How to Properly Prune Your Pear Tree - Instructions in this tutorial

How to Properly Prune Your Pear Tree - Instructions in this tutorial

Why does a pear tree make sense?

Pears are one of the fastest growing fruit trees . Characteristic for their appearance is a slender pyramidal crown with numerous, tightly upright shoots. Both attributes require the occasional use of scissors and saws. It is important to reduce the vigor and bring it into a format suitable for gardening. Furthermore, steep shoots are not suitable for fruit wood, which must be corrected in the context of pruning. Last but not least, you should keep on the heels of the cheeky wild shoots that sprout from the substrate and want to overgrow the noble pear.

also read

  • How to properly care for your pear tree!
  • Growing a pear tree yourself - this is how you grow your own tree
  • Grow a pear tree as a high trunk - ideal for orchards

Types of cuts and dates in brief

A pear tree bears the most productive fruit wood on two- and three-year-old long shoots in the form of short skewers, each with a flower bud. It is advantageous to assess that fruit wood remains vital for up to 6 years . From year to year the skewers branch out more and more, diligently bearing flower buds that turn into juicy pears. The pruning is aimed at building a stable, permanent framework for the short-lived fruit wood in the first few years . Specifically, this means that following the upbringing cut, a pear tree has to be cut at intervals of 5 or 6 years. The following table summarizes all relevant types of cuts and recommended dates:

Cut typetargetbest datePeriod
Parenting cut round crownRaising high stems with an advantageous round crownearly spring (February to early March)every 6 to 15 years after planting
Conservation cut round crownThinning out dead wood, promoting young fruit woodearly spring (February to early March)every 3 to 5 years after completing their education
Parenting cut SpindelbaumBuild up the spindle tree in an ideal formearly spring (February to early March)from the 1st to the 3rd year
Conservation cut spindleMaintain spindle shape, promote fruit woodearly spring or summerfollowing upbringing

In parallel to each type of pruning, please pay attention to brazen wild shoots. The best pear tree varieties are refined on a sturdy wild base. Water shoots tirelessly sprout from this base, drawing off nutrients and water. With rapid growth, the blind shoots strive to overgrow the precious part. If you notice a wild instinct pointing upwards, please tear it off. A cut leaves too much tissue residue from which the cheeky wildlings sprout again.

Raising a pear tree with a round crown

A predominantly round crown is better exposed and easier to harvest. Although pears naturally form a conical crown, you can direct their growth into the advantageous round shape with a training cut. As illustrated in the figure below, the central drive and the scaffold branches are at a perfect angle to each other. Experience has shown that it takes 6 to 12 years to complete a perfect crown structure on the high or half trunk. How to do it right:

  • Select a vertical central shoot with three side shoots as the crown structure
  • Cut off all other side branches just before the trunk
  • Steep upwardly directed guide branches with wood spread out at an ideal angle of 45 to 60 degrees to the central shoot
  • Tie up to flat scaffolding shoots with sisal at the desired angle

From the second year of standing, the upbringing cut is dedicated to the optimal crown shape. Every spring, first remove all shoots growing inwards and vertically. On the four scaffolding shoots, cut back the previous year's growth by a third . It is important that the central drive continues to form an angle of 90 to 120 degrees with its guide branches. Even during the upbringing phase, the scaffold shoots bear the first, short fruit wood. Cut these fruit skewers to an ideal distance of 10 to 20 centimeters. It is important that you rigorously cut away all shoots that compete with the central shoot.

Raising pear tree


Spreading shows branches the perfect direction of growth

In order for a guide branch in the crown structure to produce valuable fruit wood, it must not grow too steeply. Ideally, the supporting crown shoot is at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees to the vertical central shoot . He does not strive for this growth by himself. By spreading a branch that is pointed upward, you direct the growth at the desired angle. This can be done very easily with pieces of wood that you notch at both ends. Elderberry or willow branches are ideal as a spreader. The tried and tested method is also suitable for bringing the scaffold shoots of a pear tree crown into the juice scales.

