Raised in 1770 in Berkshire, Conference is a reliable pear with a delicious juicy flavor. Dessert pears need a rich, well-drained moist soil, preferable light and loamy. They crop well in the southern England but need a wall or warm protected position further north. The more sun the better the yield. Grown as trees or bushes, pears can be left to themselves except for remedial pruning although they respond better than most fruit trees to a hard winter pruning and are almost as amenable to summer pruning, thus they can be trained to a variety of shapes. They benefit from growing on a wall and are ideal for training on wires as a cordon or espalier and is the only pear that will grow on a north facing wall. They look beautiful with their spreading white blossom in spring which is loved by bees and beneficial insects. The pears can also be kept in pots because of their amenable attitude to pruning.
Pears suffer from fewer diseases than apples. Provide the blossom miss the autumn frost and have a warm summer they usual produce a good crop. Dig in plenty of good manure and compost before planting. In spring, weed, mulch and spray with seaweed solution monthly and protect flowers from frosts. Summer, thin fruits and in autumn pick the fruit. In winter, prune hard or not at all and compost heavily.
The more sun your trees get the better your crops will be. Conference will fruit quite well by itself, but the crop size and fruit quality is much better when your trees are pollinated.
Characteristics of Conference Trees:
• Partially Self Fertile.
• Pollination Group A.
• Excellent pollinator.
• Not recommended for Organic growing.
• Recommended for Scotland & the North or partially shady sites in the South.
• Harvest in September, ripen until November.
Diseases: Conference has some susceptibility to Canker, Mildew and Scab.
If you spray your trees when necessary, there should be no problem, but this is not a good tree for organic growing.
History; Pears are native to Europe and Asia. The first cultivated varieties were selected from the wild in prehistory. Ancient Phoenicians and pre-Christian Romans grew several improved sorts. By the time of Cato there were at least half dozen varieties. Pliny records over forty and Palladiud fifty-six. The list grew and grew. In Britain in 1640 only five dozen were known but rose to more than seven hundred in 1842. This was mainly the result of the work of a few dedicated breeders in France and Belgium.