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How to prune pear tree

How to prune pear treeWhat has been said of the apple applies equally well to the pear; but, since pears are grown both as standards and dwarfs in commercial orchards, a consideration of the pruning of both classes is necessary.

A low-headed pear tree is quite as desirable as a low-headed apple tree. In forming the head of the pear, however, more branches may be left than in the case of the apple. While three is given as the ideal number for the apple, as many as four or five may be retained by a well-grown pear tree. These should be distributed about the body so as to give practically an equal space between them, and, if possible, they should stand at different heights upon the main stem.

The number of branches to be left upon any particular tree must, however, be determined by the condition of the root. If much root has been lost, a smaller number of branches should be retained, and those retained should be shorter than in the case of a well-developed root. In general, however, the three, four, or five branches left upon the young pear tree should be shortened to about 10 or 12 inches in length.

Each of these should, at the close of the first season, be treated as though it were a separate plant, and the number of shoots which it has developed be reduced to either two or three, and these in turn shortened to at least 12 inches in length. This operation should be repeated from year to year until the tree comes into full bearing, when less shortening will be required. In fact, as the tree grows older it will be found that, instead of retaining the original length of the annual shoots, they will reduce themselves in many cases to 6 or 8 inches in length. This is due to the fact that the energy of the root is distributed through a large number of branches, rather than to a few.

By adhering to this system of pruning a symmetrical, broad-headed tree can be secured, and as fruit bearing increases the framework branches will tend to become more and more drooping.

Dwarf pears are as a rule pruned as pyramids. For this reason the nursery trees are handled very differently from standards. Branches are allowed to grow close to the ground and a central axis clothed with branches from near the ground height to its extremity is maintained rather than a bare trunk to height at which the head is desired, as in the standard tree.

In the pyramid these lateral branches are left longest near the ground and shortest near the apex of the pyramid. This method is adhered to from year to year in pruning the annual growth of the tree. The annual pruning of a pyramid is of even greater importance than in the case of the standard pear, for upon it depends the symmetrical development of the tree.

It is well known that orchard trees in general tend to make their greatest growth near the extremity of the leading branches. In other words, the leaders are the strongest growers and it is frequently a difficult task to stimulate lateral branches to grow sufficiently to preĀ­serve a symmetrical development in the tree. The manner, therefore, of cutting back the annual growth on the various parts of the tree must be carefully studied in order to preserve the symmetrical development desired.

In removing the annual growth from pyramidal trees it should be the aim to cut back to an inside bud each year. This will tend to make the growth of the tree more upright and more compact, while with a vase-formed tree it should be the object to cut to an outside bud each year.