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We have a small pear tree in our garden that is displaying an odd behaviour.

In the middle of the summer, all the leaves turned brown and fell. We assumed this to be a disease, such as Fire Blight or similar, and were about to dig it up, when we noticed a few fresh leaves on the lowest branches. We then left it for a bit to see what happened - and it seems to have thrived, now having a full complement of nice green leaves, and even a single tiny pear - but it's mid-November, so I'd expect a deciduous tree to be losing it's leaves now?

It was bought two years ago as a "patio" variety in a pot, but it did something similar last year, so we, assuming it was struggling for water in the pot, decided to plant it out properly. While on the patio it was next to a potted Camellia Sinensis, now it's alone as far as larger plants go.

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  • A picture would help..and your location and how often you water it in the summer....
    – kevinskio
    Nov 11 '20 at 16:19
  • A picture will help. To eliminate other possibilities, please check the variety and get an advise from a nursery about its tolerance to hot summers and how it responds to heat. Now, to eliminate possible diseases, most diseases appear in the infected areas first, and then spread further to other parts of the plant. Good pruning, sterilizing your shears and burning infected parts will help. The disease infects many fruit trees that are members of the Rosaceae family. There are additional symptoms you can check here just to be on the safe side: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_blight Nov 11 '20 at 17:06
  • @kevinsky We're in Southern England. Unfortunately we didn't think to take any pictures when it was displaying the symptoms.
    – Nick C
    Nov 12 '20 at 10:51
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The most likely explanation is drought; you don't say quite when you planted it in the garden, but if it was this year, it would have needed frequent applications of plentiful water from May onwards and any time it was dry and hot. Shrubs and trees need water supplementation at these times for the first two years after planting - after that, most will cope on their own unless the drought conditions last over 3 months. However, being a patio variety, it won't form an extensive root system even once it has settled in properly for quite some time (5 years or more, but see how it goes), so you may find you will need to keep it watered ongoing during unusually long hot, dry spells. Keeping a clear space with nothing else growing for 2 or 3 feet across at the base of the tree is advised - adding a 2/3 inch layer of organic mulch in spring to moist soil to help maintain moisture also helps, but don't allow the mulch to be in contact with the trunk.

As for the fact its grown new leaves and even produced a small fruit, don't worry about that, the leaves will drop as the weather gets colder.

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  • Thanks - it was this year that we planted it out, and we did have a couple of fairly hot spells in the early summer.
    – Nick C
    Nov 12 '20 at 10:52

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