Back in April, 2011 I planted my first Asian pear tree, Pyrus pyrifolia, and until now I have had great luck weathering things,(no pun intended). As my luck goes, the year I plant my tree is the year the Cicadas show up and attempt to destroy the newest addition to my yard. With a little help, (some cheese cloth to protect it), my Asian pear tree won against the Cicadas! No sooner had I won that battle when the next enemy was up and ready to fight! The Japanese Beetle….. This small, ornate beetle has turned out to be a more dangerous foe than I had originally thought. I went out every morning and dutifully picked off the beetles. I also used a little trick I learned last year while protecting my blueberry bushes from this evil foe. You take a bowl of soapy water and hold it under the branch and shake the beetles to the water. They are unable to get out and they drown. If you leave their dead bodies around the plant, it helps to deter other beetles from coming near. This is a bit time consuming, but allows you to avoid using a pesticide. What makes these nasty bugs so bad is their multistage existence. They start in the ground as a grub feeding on the roots of your grass where they burrow deep to survive the winter. Around late June to July, and after they have killed your grass, they emerge to feed and breed. They love the leaves of soft wood and fruit trees/bushes and the female will land first in order to eat. Once there, she will send off a pheromone which attracts any male beetles within a 5 mile radius. They will come to her location, eat ,and then breed with her. Once the female is ready to lay eggs, she will drop to the ground and implant her larva, (future grubs), which start the cycle all over again. After some time, I got a little lazy in pulling off the beetles each day. I was only seeing one or two beetles per day and there were no more than a few even if I skipped a day of removing them. I had a short 2 day trip and I was not overly concerned with the beetles at this point. After all, we had survived those nasty cicadas! However, to my dismay, when I returned home the tree was 100% stripped of all her leaves! I was utterly devastated! I should have taken a picture right away but I was too crushed to even look at her. After so much hard work, I felt that I had failed. My little Asian pear tree had survived the planting, cicadas, and the horrible heat but after all of this, the Japanese Beetle prevailed. Shortly after this incident, it was time for us to go on another trip. I decided to just deal with the tree when we got back as I was sure I would be digging her up and starting over.
To my surprise, when I got back a few days ago from my trip, the tree was doing better than ever! I have to credit this to the quality of the plant. I have had other experiences with plants that have not gone as well. Last year, when I purchased plants from Walmart, (which was a bad idea), I found that they were inexpensive, but I lost half of them. One of the plants purchased at Walmart did not even make it to winter and the other died during winter. I had to replace these plants, so they did not end up being so cheap after all…. I did a great deal of research before purchasing more plants. In response to my bad experience with cheap plants, cost was not the biggest deciding factor. I wanted a company that had quality trees and plants and a knowledgeable staff to assist me, ( I had many questions). The company that I settled on was a place called Clifton’s Nursery. They had a nice website, reasonable prices, and when I called, they were happy to answer my questions. Also, this was the only place that had my Asian Pear tree in stock! The company is in California so I was a bit worried about shipping but it was still affordable even with the shipping included and I have had absolutely no regrets.
When my little Asian pear tree arrived, I wish I would have taken photos but I was so happy to have gotten my tree I did not even think about it. It came so nicely wrapped and even had instructions on its care. I will say, going forward, I plan to purchase everything from Clifton’s. I still need to replace my blueberry plants that died and my kids really want an Apple tree. I will keep you posted when we plant some more this fall!!