Conservation pruning promotes young fruit wood

If a pear tree has completed its training as a high or half trunk, pruning is only on the maintenance program every 3 to 5 years. Fruit wood thrives on the permanent crown structure, which gives you juicy pears for up to 5 years. The time periods in which you prune a majestic pear depend on the local conditions, the potential canopy extension and the variety being planted. The following cut has proven itself in the home garden:

  • Remove at the beginning: dead wood, competition with central shoot, inward shoots
  • Do not cut back the scaffolding shoots, but slim them down with a derivation cut
  • Rejuvenate hanging, old fruit shoots by cutting fruit wood

Please pay special attention to the shoots that initially grow flat out of the scaffold shoot and only later change into a steep upward growth. Valuable fruit wood will form on these branches over time. Do not remove or spread these shoots. Under the weight of their fruits, they bow down by themselves.


Fruit wood is the focus of pruning - this is how the fruit wood cut succeeds

If a fruit shoot has carried its sweet pear load for several years, it bends to the ground. At the same time, vitality and the ability to flower significantly decrease. After 6 years at the latest, it is time for a rejuvenating fruit wood cut. As the illustration below shows, the aged fruit wood makes room for a young shoot garnished with buds, which grows diagonally upwards and outwards. Make the cut where both shoots fork.

Cutting pear tree

Raising and maintaining pear tree as a spindle

In the modern home garden, cultivation space is limited. Of course, you don't have to do without the pleasure of home-grown pears. Cultivated as a space-saving spindle tree, there is a suitable place for the pear in the smallest garden. Another advantage of the pear spindle is that the harvest begins early in the second or third year of standing . To Complete Education and Maintenance with Ease:

  • Pear spindles develop with 1 dominant central shoot, from which 5 to 7 side shoots branch off as fruit wood
  • 1st and 2nd year: remove excess steep shoots, lateral fruit shoots slim down to an inner young shoot
  • From the 3rd year: strongly ramified side branches lead to a short, young side shoot
  • Every year: cut out dead, awkward and weak branches

If there are not enough side shoots along the central shoot at a shallow angle of 45 to 60 degrees, spread the most promising specimens, similar to raising a round crown on a high stem. All other steep drives are removed. Only shorten the central drive when the spindle has reached its final height. The conservation cut focuses on the clearing of dead wood and the rejuvenating fruit wood cut.

frequently asked Questions

Is a second pear tree absolutely necessary for fertilization?

All pears are dependent on a suitable pollinator in close proximity. Mother Nature did not envisage self-pollination for pear trees. Even efforts by competent fruit tree growers to produce self-pollinating varieties have so far failed. For a rich harvest of juicy, sweet pears, at least two trees are required.

Can I keep a pear tree in a bucket on the terrace?

Keeping a bucket in a sunny, sheltered location is no problem. It is important to note a balanced supply of water and nutrients. Furthermore, the vessel should have a volume of at least 25 liters.

Our pear tree bears a lot of fruit. Most rot and fall off before they are ripe. What can I do?

Too much fruit is pure stress for a pear tree. There is a lack of nutrients so that the individual fruits can ripen. Above all, a lack of potassium causes pears to rot prematurely, which plays into the hands of pests. Regular thinning of the crown in early spring helps prevent fruit rot. You should also rejuvenate aged fruit wood every three to five years. Starting with the leaves sprouting, we recommend a balanced, organic nutrient supply. In addition, you should give a maturing fertilizer in July and August, such as Thomaskali or Kalimagnesia.

The 3 most common mistakes

The pronounced cut tolerance allows cutting errors on a pear to be corrected for years. The following table lists three typical beginner mistakes in pear tree pruning and gives tips for correcting or effective prevention.

Cutting errorsDamageCorrection / prevention
Upbringing with too many scaffolding instinctstoo dense crown, poor quality fruit, risk of fruit rotSelect 3 evenly distributed side frame shoots, remove all others
Competitive shoots to the central shoot not thinned outShadows cast by steep shoots, massive growth in height, little fruit woodThinning out steep shoots that are in competition with the central shoot
Wild shoots not removedTotal failure after a few yearsuproot every game shoot promptly


If there is not enough space in the small garden to grow two pear trees, simply plant a tree with three types of pear. The “family tree pear” saves an additional pollinator. Since summer, autumn and winter pears gather on the tree, the time window for the harvest remains open for a particularly long time.