Author Topic: Pruning mature fruit trees  (Read 1068 times)

Offline kckndrgn

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Pruning mature fruit trees
« on: December 05, 2012, 03:34:50 PM »
In Sept of this year my wife and I purchased 22 acres of land, which has a mature pear tree on it.  When we closed on the land the tree was FULL of fruit and doing fairly well.

I know it's been years since anything was done to the tree, so I would like to get some help and information on what I can do to this tree and not hurt it.

Here is a shot of the base of the tree

PearTree by kckndrgn, on Flickr

The fruit that is/was produced seemed more suited for canning/baking as it was hard, even when fully ripe.  Also the skin had blemishes on them, I don't know if it is supposed to be that way of if the tree does have some sort of disease on it.

Any tips and advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

Offline rustyknife

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Re: Pruning mature fruit trees
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2012, 04:09:16 PM »
Well, you have a project for sure. First, kinda decide how you are going to utilize this tree. Doesn't look like you will be able to keep the height down so here's my best advise. Do your pruning, major make over, in the winter when the sap is down.

Cut those suckers off as close to the ground as you can. You can get some special paint to stop the tree from growing more suckers in the spring but you will have to keep after it. Also, as you remove the old suckers check to see if they have rubbed the bark off of the main tree anywhere. If so, you should put some topical covering over the bare spot as they will weep in the  spring attracting insects.

Cut the lower limbs off as high as you need to to be able to walk around the trunk area easily. If you want to limit the tree's height you may have to rent a lift of some sort to get you safely to the higher branches.

Most likely this tree is bound up in branches. As you work your way up through the tree pick 4 or 5 main branches to work with. Eliminate the rest. As you work, same thing applies as with the suckers. Look for limbs and branches that have been rubbing and cut them out. Insects love the sweet nectar that seeps from this kind of tree.

When you are working this tree over try to visualize a "canopy" of smaller branches, leaves and fruit growing from the 4 or 5 main branches you saved. Hope this all helps,best wishes.

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Pruning mature fruit trees
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 12:19:00 AM »
The fruit that is/was produced seemed more suited for canning/baking as it was hard, even when fully ripe.  Also the skin had blemishes on them, I don't know if it is supposed to be that way of if the tree does have some sort of disease on it.

Most pear varieties don't ripen well on the tree.  If you let them mature too long on the tree, they'll get that gritty, mealy texture, or start to rot, or just stay hard as bullets.  You should pick them just a little "green" and ripen them off the tree.  For the best results, you should chill them for a day or two, then let them ripen at room temperature for a few days.  The exact time needed to chill and ripen varies with different pear varieties, so you may need to experiment.