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The Duchess variety is one of the most widespread in the world. In Europe, this pear is known under the name Williams, in the CIS, the variety is called Duchess. The pear has earned wide popularity and worldwide fame for its mass of positive qualities: it is unpretentious to the soil and climate, gives consistently high yields, Duchesse fruits always receive high tasting ratings, they are well stored and are suitable for transportation, processing. It is recommended to grow Duchesse both in private households and on an industrial scale - the variety is universal. Several varieties of pear are known, the most persistent of them are successfully grown in Russia.
A description of the Duchess pear, recommendations for planting and growing it, photos and gardeners' reviews about this variety can be found in this article. Here we will talk about the two most popular types of Duchesse, and give a brief instruction on how to grow a pear tree.
Description of the variety
Pear Duchess has a very ancient history. It first appeared in the middle of the eighteenth century. Bred by a breeder from the English county of Berkshire. The original name of the variety is Williams, in honor of the farmer who first presented the pear at the international exhibition.
Important! The word "duchess" is translated as "duchess", that is, the variety is endowed with such qualities as pedigree, pride, beauty.
The variety has a lot of varieties, among them the most often cultivated are Duchesse de Bordeaux, Rouge Delrabue, Angoulême, Winter and Summer pear. It is worth talking about the last two species in more detail, since they are most often grown in the gardens of the country.
Pear variety Duchess Summer is characterized primarily by its unpretentiousness to the composition and type of soil. Of course, the largest yields can be achieved only on fertile and well-moistened land, but Duchesse can develop and bear fruit normally in any corner of the country.
Summer Duchess blooms relatively late, the inflorescences of this species are large and very beautiful. It is imperative to take into account the fact that this variety is not self-fertile, that is, to set pears, the tree needs pollinators. It is recommended to plant varieties with approximately the same flowering time near Summer Duchess. For the Duchess pear, the following pollinators are suitable:
- Forest Beauty;
- Bere Bosk;
- Favorite Kappa;
- Williams Bon-Chretien.
Duchess flowers are resistant to low temperatures, they rarely freeze out even in strong return frosts. The first fruits begin to set, somewhere, 5-6 years after planting the tree.
The fruits of a summer pear are medium in size, their weight is about 170 grams. Each adult tree can bear up to 250 kg of fruit, which allows us to declare the high yield of Summer Duchesse.
The shape of the fruit is elongated, the surface is bumpy, the peel is thin, yellowish, with small black specks. Pears have a very strong and pleasant aroma. The flesh of Summer Duchess is tender, very sweet and tasty, has a delicate aroma of nutmeg. At the tastings, the fruits deserve at least 4.8 points.
Harvesting begins in the second half of August. The fruits can be stored for 1-1.5 months (at a temperature of + 1- + 5 degrees), they tolerate transportation well. Pears are suitable for fresh consumption, they make very useful and nutritious dried fruits, aromatic preserves, confitures and jams.
The description of the Duchess Summer variety will be more complete if we say about all its advantages, such as:
- unpretentiousness to climate and soil;
- resistance to certain diseases, including scab;
- large and very beautiful fruits;
- great taste of pears;
- storage possibility, which is rare for summer varieties;
- universal purpose;
- high productivity.
The variety also has disadvantages, for example:
- sweet fruits like aphids and carnival, so trees need to be processed;
- the tree needs pollinators;
- Duchesse begins to bear fruit relatively late (5-6 years after planting).
Attention! Experienced gardeners note the fact that on dry soils, the sugar content in fruits is noticeably higher - pears are sweeter and more aromatic. Therefore, it is better to plant a tree on a hill and not get carried away with watering.
Gardeners' reviews of the summer variety are mostly positive. This pear is loved, first of all, for its unpretentiousness: in almost any growing conditions, Duchess pleases with stable yields and tasty fruits.
Description of the winter variety
The characteristics of the Winter Duchess are very different from the summer variety, but the two species have common qualities. What both Duchesses have in common is the appearance and taste of the fruits: winter pears are the same elongated and yellow, they are large and very tasty.
The most important difference between the varieties is the ripening time. Winter Duchess ripens around mid to late October. More precisely, it will even be said that the harvest of this pear is harvested during the autumn leaf fall, but the full ripening of the fruits occurs only after a few weeks.
In order for the fruits to fully ripen, they must be properly stored, controlling the level of temperature and humidity, protecting the crop from sunlight. By the way, the fruits of the Winter Duchess can be stored for a very long time - until March or April.
Unlike Summer, Winter Duchess is capricious in relation to the composition of the soil and its nutritional value: the tree loves well-fertilized, loose and moisture-consuming soils. The yield of the variety is high - at the level of one hundred kilograms per tree.
