I just moved to a new house and discovered I have a few fruit trees. At the end of fall I found a pear on one... Looked to me like a Bosc pear but not sure. I want to bring it back and hopefully enjoy some pears this coming season. I need pruning help and I do have some pictures. It looks to have had some wind damge years ago and leans quite a bit. It's is flowering now but appears to have a section that might be dead maybe? I think there was also some fire blight but I trimmed that out. Also I have several large branches that droop like a weeping willow and the rest mostly reach upward. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have researched pruning but I need pruning for dummies lol I have photos but don't know how to add them

  • If you edit those pictures into your post it's likely someone will be able to help you. – Anubis Apr 2 '15 at 15:43
  • Well I'll tell you what, you don't want to prune unless your tree is dormant, so depending on where you are you want to wait until December, January anyway and that will give you time to learn what you need to do. – Escoce Apr 2 '15 at 16:02
  • Wasn't sure how to add photos – Gina Southard Apr 2 '15 at 16:41
  • So no pruning when there are flowers? – Gina Southard Apr 2 '15 at 16:42
  • 1
    @GinaSouthard blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/new-image-upload-support That will explain how to upload the pictures. – Anubis Apr 2 '15 at 18:04

I would do one of two things. One, is to call a professional to come in and do major adjustments. This would make it quick and hopefully make sure it's done right.

I'd personally choose option 2 and take the DIY root :)). Here is a link to a page I was actually looking at just now from the Clemson College of SC's Home and Garden Info Center:

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/tree_fruits_nuts/hgic1351.html

It'll give you the basics. You could probably go ahead and start fertilizing the plant to encourage new growth now, so that you'll have something to work with later. You'll notice that while the article says you need to wait for dormancy, you can prune dead wood and should prune out diseased wood, even if it's actively growing. You can also start to look at your tree and contemplate which limbs need to be cut and which stay.

Personally, when I prune a tree, I start with dead wood, then limbs that are crossing, then limbs growing to the inside or downward. After that, you need to imagine if a limb is going to fall into one of these categories in the future. If you're sure it will, it can go now and save the energy for other limbs you'll keep. You can read in the article about choose limbs with wide crotch angles and ones that are space at least 6" apart.

From my research in other areas, that is about strength. If the crotch angles are narrow, then they can break off more easily under stress. If you have many branches coming off in the same spot then you get excessive bark growth where it's filling in between the crotches. I can't remember what it's called from the video I was watching, but the man said that it will end up splitting there and damaging the tree, which is why you have branches space at least 6" apart and circling the tree. There are also ways to divert more energy to a branch or away from it to make sure they are evenly balanced by making a small cut into the bark above or below the limb. I believe it's called nicking or notching depending on whether it's above or below, so don't worry if the branch you want to keep is smaller than the others that will be with it. Good luck.

  • Thanks for the info!!! I will check out the link this weekend. I've trimmed away dead and diseased looking lbs and it has quite a few pears on it now. I think I will let the season go on and see what I get and then do a better pruning this winter. I'm just so excited to see what I get!! I have also discovered a lot of grape vines around too and persimmons trees so this year will be a learning experience for me!! – Gina Southard May 8 '15 at 12:00
  • You're welcome. I know it's too tempting to resist growing some pears not, but I'd probably remove most of them, for two reasons. One is that the tree can put energy into fully producing what's left. Another reason is that if you need to reshape this tree into an optimal growing shape, you'll need new branches and you won't get much in the way of that if it's putting all it's energy into growing. I was recently reading that even with properly maintained apple trees, they recommend removing some fruit so that what's left fully develops. It could be the same for a pear tree. Good luck. – Dalton May 8 '15 at 15:13

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