Cut down the most beautiful tree in my orchard today

It was a Korean Giant Asian pear that had been growing here for around 25 years. It originally came from Bear Creek nursery on Harbin rootstock which seems to work extremely well for A. pears, providing enough vigor to produce a stunningly well shaped tree.

The first few years it bore fruit I loved- sweet, juicy with a texture superior to any other A. pear I’ve grown or tasted- and huge (why is the adjective not giantic?), but for about a decade I’ve lost the desire for A. pears and seek out the best of Euros instead.

It was still worth its space because so many other people I know love its’ fruit, but every year returns have diminished due to coddling moth and stinkbugs. This year 90% of the fruit was damaged even though it received the same spray program as my apples that had very little damage at all.

It is not worth it to me to develop a separate spray program for fruit I don’t even much enjoy. It is interesting how a fruit type can bear excellent fruit without any spray at all at nearby sites can become a pest magnet here.

Alan, :sob:

Hey, I’m like the woman who lives in a shoe. My other children will benefit from a higher percentage of my parental resources. Do you know how much time it takes just to thin a full sized Asian pear tree?

I am glad that I’ve learned to cut down trees that don’t earn their keep, it is my only hope not to get completely overwhelmed. Unlike children, fruit trees require more and more of your time as they get older.

Culling a fruit tree is a hard thing to do for me. After so many devoted years to its well being and fruiting, I found I may have left a bit of my soul in there as well.

In all honest, I do know which tree in my back yard that needs such measure! :wink:


Good for you, Allen. I’m not at the point where I’m practical enough to do that. As you probably know, it’s only been a few years since I’ve conceded to myself that I was playing a losing game letting Nature hold the reins in pest management with the trees that I have in this growing area. I started tentatively, but not effectively, changing my approach. This year you and others on this form gave me a better understanding of what to use, when, and why. And @Olpea made the understanding of when, why, and how much fruit thinning to do very clear. Both were big steps for me, but wow! Those two things made a huge difference - the difference between nearly total loss and harvesting a good sized crop of nice sized, usable peaches.

A year ago I couldn’t get myself to prune more than bits pieces here and there. Part of it was the emotional aspect of cutting off apparently healthy growth, but most of the reason for me has been fear of making a mistake and doing harm that can’t be undone. My outlook has completely changed. Instead, I now find myself looking critically at the trees and planning what needs to go. It’s because I finally understand why and the beneficial long term effects. I’m actually looking forward to taking my saw and pruners to them next month.

If I ever get to the point that I’m ready to cut down my best looking tree for the reasons you did, that will be wonderful because it will mean both that I have a plenitude of other fruit that I enjoy, and the practicality to weigh effort vs enjoyment.

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I dug out 30 trees this week to make way for a new project. And they were only 2 yrs in the ground. I have more of all varieties that still interest me. Cut down a 12 yr pear that refused to bear. I’m death on trees. :smiling_imp:

I have a hard time permanently removing something. I usually try to move the plant to another location in hopes to improve production or growth. They only things I’ve permanently removed were a row of bush cherries. They flowered heavily and produced lots of cherries, but they tasted vile. I have the advantage of lots of space, so it isn’t necessary to remove a plant to make room for another.

Pears don’t transplant well- especially a 25 year old tree in rocky soil- big rocks. If I could have moved it I could have sold it for a nice piece of change.

I’m with Alan and fruitnut - it was torture for the first five years to remove a tree, it was hard for the next five, it was not too hard for the third five, and now its as much a relief as anything to get one tree out of my maintenance schedule. Chop! Chop! Chop! :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:


Yes!!! Scott’s three times tougher on trees than the ole nut.

Seems there’s a trend here. The longer you’ve been at this and the more varieties you’ve accumulated the easier it is to chop some out.

I’ll still have as many fruiting plants as ever, just different ones.

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Are you planning to graft a euro to the stump?

It’s serving as a trap tree. If it didn’t sacrifice it’s fruit, the apples would have been hit. At least that is what the pear would have said if it could talk :wink:

That pretty much describes me. The worst I’ve done to trees is move slow growing trees from a prime location into more cramped quarters (defragmenting my orchard, to use the computer term :smile: ).

I will eliminate berries. I can evaluate them much quicker and SWD has made me much faster on the trigger. Though I doubt that I’ll ever get to Scott’s level. A tendency to hoarding is too hard to overcome for that to happen.

Nope, I’ve already got more than enough pear trees to produce twice the fruit we can use.

One concept that helps take away the pain of removing any given tree is to tell oneself it is merely a clone on borrowed roots and not an actual individual tree. Call it quirky, but it actually pains me more to cut down a native maple than one of my own trees.

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I took out a couple of rows of cherries and even some plums & peaches but a pear tree would pain me. Pears have a certain nostalgia because of the length of time it takes to grow them and how long they will stay around “pears for your heirs”. I have no doubt some of my pears will out live me. Apples and nut trees bring that out in me as well. Some of my grandpas nut trees were hundreds of years old.

I got rid of all of my blueberries. They were becoming more trouble than
they were worth. So I’m devoting that space to exotic figs, which are the easiest things that I grow.

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Ditto. Gave them all away this past spring. Too much work to keep ph low.

Persimmons will move in.

It’s so funny (as in being quirky) that I’m 10 minutes from Ray and wound up drastically increasing my number of blueberries because they’ve been one of the most carefree things I grow. Ray, on the other hand, does a far better job of growing fruit trees than I.

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My 1/2 acre experimental orchard is going on its fifth leaf in a couple months but yes, I am eyeing some puny non-producers as taking up filled up space.

I decided to give most trees 5 years. If they didn’t start producing by then they would be considered cultivar failures.

Most trees seem to produce a few sample fruits (which may not be all that good) their 3rd year. I usually remove any 1 (rare) and 2 year old fruits as soon as I spot them except on peach/nectarine trees.

The last two years have been horrible for chill hours [today’s high projected of 58F and tonight’s low of 51F a prime example likely of another season of low chill accumulation]. So dumping non-producers (or poor producers) after a 5 year chance makes sense to me.

I’ll probably give cherry, pear and plum trees a 6th year chance due to slower developmental maturity.

Pears, cherries and E plums often take about 7 years to come into true bearing here in the northeast, some pears take longer than that. It’s a good reason to start off with the most precocious varieties possible.

A really nice E. plum that fruits young is Empress- for pears Harrow Sweet. I’m not really an expert on cherries- I don’t manage but 15 or so at just a few sites.

My sweet cherry on Gisela 5 started producing in year 3 and has not stopped since. Asian pears takes 3 years, too.