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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Internal Browning of Pear May Be Due to Late Harvesting

Hi Bob:  I understand you are in Afghanistan.  Stay Safe over there!  If you have time to address my rather insignificant problem compared to where you are right now I would appreciate it.    If not ...no sweat! I have a large 12-15 year old Keiffer Pear Tree that always has literally hundreds of large pears on it each year. 

            I am just harvesting them and this year the pears look fantastic and are especially large but when one cuts them open all of them have rotten areas within the pear.   Perfect on the outside but ruined on the inside.   Last year they were perfect both inside and out…no problems but not so this year. I am sending a picture…hope you get this.   Any clue as to what’s going on with these pears?  

            The only issue I had with the tree early In the summer was a severe iron deficiency that I treated with an iron solution.  Don’t know if this caused the pear problem or not. I would appreciate any info you can give me. 


Keiffer pear at The Orchard
Billy. This is a tough one but I do not believe your applications of iron had anything to do with it. From the picture I believe this is called brown core or pithy brown core. I could be wrong. But the brown area would be pithy, not wet or watery. If this is in fact what it is I do not have good news because no one seems to know what causes it.

Let's run down a list of possibilities. One suggestion is cool weather. Some suspect that unusually cool weather can cause this problem in fruit. Another suggests that if you leave the fruit on the tree too long the fruit can develop this problem. Another suggests if you harvest the fruit and do not cool it down soon after harvesting this problem can develop.

Whatever caused it, from your description, it happened to all of the fruit this year. Look and see if the fruit on the South and West sides are harder hit than the ones on the North or North East side. Let's rule out over heating of the fruit. If you don't have good leaf cover on the tree this might be a problem because the fruit may not get enough for shade and cooling.
Corky spot on Comice pear at The Orchard

When harvesting the fruit, try harvesting the fruit a little earlier, maybe mid-October, and let them ripen a little bit off of the tree but inside the house. Make sure when they are harvested they do not sit in the sun for any length of time.

There is another disorder called corky spot that cause the flesh to be brown and pithy just under the skin. This is due to a calcium deficiency and calcium sprays are recommended five times during the growing season to alleviate this problem. But this does not appear to be corky spot.

That's about all I have to offer. If it does not happen again next year and you have not done much different perhaps we can conclude it was due to weather.

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