When Pruning Pears theres a lot to learn - Brindilla, Tira savia, Chicken Paw to name a few terms

This is a much watch video

for those of us who are not familiar with terms such as Brindilla, Tira savia, and Chicken Paw in terms of pear production. Most of us are glad to get fruit and feel successful when we do but there is much more to it than just producing fruit. Producing large pear fruit is a skill. Bending branches for fruit production should be kept at 45-50% angles and no more and other concepts such as that are discussed in this video. When I start to feel good at what I do someone like these guys comes a long and make me feel like the amateur I really am when it comes to pruning and training pears. I’m always glad to learn more and this is the stuff I’ve yet to find in a book. Hope it helps someone else as well.


I will have to watch this a little later and see what I can learn. I have really came to appreciated pears this year, I think the may be my favorite fruit😊. Sweet and juicy as a peach with the spiced of an Apple, just really good fruit.

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Thanks Clark, thats a great video. One of my pears has Chicken Paw now and I see I need to do something about it!

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Very good video, thanks Clark.

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Good video, thanks Clark. The tira savia cut is an interesting concept for limiting blind wood. I wonder how much of this video applies to standard sized trees, and where dwarf/high density strategies do not translate over to pears on full vigor roots.

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The video made my eye brows raise a few times as it provoked me to think similar thoughts in terms of vigor. Once the fruit bud concepts were thoroughly explained it was clear to me a lot of the things I did I only thought I understood. Those concepts seem to translate from dwarf to standard or to any vigor. The different types of wood on different trees eg. Bartlett, bosc etc was a concept I observed but never compensated for. Should probably email them and let them know how much I love the video and ask for a sequal. There are some pears I’ve seen that’s wood has buds very far apart and ones very close together similar to their examples. The entire time I spent thinking thoughts about calleryana, farm ingdale, oldhome, winter Nellis etc. The pruners cuts were very strategic as well.

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I hate lectures- just put the words in print in an organized way with clear illustrations and I can extract information in the most efficient manner possible. I am becoming increasingly grumpy about this as my hearing declines, but even when I was a student with better hearing, I much preferred working from text and using a professor by way of questions and answers. Save the speeches for politicians.

With this man’s strong accent I need subtitles.

I will study this video further when time permits- I’m sure the physical demonstrations will be easier for me to understand.

Clark, thank you very much for sharing this. It may make me cranky but it is interesting. Pruning for the perfect level of vigor (not too hot, not too cold) always involves the balance of spur wood to vegetative wood and upright shoots are always the most vigorous.

Whether you are pruning apples or pears, short, weak spur wood is going to be the most de-invigorating and too much of it will tend to cause biennial cropping and excessive fruit set on those years it sets.

You might find this a little clearer and more concise. Ende doesn’t write to impress as much as to illuminate. He’s genius at this.


Thanks for the link Alan. For many of us pruning is one of the most important and least understood concepts. Getting fruit is deceptive because we are starting down a path of success that will decline unless proper care is taken. We believe the fruit will be larger or better quality next year. Many of us see our storage full of apples and pears and don’t see we are our own worst enemy. My productive fruit trees i’m almost afraid to prune for fear of the upright new growth that occurs from overpruning. A good pear tree is worth its wait in gold. This informstion will help me to keep productive and get larger better quality fruit than before.

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I wish I could send you a better link of the man’s articles. I ordered an on-line book he wrote which was more or less a compilation of articles he wrote for Good Fruit Magazine (for commercial fruit growers). His methods of communication are designed for the kind of people who do this work in huge commercial operations, so he keeps it fairly simple and clear.

He actually gets paid by corporations that run thousands of acres of orchards to educate their workers. The link of the article I sent you seems to be truncated. Tree Fruit Magazine in Australia offers his books for sale. The one on pruning might be worth the investment.


I enjoyed the video and learned a lot. Wish this guy had a video dedicated to Apples rather than Pears.

I have noticed that not all of the experts suggest the same methods, especially on branch angles. Looks like the experts from two major tree fruit area (NY and Washington) may not be in agreement.


I think it is important to realize that high density pear plantings on a trellis is not an east coast thing- at least not yet. I think the advice in this video is not aimed at free standing trees on non-dwarfing root stocks. I just got a few minutes into his pruning demonstration and this became apparent.

The three year rule does not apply to entire branches on free standing trees- only to the spurs coming off the more or less permanent scaffolds.

The pruning in the video seems also designed to reduce the need for hand thinning. You can accomplish sizing up pears just by thinning them in the right way without cutting off bearing wood to reduce crop load as aggressively as he is doing here.


I tend to view these kinds of systems more as indirect information on how I will prune my trees. I clearly need to trim back the spurs on my chicken footed tree (I think “paw” is a mis-translation from the Italian of foot). Also I thought he had some good ideas on renewal wood, its not something I will do a lot of but I am going to try some of that. Blind wood had also cornered me on some trees and it helped get me thinking more about that. But I’m not planning on any radical changes to my pruning methodology, only evolution.


