I am in Eugene and planted two pear trees (Conference & Ubileen) 5 years ago. They are flourishing vegetatively, but have yet to flower. They are among 10 other kinds of fruit trees, which are doing fine. Explanations, suggestions?
Welcome to the forum, reichman,
One of the NPK's is about flowering, so I would look that up.
Do they seem healthy?
Is there any likeliness they got grafted onto pyrus betulafolia? The scion event in Canby always offers p. bet. which make a proper compatable graft with all pyrus pear species including european pear but it is never advisable due to the lack of flowering in that particular combination. If that's what it is? In which case your best option is to start falling in love with asian pears, all of which will be prolific on a p. bet. root system.
It's been about 8 years now since I grafted magness european pear onto p betulafolia at the grape farm of the Rombough family in Aurora. My goal was to have seeds that would hybridize from the betulafolia test rows in order to find hardy pyrus rootstocks for Alaska. They will intergraft, they will hybridize, but in this case the betulafolia prevented any flowering or fruit thus far in the magness pear. But some years there were some flowers and in the case of magness the flowers are male sterile so no point finding cross pollinated seed from the pistillate (female) bet trees for me.
But back to your original question. I am sure there are a few more prolific european pears that resemble european pears but are truly asian x european hybrids others know of. One I know of that is prolific is Dabney. Mine is grafted on an orcas pear/ohxf-333 only. But by virtue of the lack of producing orcas european pear at the hands of a very prolific Dabney you can accomplish almost the same thing.
There is another thing I almost forgot. I was told of a pear tree growing in Charlie's backyard in one of the central states that he, as a lad, never had flowers. On this farm his parents would make homemade ice-cream and all the leftovers would be tossed out the window next to the pear tree. Then the following season the pear fruited and only on the one side of the tree where the leftovers from ice-cream making had been.
Today Charlie who aquired his degree in agricural sciences and was the soils expert at UAF the State department of ag etc, is now retired, still remembers this from a lad. And I still remember him telling me that "at the time", "not all the micronutients were known that were important to trees".
I think he also told me that the missing trace elements at the time were later listed as trace elements, but I am not an expert like he was so my hunch is maybe boron. At any rate it is happy experiences like these and knowing the right people that that increase our knowledge (ie. trace minerals, sap flow etc).
If I had time I would go back to the Romboughs and spray micronutrients on the magness pear graft that I talked about earlier. If I did that I would use foliar seaweed fertilizer since I know it carries high quanities of every single nutrient known to man in the list (by todays standards). Then if it fruits next year then it will prove the lack of the pyrus betulafolia rootstock to absorb proper nutrients from the ground.
I had my soil tested many years ago and I bought and supplemented with the lacking nutrients. West of Cascade orchards are often lacking in calcium, boron, and zinc. Mine was. There were several trees that started to flower and fruit, and still have since then.