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 email@example.com
or by contacting Bell at http://afrsweb.usda.gov/DBell.htm.