Pears take discipline to not try to shape them. Those who try to make their pear tree shapely will battle with that pear tree. Everyone loses in a pruning battle. The pear tree from day 1 wants to make fruit and the orchardist wants to get fruit. People do not speak a pear trees language but if they could I know what would be said. After a person prunes they are satisfied they shaped the tree. The tree doesn’t see it that way its limbs and foliage were removed so it must respond to the severe herbivore problem with rapid growth outgrowing its enemies. Fruit can wait until after the tree eater attack has passed. It will try to grow very tall now to stay out of reach of the deer, moose, elk or whatever ate so many limbs and leaves. See people don’t get it the fruit is put on hold because the tree must grow more foliage. People caused their problem unintentionally ofcourse. People tell me they invigorated their pear and I think yes you sure did but unless your selling pear smoking wood you better stop that. Once in awhile something needs pruned like broken limbs and I do prune off what needs it.


More like it wants to find sun and get above mammal leaf eaters. Most varieties are in no rush to make fruit and pruning can steer them to earlier productivity if you do ratio pruning and spread branches.

You seem to be talking about cutting branches back, like trimming a hedge. Thinning cuts of whole branches. does not cause a vegetative response that I’ve ever seen with any species- at least if an adequate number of branches are left on the tree, which can often be less than half on densely branched trees.

For pears, the main thing, IMO, is to spread the branches and even festoon them in resistant to bear varieties. It probably doesn’t speed up bearing by thinning the number of branches or even cutting off branches more than half the diameter of the trunk, but the latter I do in any case. The higher the ratio of the branch to tree the longer it is likely to take to “grow up” and start bearing babies.

Pear varieties like apples have different growth habits, but it doesn’t hurt to try to steer a columnar variety to being a more spreading tree when it is racing for sky.

Some varieties, like Bosc, need to be cut back to counter the production of droopy branches, and if you cut all the way back to 2 year wood it is unlikely to cause a vegetative response.

All that said, the general rule is, the less you prune the sooner the tree can come into bearing- after you’ve pruned oversized branches and touching wood.



The difference between you and some others is you know how to prune. Your doing what you do with a plan. What I’m saying and have always said is don’t cut away a third or half your tree every year. You likely prune 2 - 5% of the tree. I lose that much to branch breaks or crossed limbs. Cutting off fruiting wood is crazy and every year I see it every where I go. This last spring I saw pears that would have fruited get put back into vegetative states after pruning. It’s a difficult thing to see. They blame the pear tree saying things like one year I got a dozen pears every other year nothing. Take good care of that pear to! prune it, Fertilize it every year! Feel the warmth rising in my face as they complain. Sometimes when I tell them they listen. Once they prune like that it’s another 3 years or more until they get pears. Meanwhile I get hundreds or thousands of pounds of pears. The real question is do people want fruit? If they do want fruit i would think they would listen to someone like me growing fruit in a challenging environment getting fruit. @alan if everyone knew as much about fruit trees as you do they would not all hire you to care for theirs. It’s very challenging if I see a branch pointed growing down to explain why I cut it off to the bud growing horizontally those are concepts people get later. When you prune your thinking 3 years later. When you cut off the buds inside the branch your thinking this inside branch was removed so it wouldn’t cross later. Why grow a branch I need to remove? If there is an old tree 30 feet tall pear with lots of lateral branches ,that produces 400 pounds of fruit I know you would never cut the tree down to 10 feet and cut the horizontal branches in half.

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Funny, I think fruit trees have their own language, yes, one we like to change and reinterpret. My first pear came came with five grafts, the rootstock was quince. The tree, from the very beginning grew so vigorously in once summer a new branch could grow almost five feet long. That I thought was a little to fast to me. I would prune it in Feb, knee deep in snow. I always thought it felt better after my pruning. I still had a tremendous amount of fruit from all five grafts. Who knew?


The rule of thumb in the literature is not to prune more than 30%. I have pruned probably about 70% of canopy wood in dense old apple trees and gotten huge crops that season- without scorching the bark of remaining scaffolds (that does require a level of experience). I almost never leave more than 80% of wood after pruning a tree that I didn’t steer with summer pruning.

Pears can be an exception and in respect to FB I tend to prune them more conservatively.

Remember that the axiom is “when you finish pruning an apple tree you should be able to throw a cat through it”. This is achieved with primarily thinning cuts and only cutting back branches to keep them within their allotted space by pruning back into a minimum of 2-year wood right to a side shoot, preferably one with at least a third the diameter as what’s removed.

Of course most people don’t know how to prune, but the solution is to learn the basics and not prune too timidly. You don’t live in an area that likely supports maximum tree growth, I do.

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Time to wake up this old thread again.

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