Combination Pear Tree?
One of the things I look forward to this spring, and this year really, is watching the growth of a new tree we ordered from Raintree Nursery and planted last year. It arrived in a skinny cardboard box - and after unpacking looked like a multi-branched, 4' long twig. We planted it in a landscape strip in one of our side yards. It grew just a couple inches through the season until the leaves dropped for winter. What's so unique about this tree? It's a "combination" pear tree!
Pears are one of the varieties of fruit that need cross-pollination to produce fruit, or in some self-pollinating varieties, to produce heavier yields of fruit. For this reason it is necessary to plant at least 2 - 3 varieties of pears in close proximity to each other. At some point someone thought to work this out and created pear trees that consist of more than one variety!
Root stocks are often used in the cultivation of all types of trees - grafting heartier tree bases to various types of upper trees. Reasons vary from disease resistance, cold hardiness, controlling tree height, but the premise is the same.
In the case of our combination tree, three varieties of pears are grafted onto one rootstock, creating a completely self-pollinating tree! Our tree has Highland, Orcas and Comice pears. These will all produce different fruit and will pollinate each other during the flowering season all while sharing a common base. It will likely be another 1 - 2 years before we get much of any fruit, if any at all, but watching it grow and seeing how this combo scenario works is well worth the wait!