|Written by Dena Bolton|
Intro:Â The Bartlett pear tree is one of the state trees of Tennessee where I live. This particular tree produces yellow fruit that is extremely sweet and juicy. The Bartlett pear tree is hardy in zones 4-9 and quite popular among Tennessee growers, since this fruit tree does very well in Tennesseeâs zone 6 climate. Anyone deciding to grow their own Bartlett pears can purchase them from numerous garden centers and local growers; however, there are several things for which the buyer should look when purchasing a Bartlett pear tree in order to get a healthy tree that will have a better chance of surviving and producing fruit.
Step 1:Â Look for healthy top growth. This means that the top of the tree should be green and free of any dying or dead leaves.
Step 2:Â Make sure the size of the top growth is in proportion with the size of the root ball. In other words, the root ball should be large enough to support the size of the tree. If the tree is not able to stand in its container without support or wobbles in the container and is not stable, the root ball is too small for the tree.
Step 3:Â Determine that there is a dominate leader branch. The leader branch is actually an extension of the main trunk and the part from which other branches grow. You want to make sure that this part of the tree is sturdy and growing straight up from the main trunk.
Step 4:Â Check for cuts, wounds, or scars on the trunk of the tree. The wood on the trunk should be smooth and free of any nicks and cuts that can allow diseases to enter the tree.
Step 5:Â Observe the growth of the branches. The branches growing out of the tree should be evenly spaced apart and not have a large gap between one or two branches on the tree. There should also not be any branches overlapping and rubbing against each other.
Step 6:Â Look for exposed roots above the soil. You do not want to buy any tree that has roots showing above the soil of the tree or encircling the top of the soil.
Step 7:Â Do not buy a tree that has several crushed roots or roots that have not been cut cleanly. If the tree is in a pot, just pull it up to look at the roots. If it is in a burlap bag, you can untie the bag to check the roots. If the tree has lots of roots that are crushed or do not have clean cuts; i.e., are torn, then the tree will not grow as well or may even not survive.
â˘You will frequently find healthier trees at local growers than you will at large retail centers.
â˘Buying the largest tree on the lot is not always the best buy. All trees for sale have been dug up and often larger trees suffer from having more of their roots damaged by the process, since more of their larger root systems must be cut away in order to place them in containers for sale. It will take longer for these trees to take hold in your landscape and frequently they will not make it. You will have more success if you buy a smaller tree. (The smaller tree is also less expensive.)