All was looking most promising with my 'Doyenne du Comice' pear tree until towards the end of May/beginning of June. Firstly the rough weather at that time scattered a good number of would be pears to the ground. I presumed that was the phenomenon known as the 'June Drop' so just muttered to myself. What followed though has been more traumatic when closer inspection the other day revealed that some of the remaining fruits have the pear equivalent of the 'Black Death'. Not a pretty sight as you can see from above! Research revealed that the pear has been affected by pear midge. This is a pest which causes the fruitlets to turn black and fall prematurely. Apparently though I've not done this yet but if I cut up open one of the afflicted fruits it will reveal lots of tiny white grubs. The advice is to remove affected fruitlets before they fall to the ground or to spray with some nasty sounding chemical just before the blossom opens.
So it looks as if this year's crop will be counted on two hands that is presuming all the other so far healthy fruits mature. I'm happy to report that the neighbouring pear has not been touched by the midge and although not exactly groaning with fruits it bears a couple of promising clusters one of which you can glimpse above. This fruit growing lark seems to be full of challenges but I remain optimistic that I will consume at least one of my own pears this year.
Thanks as always to Lucy over at 'Loose and Leafy', who enables us to share the ups and downs of a fascinating and diverse range of trees each month.