I bought a new pear tree, Williams Bon Chretien, from a local garden centre yesterday and put it in the ground following the instructions. Watered roots while in its pot before planting, dug the hole suitable size and filled with the recommended soil and got it in with a stake and rubber tree tie facing into the most common prevailing wind. However the wind sometimes feels like it can come from any direction and it's not unknown to knock over some plant pots around the garden.

Spot too windy for a tree? Stake and tie not being suitable? Was the tree not good quality from the garden centre? Stake badly positioned? Weak tree type and a different type would work?

The tree and the stake are solid in the ground still and the tree has snapped a bit under where the stake is tied as can be seen in the photos. I may have put the stake in too high/low?

The garden is surrounded by other gardens so I am confident to rule out animals causing this.

I feel like this tree cannot be saved. If it can be could you point me in the right direction? I would still love to have a tree in this spot and neighbours have trees, any tips are appreciated.

Pear tree snapped Pear tree snapped close up

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    What happened at the bottom of the stake? It looks like it must have either pulled out of the ground or snapped. If the former, you probably didn't put it in far enough; if the latter eiether the winds are very strong or it got hit by something solid -- both of which woul dtak emore than single staking to deal with. – Chris H Aug 1 '16 at 12:34
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    That's been wrenched off with some force - so far as I'm aware, there've been no hurricane force winds in your area, so I wonder if you have deer or something else invading the garden – Bamboo Aug 1 '16 at 12:46
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    The tree might be salvageable; cut it off clean just below the break and wait. – Ecnerwal Aug 1 '16 at 13:11
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    I hesitate to suggest this, but what about a person rather than deer - and surely you get foxes... but I agree, cut off, with clean, sterile loppers to tidy the snapped area and wait for regrowth. And unless its on very dwarfing rootstock, its too close to that fence... – Bamboo Aug 1 '16 at 14:01
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    Was this a Ball and Burlap tree or potted tree? There is every reason to NOT stake your next tree. Trees are built to deal with movement and movement causes the roots to grow deeper thicker and even the trunk gets wider. The best time to buy trees is fall. They lose their leaves and the prices are fabulous. They get to root without the stress of leaves as well! Look the tree up to find how large it will get and draw that on the ground to see if your spot is ideal. Don't disconnect the top, use duct tape and remove next spring. Thin the top of this little tree. – stormy Aug 1 '16 at 19:41
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I hate to go against the content of the comments from our other contributors but this tree is a write-off. It looks like you are in a small suburban garden where you do not have space for trees that are not going to look nice or produce for many years.

The break is above any graft point so it will rebud with fruit bearing growth but you will have lost a few years before it will establish any branch structure.

My suggestions are:

  • take it out of the ground and into the bin
  • get a new one
  • plant in the same area if convenient
  • stake in the same manner. Staking is useful for the first year of a new trees growth particularly if you are planting over a hard subsoil like chalk or rock. Remove all stakes after the first year but be prepared to support heavy fruit bearing branches in later years if you do not thin enough at fruit set
  • after planting the new tree cut back the branches to establish a solid structure. See this excellent answer for more on pears. This will decrease the weight the trunk has to support until it establishes itself.

As to why it broke I suspect the branch that has been cut off near the break was a point of weakness. Without a more detailed inspection it's hard to tell.

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