A winter pear also needs pollinators, suitable:
- Bere Ardanpon;
- Olivier de Sar.
Attention! Pollinating trees should be planted in close proximity to each other. If, for example, a suitable pear grows in a neighboring area, the owner does not have to worry about pollination of his Duchess. Otherwise, you will have to plant two trees of different varieties at once.
The fruits of the Winter variety are distinguished by the presence of a subtle sourness in taste. On the one hand, these pears have a slight "blush". Their mass is also several times greater - on average, about 600 grams.
The Winter variety has its advantages:
- large fruits of excellent commercial quality;
- long-term storage of the crop;
- high productivity;
- frost resistance of trees.
Advice! Pear fruits are very nutritious and healthy, they can become part of the diet and are suitable for baby food. Even in dried fruits, most of the vitamins and microelements are preserved, so it is recommended to eat them for everyone, without exception.
The disadvantages of the Winter Duchess are the same as those of the Summer - self-infertility and instability to scab. Do not forget about the requirements of the variety for the composition of the soil: the gardener will have to devote time to fertilizing and watering fruit trees.
Planting a Duchess pear begins with choosing a suitable place: preference should be given to an elevated site that is well lit and warmed up by the sun. The soil must be nutritious and well moistened, the seedling hole must be prepared in advance.
Since the Duchess saplings bud buds already in mid-April, this pear should be planted very early - in early spring. A hole, about a meter deep and 70 cm in diameter, has been dug since autumn. At the same time, the top fertile layer is mixed with three buckets of humus and placed in the planting pit. A glass of superphosphate and a liter of wood ash should also be added there. All fertilizers are mixed. The soil should sit down well so that the root collar of the seedling does not subsequently end up underground (this significantly inhibits the development of the pear tree).
A Duchess pear seedling is placed in the center of the pit and its roots are spread. Now the tree is carefully sprinkled with earth, watered.
Advice! You need to drive a wooden peg near the seedling. A young Duchess is tied to him so that he does not heel from the wind (shown in the photo).
How to care for a tree
Like all trees in the garden, the Duchess pear needs the attention of the owner. To get a good harvest of tasty fruits, you need to provide the following tree care:
- Pear trees must be watered on the eve of flowering. It should be noted that this period for the Summer and Winter variants does not coincide. A few weeks after the first watering, when the fruits begin to set, the tree is watered again. For the third time, the Duchess pear must be watered after harvest, that is, in the fall. If the summer in the region turned out to be dry and hot, the amount of watering should be increased. The calculation of the required amount of water is simple: for each year of its life, the pear “receives” two buckets of water.
- Mulch made from organic materials preserves the moisture of the soil around the pear, prevents the roots from exposing and drying out, additionally nourishes the tree, and protects it from frost.
- It is recommended to prune pear trees in the spring. Until the age of five, the seedlings undergo formative pruning, trying to give the crown the necessary appearance. In older pears, dry or diseased shoots are simply cut out (sanitary pruning), if necessary, rejuvenating pruning is performed.
- In spring, Duchess pears need to be treated with a preparation containing copper (copper or iron vitriol, Bordeaux liquid). To save the tree from scab, it is sprayed with a urea solution. In autumn, it is advisable to treat Duchess with an antifungal agent.
- There is no need to cover trees for the winter - the Duchess variety tolerates the winters of central Russia well. To protect the bark of young seedlings from rodents, you can wrap it with burlap or non-woven material in the fall.
- Every year the tree is fed with mineral complex fertilizers. With a frequency of once every three years, it is necessary to introduce organic matter (cow dung or bird droppings), scattering it around the pear.
It is not difficult to grow a Duchess pear - planting and caring for this fruit tree is completely ordinary.
Irina Viktorovna, Kostroma
We planted Pear Williams (or Duchess, as it is commonly called in Russia) about 15 years ago. The pollinator for her is the Forest Beauty, who is already about thirty years old. I can say that Duchess fruits are really very tasty - this is one of my favorite varieties. By the way, we have the Winter version of the variety, and we are quite happy with it. In the central part of the country where we live, we need to harvest in mid-October, or even earlier. Often the fruits do not have time to ripen by this time, but this is not a problem - pears even in storage become as ruddy and sweet as if they ripened under the sun on a tree. The harvest is stored until next spring, so we enjoy nutritious and healthy fruits all winter.
Pear Duchesse is a great option for a simple summer resident, owner of a suburban area or owner of a large farm. This variety is universal, as well as the purpose of the fruit: pears are very tasty fresh, they can be dried or dried, added to preserves and jams, and used as a filling for fragrant pies.
It is not difficult to grow Duchesse in your own garden: the rules of agricultural technology for this variety are very simple.