I recently acquired a property (~2 years ago) which included an Apple/Pear (I’m guessing) tree.
I’m assuming the tree is at least over 30 years old.
I’m going to list of things I’ve done in an attempt to take better care of the tree, but I’m by far at expert at any of this and would appreciate if someone with more experience can give some better guidance and help answer the following questions for me.
The fruit that the tree grows does contain seeds.
Here are photos of the tree: Imgur: The magic of the Internet
Things I’ve Done:
- Removed all weeds under and around the tree. There was also a berry tree/branch growing next to the tree, I removed that as well.
- I put up a brick border around the tree, added weed fabric (with holes to allow for water draining to the tree), then topped it off with gravel.
- Installed a hose bib along with a mister hose, which automatically waters the tree 3x a day. I’m in Philadelphia, PA, it does get hot here in the summers. The watering schedule is at sunrise, the afternoon, and at sunset.
- In the spring, I’ve been cutting off the up shoots on the tree, as I’ve been told they should be cut for fruit trees.
- I’ve cut down a few of the larger branches on the tree that were overlapping other large branches and causing scabs. The tree looked to have been let grow wild for years, there were overlaps all over the place, and I’m assuming the tree was also having air issues due to this.
Issues I’ve Noticed From Previous Summers:
- The fruit does grow fully but looks to have flyspeck when it goes.
- The fruit tastes very sour to the point where it’s not edible.
- Some of the fruit has seeds/spikes growing on the bottom, which I’d assume is disease/fungus?
- How can I get the fruit to grow so that it’s edible and healthy?
- Is water the tree 3x a day enough?
- Is cutting these up shoots on the tree every spring/summer OK?
- What type of tree do you think this is or do you know of a way that I can better identify it.
- Are cutting the overlaps OK even if their thicker branches?
Any other suggestions or recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated.
The goal here is to keep the tree with healthy growing fruit.
You have a pear tree that is affected by quince rust.
Tree that big does not need watering. Their roots should be big and wide enough to support the tree.
I’m not sure what that is, but somebody here will know. I can tell you that you’re overwatering; there is no fruit tree that needs water 3 times daily, but it doesn’t seem to mind the extra water.
Just as they say above.
It looks like you have an old pear, perhaps quite a bit older than 30 years, so your guess is reasonable. At some time (fifteen, twenty years ago?) the tree was apparently cut back to a stump and then sent out new shoots. I suspect you’ve removed a lot of competing growth, opening up and simplifying it nicely - all good to do. And I think you could cut out quite a bit more and only improve things.
But the nice thing about your tree is that it is very well suited to grafting. You could readily cut one of those younger uprights off at about a foot and graft another pear variety to it. Once you’ve done one you’ll want to do more!
You’ll find the search function here a portal to a wealth of practical, experience-based information, and there are a lot of eastern seaboard people here who can speak to your climate.
As for the taste of your pear it probably wasn’t ripe when you tried it; pears often need a chill period to ripen properly. You can test when they are ready to pick - which is before they are ready to eat - by cupping them in your hand and lifting gently to the horizontal. If they come off in your hand take them in and refrigerate them for a week or two or three, and then remove them as you need them to ripen and soften on the counter top.
Cutting the up shoots is very good practice and can be done at any time. And cutting the thick overlapping branches is OK too. It’s a good habit to remove structural wood in the dormant season, if only so you can better see what’s going on, but you can always remove deadwood, anything diseased, and rubbing branches. Smaller wood, especially on a rapidly growing tree, should be nipped out all the time. Remember, any time you remove wood that’s in the wrong place you free up energy for wood in the right places. But the tree also responds with new, young growth, and it can clog up the tree in a hurry. Removing the new growth in the summer reduces the amount of sugars that the tree can store in its roots, and that will help keep the tree from growing too big.
Thank you all for the replies.
I’ve opted to remove the gravel and some of the dirt under the gravel to expose the flare of the tree and remove the weed killer fabrics.
I have a few additional questions, as I’ve been getting grey/mixed answers.
Am I OK put this 3/4 white gravel stone on top of the floor and bottom of the tree trunk? Some people are saying it will be fine, others are saying not to.
As far the quince rust goes, there’s no other tree around here. There was what looked to be a berry vine/tree and I removed it. However, I vaguely remember reading something that said it’s a branch off of the pear tree and not something separate.
Should I be immediately removing all leaves and pears that have fungus rust on them?
Should I be spraying the entire tree with Copper Fungicide including the pears, leaves and roots?
I had the idea of buying a drip filter which could drip the Copper Fungicide into the water mister and possibly do this lightly every morning, if it would benefit the tree.
I’m having an extremely hard time finding a cure for these quince rust disease.
Hence this: https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/media/sfylifasufledu/baker/docs/pdf/horticulture/Cedar-Quince-Rust.pdf
It doesn’t seem as if there’s a definitive solution. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to best treat this please LMK.
Thank you all again for helping.
Here’s the photos: Imgur: The magic of the Internet
For quince rust, pick off all those damaged fruits this year, and next year after bloom spray myclobutanil (Immunox is one brand).
Copper is only sprayed in the early spring if at all. There is in general no big reason to spray copper on pears. Pears can do OK without much in the way of sprays, I would do nothing until you see a problem like this quince rust, then look into it and add a spray for that problem annually.
The stone is fine, that tree is big enough it doesn’t care too much what you do right at the base.
@scottfsmith I was told that dirt at the flares are bad and smother the tree from breathing. I’m not sure if this is true or not to be honest, after having dug it up today, there was 2-3" of dirt that was burying the flare and bottom of the tree for god knows how many years. With that being said, this tree grows like crazy with barely any watering/maintenance. I also had the dirt topped off with 4" of gravel. However, now I’m just going to add gravel without any dirt on top of the flare and use much less of it.
I should be picking all leaves that appear to be unhealthy as well (rust spots, or holes?
@scottfsmith @marknmt Here is an old photo I managed to dig up of the tree before I ever laid hands on it.