Pears

Karen Cambre, Sharpe, Kenneth W.  |  7/31/2018 1:11:12 PM

News article for July 30, 2018

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Pears can be grown successfully in Louisiana and they begin to get ripe in August. It is important to harvest them at the right maturity as they can spoil in our intense heat.

It is best to remove pears from the tree just prior to full maturity and allow them to get ripe inside. If you leave them on the tree until they are ready to consume, many of those pears will start to deteriorate in the heat and have an off flavor.

There are two main characteristics to help you harvest pears at the correct time. First, you will observe that pears will have a slight color change from green to yellow as they mature. Another indicator is to look at the lenticels, which are the small dots or indentations on the outer skin. Lenticels will be white on the immature fruit and will turn brown when the pears are ready for harvest.

When harvesting, make sure not to bruise or damage fruit while placing pears in your bucket or basket. Stems can puncture other fruit and cause a nasty looking black spot, so place pears in the container gently.

After removing pears from the tree, place them on a counter inside until they are ripe. You can also wrap them in newspaper and put them in a box while ripening. Check frequently for ripeness. Pears will be ripe and ready to eat when you feel softness at the top of the pear and near the stem when you gently press it with your thumb.

As the pears get ripe, remove them from the counter and place them in the refrigerator if you are not ready to eat them.

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Planting any spring crop for harvest in the fall can be tricky. Growing conditions are harsh when you plant and hopefully will be nice when you harvest. This is especially true for tomatoes and the window of opportunity for planting fall tomatoes is shrinking. It is all based on when cold weather arrives, but generally I figure August 15th as your last opportunity for planting fall tomatoes.

Keep in mind your need for weed control and water. Grasses and broadleaf weeds grow very quickly this time of year and rainfall is an undependable source of water.

If you have never used irrigation tubing, now would be a good time to try. This will allow you to easily water plants to both get them established and maintain them during dry periods. Without a source of water, there is little hope for fall tomatoes.

Now is also a great time of the year to use organic mulches. Organic mulches will help suppress weed development by blocking sunlight, help maintain moisture in the soil and also help to keep the soil cooler. If you use plastic mulch, use white to cut down on the heat.

Heat will be your enemy in fall tomatoes, so plant heat tolerant varieties that can set fruit in the heat. Those recommended fall tomato varieties that have performed well in trials here would include Heatwave II, Solar Fire, Sun Master, Solar Set, Phoenix, Florida 91 and Bella Rosa. A normal spring tomato crop will take 45 to 60 days from pollination (flowers) to vine ripe, but in the fall it only takes about 35-40 days.

Be diligent to control insects and diseases and you should be able to pick until frost.

For more information on these or related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit our website at www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.

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