Ever wonder why everyone has a different approach to fruit growing? It took me a long time to understand all the different growing fruit members methods and why their methods were so different from mine. Please consider this when taking our advice. Allow me to explain more and consider Northeast Kansas wind speeds today our excessive. Our storms are not like the storms in many areas. My method is explained well here Pear trees that produce bushels of fruit and avoid disease. So someone is no doubt going to bring up a very valid point which is how can my method be different from @alan methods and he is a fruit growing genius in New York? Its a legitimate question which these pictures below of pear trees after a Kansas storm will explain. @alan must carefully maintenance prune every year to maintain his orchards. In Kansas we dont because our weather prunes for us and we clean up the mess of whats left. Kansas is unique in that wind will whip down through parts of my property snapping limbs under heavy fruit load and not breaking others in different locations. Im experiementing now with certain types of pears being more brittle than others and how much heavy foliage plays a part in weight of branches. Some pears have few leaves and others many. All the damage below was done last year and much more im not showing. Please dont feel sorry for me remember i have another 20 pears coming into production and every year i add more and graft more in an ever changing orchard. These trees i may top work to different varities. Change is typically a good thing.
Are there no trees strong enough to function as wind breaks?
There are windbreaks but remember this is Kansas and the wind whips over and around and changes directions. It ripped two storm doors off the house during the same storms this year. Both doors were locked and it sucked them off the house which happens as part of life here. These storms knocked down around a dozen 30’ ash trees. The best windbreak is our bitter enemy the western red cedar. The cedar poisons the soil with alleopathy and harbors various forms of pear and apple rusts. Lawrence is not far from here and they have 36 mph gusts Lawrence Wind Forecast, KS 66044 - WillyWeather today. My guess is out here in the country i would guess we are seeing gusts 5 or more mph higher. The storm that snapped those branches was more than twice this power i would estimate. Weather is colder at my location and more severe than the storms of nearby growers @Olpea and @39thparallel. @TurkeyCreekTrees has similar storms to those i do because he is much closer. Even a few miles can make a difference though. @39thparallel has another orchard nearby me and he has experienced the differences in locations.
I sure felt that wind today. Was out pruning trees.
Just as your first post starts out, there are different approaches of growing fruit. I keep all my trees at pedestrian height, including pears, so I don’t see much breakage. I lose some production from pears (they are on standard roots) because I have to prune so much, but I value pedestrian height so substantially that I prune them low anyway, just like all the other trees.
I do have a few pawpaws that I’ve let get tall, but that’s only because I don’t manage them at all. Don’t spray, prune, fertilize, nothing on the pawpaws. Just pick the fruit.
That must be challenging to keep your pears small they like to grow. In my experience pears if pruned to much send up lots of growth. Its interesting because i realize many of us on here are professional fruit growers and we all do things so different. @39thparallel Mike has beautiful espalier pears that are about 4’ . My approach is more to work with the pears instead of against them strictly focusing on the highest yield. The deer in my area can reach 8’ or more so the standards frustrate them. Someone without deer might have espalier pears. I realize ofcourse everyone is doing whats right for their location.
With the 100mph storms, a person prays that the trees from a windbreak don’t land on the trees in the orchard!
I didn’t go out today to see what damage last night’s solid covering of hail did to fruit spurs.
Your state is one of the few with more severe weather than ours in many parts of Nebraska. Parts of Texas can also be highly challenging and growers like @fruitnut adapted to that environment and went to a strictly green house orchard. Love that this forum is such a diverse group and i always learn something from everyone. @Olpea thats an interesting approach you do by keeping the pears thick and close to the ground to avoid storm damage and proably they are beautiful as well.
Good thing pears are forgiving! My ultimate goal is to spread trees around in a few places in the hopes that I can miss some of the “micro” events. I haven’t gotten there yet. Seems I move a little slower each day, but I have a hard time shrinking my goals!
This is a poplar and willow fast growing wind break (soft woods that beak easily but grow quickly) i planted 10 years ago that is on the other side of the orchard surrounding the house and garden which helps. Most severe straight line winds come from the north here. Autumn olive, mulberry and honeysuckle are planted on the other side to slow the wind down some. The photos are enlightening and then its more apparent what im dealing with.