How should I shape my pear trees for max production?

I have three pear trees that started as native deer pears. I have grafted these extensively with Ayres, Keiffer and Bartlett scions, ending up with mostly Ayer due to fire blight in Tidewater Virginia. The trees are now 9 years old. I have repeatedly topped and grafted them, mostly to eliminate the native pear thorn problem. I am not getting any fruit on the uppermost grafts. Should I simply continue to prune all vertical growth? How can I maximize fruit production?

train branches to grow horizontally.

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Training my new pear scaffold branches to go horizontal. Kieffer grafted to callery last spring… working on scaffolds this spring.


Sometimes it can help to distress the tree right below the shy branch. A notch, partial girdle, hammering the bark hard enough to damage the cambium right below. But it’s not a dependable method.

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What an awesome strategy, I saw you post those sticks the other day but I couldn’t have pictured them working like this. Ingenious

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This is what works for me.

Of course, you can take it to a bit of an extreme, like I’ve been doing with this Warren pear:

I probably should have pruned those side branches a little shorter this winter. They are mostly only a single season’s growth, are about six to eight feet long, and are not thick enough yet to support a real fruit load without snapping. But since this is a Warren pear – notorious for slow-bearing – I decided to chance it and leave the branches at a rather ridiculous length, to see if they can strengthen themselves.

And my Warren pear is actually fruiting, despite only being on its fourth leaf. Only two pears, but I bet I wouldn’t have gotten those without branch bending.

Fingers crossed that it ramps up production even more next year.

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Looks like that - or some version of that - will have to be the answer. My trees are already 15 - 20 feet tall. The lower branches are going well, but have never been pruned since grafted on. When fruited, they droop enough that the deer help themselves. My problem is with the upper branches which are still growing vertically from previous top worked bark grafts. The grafts are now 6 - 10 feet tall but are not flowering or bearing. I’m thinking I may have to just cut the tree trunk at the 10 foot point and not let anything go higher. Any thoughts?

@Gkight … I went to Walmart and TSC … hoping to find something to help strap down new scadfold branches… no luck. Searched Amazon a bit… still no luck.

Went into my woods… and ended up with several of these.

Attached it with a few wraps of parafilm… there you go… a home made scaffold branch tie down.



Yeah that’s fantastic I may try to make a couple for the apple and pear

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