Bosc pear: pollination, taste & more about Beurre Bosc pears

Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Lisa

I study agricultural sciences and am obsessed with being in nature. I love to spend my free time out in the fields or horse riding. Or you can find me at my raised bed in the garden, where I like to plant all kinds of crazy new vegetables.

Favourite fruit: apples
Favourite vegetables: courgettes and potatoes

The ‘Bosc’ pear, also known as ‘Beurre Bosc’, has buttery soft, melting flesh, and is an ideal heritage variety for growing in your garden. Here you will find all you need to know about the ‘Bosc’ pear.

tree of beurre bosc pear fruits
The regular yield of ‘Bosc’ pear ensures enjoyment year after year [Photo: Chiyacat/ Shutterstock.com]

The ‘Bosc’ tree, also known as ‘Beurre Bosc’ or the ‘Kaiser’ tree, bears fruit abundantly, even in old age. Its pears are best enjoyed fresh due to their sweet, delicately melting flesh and short shelf life. Read on to find out more!

‘Bosc’ pear: profile

Synonym'Beurre Bosc', 'Kaiser'
FruitMedium to large; yellow green skin with yellow brown russeting
FlavourSweet, very juicy
YieldRegular, medium-high to high
Harvest time
Mid-September
Ripe to eat
From October
Shelf life
Store in a cool place until December/beginning of January
Growth
Semi-dwarf; pyramidal crown
Climate
Suitable for a range of climates, also for medium altitudes
Pests and diseases
Susceptible to scab in some locations, moderately susceptible to stony pit virus

Origin and history of ‘Bosc’ pear

We do not know the origins of the ‘Bosc’ pear (Pyrus communis ‘Bosc’). However, botanists estimate that a chance ‘Bosc’ seedling emerged in Belgium or France at the beginning of the 19th century.

The pear was named after the director of Paris’ botanical garden: a man called Louis Bosc. However, in Germany, the pear came under the name ‘Kaiser Alexander’. It finally spread to the UK and the rest of the world under the name ‘Beurre Bosc’, meaning buttery ‘Bosc’.

Tip: The pear variety ‘Princess Marianne’ is easily confused with ‘Beurre Bosc’. Despite their similar appearance, however, ‘Princess Marianne’ is a different pear variety that ripens earlier and has a distinctly different taste.

Taste and characteristics

The medium to large ‘Bosc’ fruits have a long, narrow neck that widens at the bottom, forming a bottle-shape. The flesh narrows towards a pointing stalk, which occasionally sits upon a small flesh bulge.

‘Bosc’ pears are in fact green-yellow, although this is usually hidden behind yellow-brown russeting, which forms a lattice and can cover most of the fruit. ‘Bosc’ skin is rather rough and dry, but this does not make the pear unpleasant to eat, because its white-yellow flesh is so juicy, sweet and delicious.

‘Beurre Bosc’ pear tree: cultivation and care

The ‘Bosc’ pear tree can cope with many different growing conditions, and is cultivated widely, even at medium altitudes. Preferring warm and nutrient-rich soils that are not too moist or clay-rich, the tree is best placed in sandy, loamy, or humus-rich soil. Notably, the tree can react sensitively to excessive quantities of copper and sulphur in the soil.

ripe harvested beurre bosc pears
The typical yellow brown russeting makes it easy to distinguish from other pears [Photo: R Doran/ Shutterstock.com]

The ‘Bosc’ pear tree has moderately vigorous growth and a pyramidal crown. It needs annual pruning, so do remove old branches, and divert overhanging fruiting branches to more upright side shoots at least once a year.

‘Bosc’ trees form long fruit shoots and do not branch densely. For this reason, it is best to prune the tree several times in its first few years to encourage the growth of strong supporting branches. Old, unpruned trees often produce poor quality, hanging fruit wood that requires drastic rejuvenation. For more tips, read about pruning fruit trees.

You can cultivate ‘Beurre Bosc’ as a standard, semi-dwarf or dwarf pear tree. ‘Bosc’ is also a very popular espalier tree, although it is not ideal for this. Use the low-growing rootstock ‘Pyrodwarf’ for semi-dwarf or dwarf trees, and ‘Beurre Hardy’ for taller trees.

Tip: Do not use quinces as rootstock for this pear tree unless you are using an intermediary to graft ‘Bosc’ onto ‘Quince A’.

‘Bosc’ pear trees are only susceptible to scab in certain locations and moderately susceptible to stony pit virus. This makes the tree a better option than say, ‘Beurre Hardy’, which is more susceptible to disease.

The wood of ‘Beurre Bosc’ is sensitive to frost, but the blossom is usually resistant to late frosts. The flowers emerge between April and May, so ‘Conference’, ‘Williams Christ’ pear or ‘Clapp’s Favourite’ are ideal pollinators of ‘Bosc’ pear trees. If you can, combine these trees in your garden so that each variety pollinates the other!

Tip: When protecting your plants from the frost, avoid products with high levels of copper or sulphur, as ‘Bosc’ is sensitive to these elements.

You can expect a medium to high yield with ‘Bosc’. The fruit is consistent and usually good quality. However, a natural all-purpose fertiliser, such as our Plantura All Purpose Plant Food, can improve the odds. This particular fertiliser has a low sulphur content (2%), which is ideal for the sensitive ‘Bosc’, and provides long-lasting nutrition, which means you will not have to repeatedly fertilise your tree.

Plantura All Purpose Plant Food
Plantura All Purpose Plant Food

With a long-lasting effect, for healthy soil, child & pet friendly

Harvesting and using ‘Beurre Bosc’ pears

The ‘Bosc’ pear is ready to pick in mid-September, although it is ripe enough to eat from October. Pick ‘Bosc’ pears while they are still hard so that the fruit does not fall from the tree when it is fully ripe.

Store your fruit in a cool place, and you can enjoy their delicious taste until December or early January – the fruits keep at 0°C for two to four months. Larger fruits are best eaten straight from the tree, stewed or dried. They are not ideal for preserving, as the pears turn brown in the jar.

Jars of preserved beurre bosc pears
If you preserve your ‘Bosc’ pears in a jar, you can enjoy them for even longer [Photo: Linda21/ Shutterstock.com]
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