Pruning a 1 year old LeConte Pear tree

I planted this LeConte from Womack’s on Cally a year ago, & haven’t done any pruning yet. I was hoping for a central leader pear tree.

Texas A&M websites would have cut off the 5 waterspouts, & the very large limb veering to the right. Other posters have said they’d leave pear trees alone for the first few years, the tree knows best what to do.

What would you do?

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Can you prune back to 3 buds or so on those straight up shoots from the two lateral branches and let center leader more energy to grow. I also think that the shoot that touch the center leader need to go completely.


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IMHO: I wouldn’t let this just do it’s own thing. You’ll get a mess very quickly. All of the upward growth will compete against your central leader. Begin training to get fruit earlier. Cut off the water sprouts or bend them to horizontal. Cut all the water sprouts that are under about 18" to 2-3 buds to encourage spur developement – any thing over that, bend down or cut it off. Maintain the central leader as it is now. Train sprouting buds on the leader to grow out with good angles using clothespins. The big branch on the right side with the water sprouts, I’d probably prune off; It’s attachment point is too close to the other branch and it’s crotch angle doesn’t look ideal. I’d be focusing on bending all branches to horizontal to encourage spurring.

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Several limbs are competing for the dominate upward leader. You could cut these two limbs and pull the other one down. The center will then become a dominate upward growing tree. You could also pull the competing limbs down and this would also allow the center to grow upward at a faster pace. There are many other ways to get a central leader. Good luck with it. Bill

PS can you reach the green from your yard?


If you look closely I would bet the central leader was tipped when you bought the tree. The pear is growing like it’s retaliating for an earlier pruning. To fix the problem that straight up growth does need to come off. Keep the side branches lateral with 1 central leader.

at the very least the left sucker should be removed and the limb with most of the suckers on it should be removed (or trim off half of that limb, cut off the suckers, but leave the second one from the right and prune it at a bud in the direction you’d like a branch to grow). I’d also remove the bottom most limb growing almost completely horizontally. Just my opinion…

It’s all been said before but there a couple of rules that the tree has violated 1. Narrow crotch angles can be bad in my area leading to later structural problems in storms 2. Straight up growth only causes problems but never gets you fruit 3. Limbs as large as the one are to big around to be supported by that tree ( see the trunk diameter). What I think caused all that excess straight up growth was someone you bought the tree from tipped the central leader and that growth was the pears response. The pear will do the same response again but this time you need to be there bending and snipping off one inch branches this spring. It will send out lots of excessive new growth. Lateral branches are good but don’t let them grow down. I have grown branches down to make a tree produce fruit earlier than normal. Typically growing branches down is not a desirable practice because the tree will not reach its full height because it produces fruit very quickly. In the case of the warren pear or similar trees it’s a way to force a slow to fruit tree into fruiting many years prior to when it normally would. I’m not a big fan of excessive pruning though shaping a tree when it’s young by pruning and branch bending will prevent uneccesary pruning later.

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Thanks everyone. Time for some pruning