Is it ok to trim Pear tree over 25%

Hello all, I recently bought a house that has multiple neglect fruit trees and I have began to trim them all. I have a Pear tree that is way to tall and have had multiple branches break off from the top due to the wind and weight of fruit on them. Would the tree be able to survive and produce fruit it I trimmed it back to half the height?


Hi Ricky
Welcome to the site. It’s a timely question as we go into dormant season. Chances are with the fruit and foliage off soon, there is little risk of breakage over the winter so you have plenty time to plan on a desired course of action. I can explain what I would do and that may help you plan your actions:

  1. I would use the next several months to continue to solicit advice from other members who grow pears and there are several here who are very experienced with pears, @clarkinks being one of the best.
  2. If you like the current variety, collect one year old scionwood in late Jan to Feb before buds begin to swell.
  3. Knowing you will be cutting the scaffolds back to strengthen your tree, determine what other varieties you want on this tree and study top working videos on best practices. This is a good opportunity to sharpen grafting skills while you wait. Order your preferred varieties scion wood this winter from reliable sources.
  4. In spring when ambient temps begin to approach the optimum callousing temps for Apples/Pears – 13-18 deg C. ( 55.4 to 64.4F),
    You need to select those scaffolds most prone to damage to top work with your scions. Only be careful to avoid going overboard with your cuts so that you have adequate nurse limbs undisturbed that can keep you rootstock healthy while your scions take and begin to grow.
  5. If you are able to get good scion growth from springtime growth, you can then try additional summer grafting with either dormant or green wood during the late July to mid August period when summer grafts still have some time to heal and grow.
    That is how I would gradually over several growing seasons strengthen your mature pear
    Kent, wa


Yes the tree can survive but it will not appreciate you pruning it to half height. A tree when it gets pruned reacts by sending up more growth and less fruit. Fruit buds are typical on older branches not young branches with pears. Once a branch is 3 years old it will have many fruit buds but a one year old branch will hsve no fruit buds. So a pear tree when threatened by excessive loss of branches grows more branches and less fruit as mentioned. A herbivore might browse on a pear tree so the pear tree will attempt to put on new growth quickly to outgrow that browsing herbivore. In this case if you act like the herbivore the tree will send up rapid growth and reduced fruit until it gets back to its normal size. If you take off 5% per year it invigorates the tree and the tree may benefit from that in many locations. You have lost many of your pear producing branches already for the next 2 years. If you prune off more branches you could lose all pears for years to come. Back to your question can you prune a pear tree down and keep it short the answer is yes but its a 3 year minimum commitment with little fruit. See this link Pear trees that produce bushels of fruit and avoid disease


I ran across this video that might be useful to you:

It’s about plum trees specifically, but much of the information can be generalized.

As Dennis mentioned above, leaving a nurse limb is important. And this video also speaks to Clark’s comments about a 3 year minimum commitment with little fruit.


I took down a totally unproductive 25-30 foot 60 year old Duchess about 10 years ago and it is now an extremely productive 12 foot tall tree that can be picked. if i could, i would bring it down some more. Keep the water sprouts out and lower branches will spur.



Duchess D’ Angoulme is a different animal than most pears. They can be kept very short and very productive. It has a tendency to overbear and its wood is very brittle. That brittle wood will break before it gets very big in my area. Mine never get over 25 feet so far. Point is well made and i agree with you in your situation.