Pear trees are one of the most popular choices for amateur horticulturists and home orchardists. Apart from the choice of trees or saplings, their spacing and their method of planting, another important aspect is the art of pear tree pruning. We look at why this is important and how to go about doing it.
Why to prune?
Pruning of trees gives them an orderly shape and appearance with keeps them looking good with the rest of your garden. However pruning is done not just for aesthetic reasons so that the tree has an even and orderly appearance. There are several other reasons why fruit trees are pruned.
Pruning helps to reduce the congestion in the branches to make them more productive. It also helps to remove dead and diseased wood and broken limbs of the tree and this is done by pruning branches back towards the main or lateral stem of the tree. Another important reason for pruning trees is to stimulate new growth; particularly the growth of flowers and fruit. Pruning trains the fruit to grow in a uniform and orderly manner. It also helps lengthen the life span of the tree.
Using proper pruning techniques helps open up the tree canopy and reduce density so that light penetration into the internal branches improves. Light penetration is vital to improve quality and number of amount produced. Pruning and training of fruit trees help to encourage the sort of growth that gives optimum fruit yields. If this is not done, the branches tend to grow very upright and they will not support a heavy load of fruit.
Pruning is also required to improve air circulation within the internal branches of the tree. This helps keep the inner foliage ventilated and dry, and less vulnerable to infection, disease and pests.
When to prune?
Pruning of pear trees is best done in winter. This helps to ensure that there is a good crop of fruit in the following season. It is the dormant season and hence suitable for pruning pear trees.
How to prune?
Large scale pruning that requires heavy machinery and equipment is best left to professionals, but there is much that you can accomplish on your own as well. Ask your nursery for a leaflet on pruning (maiden, pruning, two year, three year, four year pruning and so on), the dos and don’ts associated with the type of tree, its age, etc.