Mary wonders where to find sand pear trees like the ones she enjoyed as a child:
“I am in Central Florida (Orlando / Ocoee area) and I currently have Apple, Pear, Mango, Avocado, Lemon, Lime, Tangelo, Red Grapefruit, Starfruit, Blueberries, Grapes (muscadine and seedless), Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberry, Pineapples, Miracle Fruit, Red and White Mulberries, Fig, Banana, Apricot, Loquat, Florida Peach, Surinam Cherry, Barbados Cherry, Red Navel Orange, Passion Fruit. I’ve had Jackfruit and Goji berry, but I’m afraid they didn’t make it last drought that I didn’t baby them. Most of mine are in containers. I want to get a good Sand Pear like my childhood neighbor had. They were really crisp and crunchy and made the best pear pies and cakes. I can’t seem to find it locally and I don’t know what else to look for. The neighbor called it a Sand Pear or Sandpaper pear. The skin was rough, with a greenish/brown base color with brown spots. Any idea what else it might be called or where I can get a few of these? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.”
Hey… that’s a GREAT selection of fruits, Mary!
Now let’s hunt down some pears for you.
Sand Pear Tree Varieties
Pineapple, Hood, Baldwin, Flordahome and Orient are common pears. In my opinion, Pineapple is the best sand pear of the lot.
There is a very good report here on sand pears in Florida.
Little seems to have changed over the decades.
I planted a range of low-chill Florida pear varieties in my North Florida food forest, including Hood, Baldwin, Orient, Flordahome, Pineapple and Kieffer. All were doing well when I sold the property. I was also trying to figure out where to pack in a Le Conte but never got around to it.
In addition to these named varieties, you can also sometimes find mature, productive pear trees growing on old farms and homesteads.
I once got some scion wood in the spring from a venerable old pear, then grafted it onto one of my named types.
I also grafted pears onto hawthorns.
Pears are really easy to graft, so if you ever come across old sand pear trees growing somewhere – fear not – you can take pieces home with you and add those varieties to your own orchard. Most people are happy to share a branch and will be fascinated with your desire to graft their tree onto one of yours. It sounds like mad science stuff, but grafting is easy.
Good sources for sand pear trees in the northern part of the state include Chestnut Hill Tree Farm near Gainesville, Blue Star Nursery in Hawthorne, and Just Fruits and Exotics, located south of Tallahassee in Crawfordville.
Finally, I did a full post not too long ago on pear varieties for the south – check that out here.
And for more ideas on what to plant in a Florida orchard, check out this post.