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Pruning Pear Tree

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by PeteB., Mar 13, 2003.

  1. PeteB.

    PeteB. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Hey Guys,

    Any info on pruning what I think is a Bradford Pear? Timing, amount, pricing, pros, cons...
    It is a mature tree, probably 12-15 yrs, and it looks like it hasn't been pruned in many years, if at all.
    It looks healthy, and it blooms well.

  2. capital

    capital LawnSite Member
    Messages: 118

    Now is a good time for pear trees, get to it before sap is running up, otherwise willl have to wait quite a bit, we usually hand prune them and select branchs crossing over and try and retain the nice shape of the tree. also be aware if they are using tree to break views up then do not want to thin to much out of tree
  3. PeteB.

    PeteB. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks for the info!
  4. PeteB.

    PeteB. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    How would you guys price pruning a Bradford Pear?
  5. ladibugg

    ladibugg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 79

    A 15 year old pear should be a pretty big tree. That can be quite a challenge if you can't get up to the top. They look funny if you only go as high as you can reach without getting to the top. So before you start, make sure you can finish.

    Two ways to prune it...one is to get the most and best fruit from the tree. This is the way I will try to convey.
    You will remove all dead or damaged wood. Up in Maine you still have a few weeks before you do this I would suspect. Here in SE Michigan we still have plenty of snow on the ground and everything is still frozen. Pears generally are coming awake here around April 1st and I think it would be even later for you. Try to judge when the ground thaws and do it right after that.

    Before you start to prune, look for the end of branches that curl to look like a candy cane. That hook on the end is a sign of fire-blight. If you see it, this about puts the cost of pruning through the roof. Cut all these wilted stems back about a foot from the visible damage. Dip your pruning tools in rubbing alcohol after each cut. This takes a heap of time.

    Then you will remove any branches that will rub against another under a gentle breeze. These braches that rub cause open wounds and are where diseases can get into the tree.

    When that is done and if you still have thick areas you will continue to open up the tree so sunlight can reach all the branches through a full canopy. The main trunk is allowed to provide all of the remaining branches; as opposed to Open Pruning which is the other proper way to prune fruit trees. . Never, never remove more than one third of the tree in one season. On a tree that has been neglected it could take three seasons to get it back into shape.

    One more hint...don't just head the branches to shape it. You actually should be thining the branches instead.

    That was fun, joel bixel L.L.L.M.
  6. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Bradford Pear trees will usually break and split in half. This happens often when they are more that 10 years old. Pruning can help.
  7. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    We refer to Bradford's as the "self-destructing" tree. Definately keep them topped. They tend to blow apart at the crotches otherwise.

    For future choice go w/ a Cleveland Select Pear or Redspire Pear. The heads are more columnar, and seam to hold up better.

  8. menchhofer

    menchhofer LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 33

    Bradford pears or any tree should not be topped.

    Cleveland and Redspire are slightly better than bradfords but the "new bradfords" or Aristocrat pears are best. Better branch attachment.
  9. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    The only way to prune a Bradford Pear is cutting it down completely. Replace it with a Cleveland Select Pear. Exact replica of a Bradford but disease resistant and stronger crotch joints which means no splitting.
  10. ipm

    ipm LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 264

    All the posts are very correct. All I can say is that the life span of a Bradford is 20-25 years. If it is as big as you say it is, and it has never been pruned, chances are it is going to split. They have a tendency to split at the crown, because of their shape. I would have an agreement signed that covers you, if the tree splits after you prune it. 2cs If it is blooming right now I would wait.

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