I was under the impression that pear trees don't last all that long, but then again, I have had zero experience with them. In the subdivision next to mine, the contractor planted pear trees in nearly every yard. But almost all of the trees eventually split down the middle and had to be removed. My friend was one of the last to succumb to this tragedy, having to yank out her tree last year. Do you know what the problem is that causes the trunks to split in half? Maybe the trees were the non-fruiting el-crappo ones you say should be avoided?
The pear trees that split are the landscape non fruiting version. The problem is that they have VERY heavy branching and unless a knowledgeable pruning is done at regular intervals the top gets too heavy and the tree can not support the weight of the branching. We see here in Michigan subdivisions full of these beautiful pear trees and i know they are one storm or strong wind away from death!!
PS does anyone have any variety preferences? Do you need 2 different varieties?
How do you know when to pick the pears? Do you do it while they are still firm? Think mine are Barlett or something similar. After you pick them do you put them in a brown bag to ripen like tomatoes or just sit them on the counter? This is first year I've gotten pears. I had to pick them because Hanna would have knocked them off...it did knock off the 4 I left on the tree...good thing I picked the others. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!