Paradoxical Response to Summer Pruning on Seckel Pear

My young Seckel is a slow grower, but I’m hoping to let it fruit next year. (It put out one bunch of flowers this year and set fruit but I removed them early since I think it needs to put its energy into growing–it’s still about 3.5 feet tall.) I’m growing it open-center vase style. I chose the major scaffold branches two years ago, I cut any laterals very short, and either remove or cut short any little growth that might compete with the scaffolds. Here’s the weird thing–My early summer snipping on the laterals seems to stimulate growth! I head the scaffolds in winter, which is supposed to stimulate growth from them, and I get a little. But I get MORE growth on the laterals that I’ve summer pruned than I get on the scaffolds. Is it A) that late spring/early summer cuts are functioning like winter cuts? (This is California, so it sure doesn’t feel like it.) or B) My tree is weird? I’ve now tried heading the scaffolds too, hoping that the tree will put some energy into extending them, but it’s too soon to know. If anyone knows how to handle this, please chime in. It wouldn’t be an issue if this tree weren’t such a slow grower!

1 Like

My seckel pear tends to be a pretty aggressive grower in zone 7b. If you can post a couple of pictures I’m sure that some great advise will follow. Good luck, Bill

1 Like

@Auburn,
How many years old was your seckle when it came into production? Wonder how @Lizzy seckle did this year. I have one seckel and like Lizzy mine grew very slowly this year. I did dedicate an entire tree to it that I top worked.

1 Like

In the western U.S., yes. I sense you have a good eye for pruning. Pears are worth experimentation. Getting the laterals going and forgoing fruit is a great idea.

1 Like

I don’t have enough space to designate a separate tree of Seckel so instead my setup is to graft limbs of different varieties. My two year limbs have not fruited yet with the one exception that is fruiting this year. I have been pulling these limbs down and I hope to have more next year.

1 Like

My Seckel was seven years before it produced a few fruits - then no more for a couple more years after that

This year I got maybe 30

I think there may be a pollination issue involved, tho, because it flowers well but late

1 Like

I had six seckels this year. It took ten years to get them! The squirrels got the rest this year.

3 Likes

I grafted a Seckel to a five year old tree this year so maybe that will cut my wait in half.

1 Like

Normally I have a few squirrels trying to help me harvest but for some unknown reason they have left me alone this year. Sorry about you loss.

Gosh, I think I got Seckel pears in the 2nd year. Seckel really, really likes it here. It has been the one of the only pears of my 17 pear cultivars that has set every year (along with Pineapple, which is a low chill cultivar). Not a lot - this year is the best set, have about 12 - and Seckel is to some degree self-fertile, which is apparent in my yard, since I don’t think I had anything else blooming that first year it set. I haven’t done anything to pull my branches more horizontal, either. Been too lazy, but I may do that with them all this fall. Mrsg, sorry about the #^*&%@ squirrels.

2 Likes

Sorry I haven’t responded, dealing with the complete destruction of my kitchen! But my Seckel is in its fifth year, I think, or sixth. It still hasn’t really put on much growth on the scaffolds. I get maybe five inches a year. I’ll post a picture soon, when I can. It only set three clusters of fruit this spring, and I let them persist, but after various critters, etc., there are now just two pears on it. (I have to start figuring out when to pick them!) As for why the growth is so slow, maybe it’s the problem so well illustrated in another post on this forum: when I first put it in (before I got online and found you all), I followed the nursery’s instructions and mixen in a lot of store-bought compost and soil builder. So the roots are probably just circling and circling in the hole and not spreading. Well, live and learn!

1 Like