Beurre Hardy pear: history, pollination & taste


I am currently working on my master's in agricultural sciences, specialising in plant sciences. In my free time, I am passionate about growing my own fruit and veg. I find a real sense of balance gardening at my parent's house. When I'm not in the garden, I like to go hiking to discover amazing photo ops.

Favourite fruit: currants and blackberries
Favourite vegetables: carrots, mushrooms and onions

‘Beurre Hardy’ is a heritage pear variety from France that is still very popular today. The ‘Beurre Hardy’ pear tree is a robust variety with delicate, melt-in-the-mouth, aromatic fruits.

Pyrus beurre hardy ripe fruit cut open
‘Beurre Hardy’ pears have a delicate flavour [Photo: D. Pimborough/]

Looking for a robust pear tree for your garden? Then look no further. The variety ‘Beurre Hardy’ may be for you! Read on to find out how to grow this pear variety at home, and what sets its fruits apart.

‘Beurre Hardy’ pear: profile

Synonym'French Butter pear'
FruitMedium to large; yellow-ochre to green base colour, orange-brown on sunny side; even russeting
FlavourJuicy, refreshing, subtle tanginess
YieldFairly regular
Harvest timeFrom beginning of September
Ripe to eat
Mid-September to end of October
Shelf lifeBad; can only be stored until the end of October
GrowthVery vigorous
ClimateDoes not tolerate windy and overly dry locations
Pests and diseases
Susceptible to scab, stony pit virus and fruit tree canker

History and origin

Pyrus communis ‘Beurre Hardy’ is a heritage pear variety, with a loyal following among pear lovers. The variety was first cultivated in France, in 1820 by Monsieur Bonnet, and came to the market soon after under the name ‘Beurre Hardy’.

‘Beurre Hardy’: taste and characteristics

‘Beurre Hardy’ fruits are medium-large dessert pears with truncated cone shapes. The surface of each pear has a distinctive, fine russeting that usually covers the entire fruit. Its yellow-ochre to green skin is rough and coarse – which is not to everyone’s taste – and becomes orange-brown under the sun.

‘Beurre Hardy’ pear flesh is yellow-white, juicy, melt-in-the-mouth and refreshing, with a fine tanginess. No wonder it is considered one of the best dessert pears in the world!

Ripe beurre hardy pears with russeting on skin
The variety is easily recognisable by its russeting all over [Photo: D. Pimborough/]

Tips on growing and care of ‘Beurre Hardy’ pears

The ‘Beurre Hardy’ pear variety displays vigorous growth. However, you can slow this down by grafting your tree onto a dwarf-growing rootstock. For instance, quince rootstocks both reduce ‘Beurre Hardy’s’ growth and increases its yield! For best results, we recommend ‘Quince C’, ‘Quince Sydow’ and ‘Quince A’. You could also reduce your tree’s growth with the particularly effective ‘Pyrodwarf’ rootstock.

Tip: Rootstocks can promote undesirable characteristics of ‘Beurre Hardy’. When grafted onto quince rootstocks, for instance, ‘Beurre Hardy’ is more sensitive to frost and lime.

‘Beurre Hardy’ is not ideal for espalier cultivation. That means, it does not grow well when tied to a frame. However, the tree is well suited to a spacious garden or orchard, where it can grow into a full tree. In such conditions, ‘Beurre Hardy’ will reach well over 5 metres tall, and form an upright, later overhanging, crown.

Fortunately, this pear variety is considered robust to disease, especially wood frost. Although they are susceptible to scab, stony pit virus and fruit tree canker, the trees are generally undemanding; only windy locations, or shallow, dry soil tend to impact its growth.

‘Beurre Hardy’ pear trees flower early to medium-early, but are quite tolerant to late frosts. For this reason, yields do not vary much from year to year – unless the tree is in a particularly poor location. The tree also produces plenty of pollen, which benefits bees and other pear trees nearby. Good pollinators for ‘Beurre Hardy’ include ‘Bosc Pear’, ‘Clapp’s Favourite’, ‘Louise Bonne of Jersey’ and ‘Charneux’.

Because of its vigorous growth, it is important to prune your ‘Beurre Hardy’ tree moderately every year. Heavy pruning promotes strong growth, but reduces yield and causes fluctuating harvests in the coming years (biennial bearing), especially on weak rootstocks and in mature trees. However, if your tree is growing upward, not branching and not producing fruiting wood, you will need to prune it heavily to stimulate growth.

Harvest and uses

Harvest ‘Beurre Hardy’ pears from early to mid-September, when they are still firm. They will be ready to eat after one to two weeks, once they have fully developed their flavour. Be sure to eat or process your pear harvest by the end of October, because these pears cannot be stored for long.

To extend the storage time of your pears, harvest them early. The end of August is good. In this way, they will stay fresher for longer, though they will not be as aromatic. ‘Beurre Hardy’ pears are also delicious baked and preserved.

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