‘Essential’ tip for a ‘booster harvest’ from pear trees – ‘no tree will thrive without’ it07/02/2022
Monty Don shares tips for pruning fruit trees
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Learning how to prune pear trees will help you achieve a bumper harvest. Whether you grow espalier, cordon, fan, potted or free-standing pears trees as part of your fruit and veg garden, learning how to prune pear trees correctly at the right time of year is fundamental to keep the trees fruiting productively.
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When learning how to prune pear trees, as with pruning other fruit trees in general, the most important lesson is to always use clean, sharp secateurs, snips, loppers or a hand saw depending on the size of the material you are cutting.
Steve Cummins of Cummins Nursery explained the importance of pruning pear trees.
He said: “Annual pruning and fruit thinning are essential to basic tree care.
“No tree will thrive without regular pruning, while thinning is often necessary to obtain optimal fruit quality and maintain a booster harvest.”
Gardeners should aim to create an open-vase shape in the centre of the tree to allow plenty of light and air to flow.
Air circulation is essential to reduce the spread of fungal diseases.
Zelah, gardener at Yeo Valley Organic advised: “Aim to create a wine glass shape – a trunk topped by a crown of branches forming a cup.
“Creating an open centre on your pear tree can be slightly tricky as the branches tend to be more upright.”
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In the summer it’s great to prune Espalier, fan and any cordon trained pear trees to help maintain their shape
If gardeners start pruning too early their tree will respond by throwing out lots of new luscious green foliage, whereas the aim is to concentrate energy into fruit production so wait until late summer to prune.
When you’re learning how to prune pear trees remember that if you want to simulate growth, winter prune; if you wish to restrict growth, prune in the summer.
This is especially useful if you are growing pear trees in a small garden.
Steve added: “Pruning seems very intimidating when you first start, but you shouldn’t be afraid of cutting your tree.
“Some of the worst cuts you can make are none at all.”
It is important for gardeners to know what they’re doing when hard pruning as this can attract decay, so avoid taking out large branches unless absolutely essential; likewise do not remove tiny shoots.
Pruning will promote new vigorous growth, so unless you must remove this material, just leave it be.
Fungal diseases can enter open wounds so consider all cuts made, and consider if you really need to make that cut.
It is better to prune minimally rather than too much.
Compared to apple trees, pears are less vigorous so perform well even if only lightly pruned.
Zelah advised: “Once your tree is established try to keep pruning to a minimum if possible.
“If your tree is producing a good crop every year there is an argument to be made about doing absolutely nothing.”
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