Apples and pears are traditionally the most common fruit crops in Russia. Although in terms of winter hardiness, pear trees are only in fourth place. In addition to apple trees, plums and cherries are ahead of them. True, even a hundred years ago, pears in Russia were called 10-20-meter giants with a huge crown, but with hard and not very tasty fruits. At present, with the advent of a large number of tasty and fruitful varieties with rather large fruits, it seems that a new southern culture has come to Russian gardens. And although in terms of winter hardiness they still could not get ahead of plums and cherries, most modern pear varieties can withstand frosts down to -26 ° -28 ° C.
In addition, many modern varieties are distinguished by earlier dates for the entry of trees into fruiting. Earlier, pears began to bear fruit no earlier than 5-6 years after planting. Now, many varieties of pears begin to bear fruit in the third or fourth year.
Among modern pears, varieties of foreign origin stand out. The Santa Maria pear is a typical example of this variety. Of course, they are not well adapted to the climatic and weather conditions of most regions of Russia. But for residents of the regions south of Voronezh, we can safely recommend this pear for planting.
Description of the variety
This variety is fraught with many mysteries, which are not always possible to solve due to its foreign origin. First, the Santa Maria variety was bred in Italy by the breeder A. Moretinni by crossing two varieties: the famous old variety Williams (or otherwise Duchess summer) and Koschia. Naturally, this variety has not yet managed to get into the State Register of Breeding Achievements.
But in the database of the All-Russian Research Institute for Breeding of Fruit Crops, there is a pear variety called Bere early Moretinni, the description of which also confirms that it was obtained by A. Moretinni by crossing Williams and Koschia varieties. This pear variety is early summer, that is, it ripens in late July - early August. And according to the description of the Santa Maria pear, it is a typical autumn variety with ripening dates in September. True, some foreign sources indicate that in the countries of southern Europe and Turkey, the fruits of this variety ripen at the end of July. Apparently, the ripening timing of the Italian Santa Maria pear has undergone serious changes, having fallen into the rather harsh climatic conditions of Russia.
Apparently, these two varieties are siblings with very similar characteristics. However, in the selection of pears, this is found, for example, the varieties Chudesnitsa, Fairy and Nika were obtained from the same parents.
Santa Maria pear trees can be classified as medium-sized, but due to their good compatibility with quince, this variety is often grafted onto a quince stock. As a result, the height of fruiting trees decreases, and the dates of the first fruiting, on the contrary, are approaching. So, the first fruits from trees of this variety can be obtained already in the third year after planting.
Attention! In addition, grafting on quince can improve the taste characteristics of pear fruits.
The trees of this variety are characterized by a compact, spherical crown.
The variety is partially self-fertile. He is able to bear fruit normally without additional help from pollinating trees. Nevertheless, to obtain stable and high yields, the following pear varieties can be recommended as pollinators:
- Abate Fetel;
Advice! If you can't find these varieties, don't be discouraged, almost any pear variety that blooms at about the same time as Santa Maria will make a good additional pollinator for her.
The Santa Maria variety has a high yield; from one adult tree, you can easily remove from 50 to 120 kg of delicious pears.
In addition, the description of the variety states that the Santa Maria pear is resistant to many unfavorable growth conditions, to scab and has a high winter hardiness. But since there are practically no reviews for this variety, because it recently appeared on sale in Russia, it is not possible to confirm or deny this information. It is known only from the data of the Association of Producers of Fruits, Berries and Planting Material (APPPM) in Russia that the Santa Maria variety is considered unstable in relation to fire blight of fruit crops, or otherwise to bacteriosis. Apparently, and in terms of winter hardiness, it can be recommended for cultivation only in more or less southern regions of Russia.
It is not for nothing that the fruits of the Santa Maria pear are sold in the most elite supermarkets and retail outlets in Russia. They really have incomparable appearance and taste characteristics:
- The shape of the fruit is classic pear-shaped, very regular. Moreover, all the fruits on the tree differ in uniformity in shape and size.
