Suggested Pear and Stone Fruit Varieties for Home Gardens in Iowa

News Article

Pears and several stone fruits can be successfully grown in Iowa. Pears can be grown satisfactorily in most areas of the state. However, fireblight can be a serious problem. Gardeners should plant fireblight resistant pear varieties.

The stone fruits include cherries, plums, apricots, and peaches. Most stone fruits are relatively short-lived. Some stone fruits, such as apricots, bloom early in the spring and are often damaged by a last frost or freeze. Others, such as sweet cherries and peaches, are not reliably hardy in Iowa.

Suggested pear and stone fruit varieties for home gardens in Iowa are presented below.

Variety Adaptability to Iowa* Maturity Remarks
Sour Cherries
(Sour cherries are self-fruitful. A single tree will produce a full crop.)
Montmorency C,S Mid-June to early July Red skin, yellow flesh; the most widely grown sour cherry in the U.S.
Northstar N,C,S Mid-June to early July Red skin, red flesh, natural dwarf tree which grows to a height of about 8 to 10 feet, very hardy; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Meteor N,C,S Late June to early July Red skin, yellow flesh, ripens about 7 to 10 days after Northstar, medium size tree, very hardy; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Sweet Cherries
Not recommended, not reliably hardy in Iowa. Gardeners in southern Iowa may wish to try the varieties Gold, Van or Hedelfingen on a trial basis. (Sweet cherries are self-unfruitful.)
Hybrid Plums
(The hybrid plum varieties are self-unfruitful. Plant at least two different varieties to insure cross-pollination.)
Underwood N,C,S Mid July Large fruit, dull red skin, golden yellow flesh, clingstone, hardy; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Toka N,C,S Early to mid August Red skin, yellow flesh; an excellent pollinizer for other varieties.
Alderman N,C,S Mid August Large fruit, burgundy red skin, yellow flesh, clingstone; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Superior N,C,S Mid to late August Large fruit, red russet-dotted skin, yellow flesh, clingstone; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Monitor N,C,S Late August Medium to large fruit, bronze-red skin, yellow flesh, clingstone, very hardy; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
European Plums
(The European plum varieties are self-fruitful.)
Mount Royal N,C,S Mid to late August Small to medium fruit, blue-black skin, freestone, very hardy.
Stanley N,C,S Late August Large, dark blue fruit, yellow flesh, freestone, bears heavily.
Green Gage C,S Late August to early September Small to medium fruit, yellowish, green skin, amber flesh, clingstone.
Damson C,S Early to mid September Small to medium fruit, blue skin, yellow flesh.
Pears (Most pears are self-unfruitful.)
Harrow Delight C,S Early to mid August Medium size fruit, yellowish green skin; has good resistance to fireblight; developed in Ontario, Canada.
Summercrisp N,C,S Early to mid August Medium size fruit, green skin with red blush, hardy; good resistance to fireblight; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Bartlett C,S Late August Medium to large fruit, thin yellow skin, white flesh, good for eating fresh and canning; susceptible to fireblight.
Maxine N,C,S Late August Large fruit, yellow skin, firm juicy white flesh, good fresh and canned; resistant to fireblight.
Seckel N,C,S Early to mid September Small fruit, yellowish brown skin, excellent for cooking and canning; some resistance to fireblight; also known as Sugar Pear.
Luscious N,C,S Early to mid September Medium size fruit, yellow skin with red blush; developed at South Dakota State University.
Kieffer N,C,S Early October Medium to large fruit, coarse gritty textured white flesh, poor for fresh use, best suited for processing, hardy.
Asian Pears
Asian pears are relatively new to the United States. Asian pears differ from the common or European pears in that they can be eaten while still firm like an apple, or allowed to fully ripen like European pears. Generally Asian pears are not as winter hardy as European pears and exhibit little resistance to fireblight. Until more is known about variety adaptability, any planting of Asian pears should be on trial basis. Gardeners in southern Iowa may wish to try Chojuro and Twentieth Century.
Apricots
Moongold N,C,S Mid to late July Orange skin, yellowish-orange flesh, freestone; self-unfruitful, pollinate with Sungold; hardy; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Sungold N,C,S Late July to early August Gold skin with orange blush, orange flesh, freestone; self-unfruitful, pollinate with Moongold; hardy; introduced by the University of Minnesota.
Moorpark C,S August Large fruit, yellow skin with orange-red blush, orange flesh, freestone; self-fruitful.
Peaches
Not recommended, not reliably hardy in Iowa.

*Best adapted to northern (N), central (C), or southern (S) Iowa.

This article originally appeared in the April 29, 1992 issue, pp. , 1992 issue, pp. 63-65.

Category: