There seems to be a fair amount of agreement on the varieties of pear trees that you should be growing in North Texas. Most resources recommend fireblight resistant, Oriental hybrid varieties that can be just as good as the European pears.
Everyone seems to agree that the European pears such as Bartlett, Doyenne, Bosc, Comice, and D'Anjou do not do well in Texas because of fireblight. This is a real shame because these varieties are excellent varieties for fresh eating with their fine, sweet, melting flesh.
Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension recommends three varieties as the best for Texas and provides the following descriptions of them:
Warren. Excellent dessert quality in both the flesh and peel with a smooth, buttery texture and small- to medium size, red-blushed fruit. Ripens in August. Highly resistant to fire blight. A seedling tree discovered in Hattisburg, Mississippi by T. O. Warren.
Ayres. Excellent dessert quality, although not as good as Warren. Medium-size fruit with a brown russet and red blush. Ripens in August. Highly resistant to fire blight.
Magness. Excellent dessert quality with medium size fruit similar to Warren. Ripens in August. Highly resistant to fire blight.
Bob Wells of Bob Wells Nursery, an East Texas nursery specializing in fruit trees and bushes, also recommends Ayers which he says is a "very sweet summer pear." Mr. Wells also favors Orient which he says is a "large bell-shaped pear" that "ripens late summer" and is "very sweet." He also likes LeConte which he describes as a "crisp, sweet summer pear" with "great color."
Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension also lists these same varieties, along with several others, as additional options for Texas, but claims that they are inferior to Warren, Ayres, and Magness:
Maxine. Very good dessert quality with medium to large attractive fruit. Good to fair fire blight resistance. Ripens in August-early September. Reported to be the same pear as Starking Delicious.
Moonglow. Good dessert quality with medium to large fruit that ripens in August-early September. Good fire blight resistance.
Garber. Good dessert quality with medium to large, crisp-textured, attractive fruit of a shape similar to Delicious apples. Ripens in August. Good to fair fire blight resistance. Often called apple-pear or pear-apple.
LeConte. Good dessert quality, medium-size, attractive fruit that ripens in August-early September. Fair fire blight resistance. Fan-Still, a variety propagated and sold in the San Antonio area, appears to be a LeConte seedling with similar quality and reported better fire blight resistance.
Monterrey. Good dessert quality with large fruit that ripens in August-early September. Good fire blight resistance. Propagated and sold chiefly in the San Antonio area.
Orient. Fair dessert quality, coarse textured, russetted, medium to large fruit. A consistent, heavy bearer that ripens late August-September. Highly resistant to fire blight. Used primarily for canning/baking.
Kieffer. Old standard, coarse-textured fruit that are poor to fair for dessert use but good for canning and baking. A consistent, heavy bearer that ripens late September-October, highly resistant to fire blight.
You will note that AgriLife's opinion differs from Mr. Wells on LeConte and Orient, but that just goes to show that the issue of taste can often be very subjective to the individual with different people preferring different taste characteristics.
Two other varieties that you may want to consider that have been recommended for the South in other resources, are:
Seckel. Described as a small to medium yellow russetted pear with extraordinary flavor. The fruit is extremely sweet and very juicy with a distinctive, spicy, rich, aromatic flavor. It is also known as the "sugar" pear which is all I needed to hear! It is self-fertile, fireblight resistant, and requires 500 chill hours.
Pineapple. Crisp flesh which is said to have a pineapple flavor. It is yellow in color blushed with red. It is also self-fruitful and fireblight resistant. It requires approximately 150 chill hours.
Interesting, all of these suggestions seem to overlap more or less with an article in Mother Earth News which rated some of the top flavored pears as: Magness, Kieffer, Pineapple, Seckel, Warren, Maxine and Honeysweet.
Not previously mentioned, several other sources claim that the Potomac is also an excellent, fire-blight resistant variety introduced by the USDA in 1993 with rich buttery taste. It's parents are D'Angou and Moonglow.
My Pear Trees
I myself have planted the following varieties in my garden: Orient, Moonglow, Monterrey, Warren, Magness, Kieffer, Pineapple, and Seckle.
Ideas on Nurseries
If you are looking for an instant orchard, your choices are limited. Check now with your local nurseries to see what varieties they are or will be caring this Spring and in what sizes. I typically only see 5 gallon containers in my local nurseries.
Bob Wells Nursery will often carry 5, 10, and 15 gallon trees, so you can try that.
If you are a more patient person and are willing to plant a smaller tree, there are a lot of options out there. Some of them include:
Nurseries Outside of Texas