- The size of pears is quite decent, the average weight of one fruit is about 180 grams, but there are also those weighing up to 230 grams.
- The skin is thin, smooth, tender, yellow-green in color with small lenticels.
- The pulp is yellow-white, very tender and juicy, oily, no granularity, really "melts in the mouth".
- The taste of pears is excellent. They are distinguished by a real dessert taste with a slight harmonious sourness.
- The appearance of the fruit is also very attractive - when fully ripe, they acquire a beautiful bright lemon shade. And in places where the sun's rays directly fall, they leave a pretty blurry pink blush on the pears.
- Fruit preservation is average. According to some sources, Santa Maria pears can be stored for up to two weeks, and according to other sources, up to two months.
- The transportability of pears of this variety is quite acceptable.
- The use of the Santa Maria fruit is truly versatile.
The composition of pears includes phytoncides and the most valuable pectin substances. The fruits are very tasty and healthy fresh, they can be used to make various preparations for the winter - jams, marmalades, marshmallows, candied fruits, jams. In cooking, the unique taste of these pears is harmoniously combined with cheese, broccoli and many herbs. Bekmes, a unique healing pear honey, can be prepared from the fruits, as well as used to make various types of cider, kvass, compotes and essences.
When buying pear seedlings, especially those with an open root system, give preference to those that have a large number of small suction roots. It is better if the surface of the roots is protected with a special clay mash, which does not allow the roots to dry out for a period of up to 7 days. In the southern regions, it is optimal to plant the Santa Maria pear in the fall. If you live to the north, then it is better to plan the planting of a seedling in the spring, so that it has time to acclimatize well in a new place during the warm season.
When planting a pear seedling, make sure that the root collar is at ground level, in no case do not deepen it. Pears do not tolerate strong moisture in the area of the root collar. On the other hand, in order for a seedling to root well, it needs constant moisture maintenance, not only from the surface, but also at the depth of all the tips of its roots. To do this, a small groove is dug around the trunk in a circle, departing from the trunk about 70-80 cm and during the first month after planting, about one bucket of water is poured several times a week for each seedling.
Important! If the weather is hot and dry, then the watering rate is increased to two buckets per tree about three times a week.
In addition, make sure that no weeds grow in the near-trunk circle in the first year, for which the surface of the earth in it must be regularly loosened or mulched with a layer of organic matter 7-10 cm thick.
Top dressing, especially mineral fertilizing, should not be applied earlier than the pear sapling is two years old. Trees are fed either by spraying the branches or by watering in the same groove around the perimeter of the seedling crown.
Since the Santa Maria pear variety has recently appeared in our country, Russian gardeners have not yet had time to get to know him closely. In addition, it is often confused with the Belarusian pear variety “Prosto Maria”, which is somewhat similar to Santa Maria in many characteristics, but differs in greater frost resistance and later ripening periods.
Lyudmila, 32 years old, city
I met Santa Maria pears in the vegetable section of the supermarket. I really liked them in appearance, and when I tasted them, it turned out to be just a fairy tale. I found out that already in Russia you can find seedlings of this Italian variety. Now, I'm going to find them and be sure to plant this variety on my site next year.
Tatyana, 42 years old, Rostov region
Last year we just bought a dacha, and there is not a single fruit tree on it yet. So far last summer I planted two young pear seedlings of the varieties "Santa Maria" and "Abbot Fetel". I chose them according to the descriptions on the Internet and the recommendations of the sellers, now I hope to eat my own pears in a couple of years. In the meantime, I can not say anything, except that they survived the winter normally and went safely to growth.
Of course, the fruits of the Santa Maria pear are so attractive in appearance and taste that it is difficult to resist the temptation to plant and grow this variety in your area. But you should remember about the southern origin of this variety and correlate the climatic and weather conditions in your area and the ability of Santa Maria to withstand the harsh winter.