It’s a good idea to prune your pear trees regularly to encourage them to crop well. Pruning stimulates the growth of new fruiting wood. Done well, it also promotes air circulation to keep your tree healthy and allows plenty of light through the canopy to help your fruit to ripen. If you need advice on how and when to prune your pear tree, here’s a quick guide to get you started.
|Pruning your pear trees regularly will help light and air to circulate
Image: Pear 'Christie' from T&M
The best time to prune your pear tree is determined by how the tree is being grown. Free-standing trees should be tackled from mid-winter to early March when the leaves have fallen. But if a pear is being grown as a cordon, espalier or fan, it’s best pruned in summer, with just a light tidy up over winter.
Either way, it’s important to have the right tools: sharp secateurs, a pruning saw and, for free-standing trees, a ladder (preferably a tripod version with three legs).
|Standard pear trees should be pruned in winter when they've dropped their leaves
Image (via Alamy): Pear 'Doyenne du Comice' from T&M produces some of the finest tasting fruit
When pruning a standard pear tree, keep in mind the overall shape and err on the side of caution. It’s always better to prune too little than too much. The aim is to allow light into the centre of your tree, and remove a little old wood each year in order to stimulate new growth.
|This fan trained pear tree should be pruned in summer
Cordons, espaliers and fan-trained pear trees can be pruned from mid-July. Many of these trees are ornamental in nature, as well as grown for fruit, so maintaining an even shape is just as important as improving their cropping potential.
We hope we’ve given you plenty of tips to help you prune your pear trees successfully so that they continue to thrive and bear many years of delicious fruit.
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