I have some harrow sweet OHxF 87 and Drippin’ honey semi-dwarf bare roots I’m planting (1 each in ground and container).
For someone looking to keep them low (9-12’ or so), what form do you go for? Do most head the bare root or let it grow as central leader?
Don’t think Harrow sweet will be that hard to keep at that height regardless of how you prune it. Drippin honey won’t like being kept that short but it can be done. Here is a place to start When Pruning Pears theres a lot to learn - Brindilla, Tira savia, Chicken Paw to name a few terms . I’m likely the worst person to tell you how to keep pears short as I prefer fill sized pears for most of my orchard. @alan mentioned this article in that thread http://www.goodfruit.com/the-1-2-3-rule-of-pruning/ which demonstrates pruning techniques widely used. For the moment it will be a central leader then you can decide after they get a little larger.
@Clarkinks a.k.a. pear master - those are great references! Thanks so much! I read the article and watched the first part of the video and will have to finish it a bit later. Thanks for clarifying that for now, I am best to leave them as central leader.
In my case, I certainly would prefer lower branching. Unfortunately, these bare Harrow Sweet roots seem to have the first visible buds at 32" on the one in-ground, and 48" on the one I put in a container. They also do not have a terminal bud on the leader, but have had a heading cut… about 5-1/2’ tall.
The lower nubs don’t appear to be active buds.I understand the cut above a bud can cause branching from that bud, and that some latent buds will also be present.
Is there a way to encourage branching in the lower 1/2 of this 5-1/2’ tall stick? I guess that is why I was thinking heading it would be needed.
Yes if you want the trunk at 4’ you need to decide that. If you want it to branch left or right cut it above the bud. Whatever direction the bud is going is the direction the branch will take. Every bud is a potentional branch. Every one of your buds could branch like this then you sort out the keepers. I’m growing for fruit so I will get rid of those crazy wild branches there but keep the fruiting buds. Your Harrow sweet will fruit quickly. See how some crotch angles are wider you want those but you do not want narrow ones as they break in storms easily. All that said pears will do what they want don’t fight them to much or you won’t get fruit. They won’t look perfect ever. Central leader is what they like. They will split into 2-3 main branches which is perfect.
Pears like to grow like this which is wildly frustrating so you have two choices fight the pear forever or let it do some of what it wants and get tons of fruit. If you take out to many of the branches it stops fruiting and goes back to making vegetation. A pear is geared towards survival if you remove its branches it’s a battle for survival. The pear is genetically wired to grow taller the more branches you remove. It sees you like a deer eating its branches so it puts all its enenrgy to growing really fast away from the browsing mammals below eating its branches. In doing that it puts the energy in making branches and not fruit.
Thank you, Clark. I think I may not be asking very clearly. The top half of the stick has buds that are going green tip now. The bottom half appears to be growth from 1 year before the top half, and it appears as if the buds were rubbed off last year. Even if I don’t see a physical bud in the lower half, are you suggesting it may branch from the locations shown below, even if I don’t see a bud?
I don’t mind if the leader is taller than the current leader, but do want the branching to start pretty low from the ground and am not clear how to get there with these. With plums, peaches, etc, I would have headed around 30" and grown to open vase. With these, the green buds appear to be starting really high.
Appreciate your guidance.
Thanks so much - this concept I did not understand before today - that thread you reference was great to highlight that.
Yes those pears look good you will get plenty of lower branches. You don’t want the branches at the ground so it’s a common practice to rub buds out at 3-4 feet. Then your main trunk is 3 -4 feet tall. Start letting it branch out then just like it’s doing. See here is one of my baby yali. It’s about 4 feet tall if that. Don’t like that crooked top but it’s doing what it wants. It’s already got way to many blooms. I’m growing for fruit not for vegetative growth. You can see in relation to the dog it’s very small.
Ok, thanks - I’ll let it go (no heading, other than the one that is broken and will work with the form over time. I think where it is branching on the in-ground is good. lower then 4’ on the container would be good, and maybe over time some strategic cuts might encourage that. Many, many thanks!!
Your welcome just remember sometimes people get into trouble fighting with a pear to make it pretty but it won’t do that often they grow in a way that makes you want to reach for the pruners. Don’t fall into that trap you will fight that pear if you do. Let the fruit load slow down that Harrow sweet. If you leave it alone to grow straight up it will fruit very quickly. Then at 10 feet make your top cut every year. Some years it will get 15 feet some 12 feet but that’s determined by how much fruit it’s carrying. People think chopping the pear off at 8 feet will keep it at 8 feet but no it doesn’t work like that let it bloom set fruit then chop 2 feet off the top and make the fruit bigger the tree shorter and have your cake and eat it to. Fireblight likes fresh cuts and blooms so a copper spray before is advised but not at the time the flowers are open, just before is better. Many times my pears bloom in 1 - 5 years. Harrow sweet produces fruit in 1 -3 years for me depending on the size of the tree. A tree that size could bear a fruit or two next year if you leave it alone and fertilize it good.
Well noted… and definitely going for fruit, but not pretty
Ok, that is great to know… chop the top after fruit sets, and that will work in my favor. Definitely excited about getting some harrow sweet pears. I am thinking I will graft the small yellow onto it, as well.
I was thinking I shouldn’t fertilize in early years, as the roots might not spread, but doesn’t sound like that is a real concern; now I need to learn about fertilizing young trees
Put down wood chips a few inches thick all around the base several feet out to give it all the water it needs all the time. It’s my policy to put down aged cow manure covered with woodchips like I did with these cherry bushes.
Try notching above the buds that you want to turn into branches.
Skillcult has a few videos on this technique: