July 19, 2005,
ARS News Service: Shenandoah, the third fire
blight-resistant pear developed by Agricultural Research
Service horticulturist Richard Bell, has recently been
released. The luscious new pear will appeal to consumers
who enjoy rich-tasting fruit, because its higher-than-average
acidity gives it a snappy flavor. Shenandoah's relatively
high acidity is balanced with a high level of sugars
that makes it sweet.
Fire blight is a devastating pear disease caused by
a bacterium, Erwinia amylovora, native to North
America. It greatly limits pear production in eastern
and midwestern states, so growers in California, Oregon
and Washington produce most of the pears harvested in
the United States. Shenandoah can be grown in all production
regions, but will be especially useful in areas where
fire blight is prevalent.
In the Eastern United States, pears mature and are
harvested from early August through early October. Shenandoah
matures in September, about four weeks after the widely
grown Bartlett variety. Commercial and backyard pear
growers will find the new pear can be stored for up
to four months in cold air storage.
Bell and colleagues at the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research
Station in Kearneysville, W.Va., began developing the
original seedling of Shenandoah more than two decades
ago. Because pear trees have a long juvenile period,
they don't produce enough fruit for evaluation until
they are five to eight years old. The researchers then
spent an additional eight years studying how long the
Shenandoah pear tree takes to bear a crop, the quality
of the crop's yield and its consistency from one year
to the next.
Certified bud wood of Shenandoah is available to nurseries
from Pullman-based Washington State University's National
Research Support Project No. 5, by contacting manager
William Howell via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by contacting Bell at http://afrsweb.usda.gov/DBell.htm.