wet. Once you’ve established that your soil has the right pH, you can start preparing the planting hole. Tree roots will grow faster when they’re spread out, so dig your hole so the root system has plenty of room to expand. Keep your topsoil in a separate pile; you’ll add it to the bottom of the hole before you plant your tree.
To give the topsoil a boost, you can mix in dehydrated cow manure (sterilized, with no seeds), fully decomposed garden compost, or peat moss at no more than a 1/3 concentration. If you’re using peat moss, you want baled sphagnum or granular peat.
Another option for boosting the organic makeup of your topsoil pile is to add in grass clippings and shredded leaves. The grass and leaves will decompose and release nutrients into the soil; they’ll also loosen the soil to give the roots a nice place to settle in.
What type of soil do you use to grow your pear trees? Do you use compost at all? What are your best tips for creating optimal soil for your pears? Please share your techniques with us.