I had a really nice pear tree. Last year I saw a dead branch in the middle of the tree so I cut it. But this year there are a lot of dead branches in the middle of the tree. I'm afraid I'm doing to lose my tree. Is there anything that could cause this problem?


Seems like my question got popular. I ended up paying someone to inject product in the soil to help the tree grow. I removed a lot of ants and made small hole to help with drainage. I cut down the dead branch and the tree is growing better than ever.

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  • Look at the roots. Is the soil, always damp with poor drainage? It also looks like it needs pruning back.
    – Organic
    May 25, 2016 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


I would guess winter freezes killed the branches and that the live parts of your tree will live without the problem progressing, per se. This sort of thing is fairly common with fruit trees, from what I've seen. Insects and/or nutritional issues may also have contributed.

It could have been caused by fire blight from last year, but your tree doesn't look particularly infected with it now. [EDIT 19 Jul 2019: One of our pear trees got it badly a year or two ago and had been clear for a couple years (but it still had some kind of disease with symptoms dissimilar from fireblight, although I imagine it came from the same bacteria).] If the problem was fire blight, you likely would have seen black, burned-looking leaves and branches where the dead ones are now last year. I don't see evidence of any remaining blackness from the picture you provided.


Fire blight is a common disease of many fruit bearing trees. As the name implies branches that are infected have dark "burn" marks on them. This reference describes the disease and symptoms as:

In spring, branch and trunk canker symptoms can appear as soon as trees begin active growth. The first sign is a watery, light tan bacterial ooze that exudes from cankers (small to large areas of dead bark that the pathogen killed during previous seasons) on branches, twigs, or trunks. The ooze turns dark after exposure to air, leaving streaks on branches or trunks. However, most cankers are small and inconspicuous; thus infections might not be noticed until later in spring when flowers, shoots, and/or young fruit shrivel and blacken.

The bacteria that causes this is Erwinia amylovora. Control methods include:

  • spraying bordeaux solution multiple times during the growing season
  • cutting off affected branches during the summer. Sanitation of tools is important! Disinfect between cuts.

This disease can be bad one year and nothing the next due to different weather. Some varieties are more susceptible than others.


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