heading back a european pear tree

Asked February 22, 2016, 3:19 PM EST

Hello, I have a 4 or 5 year old comice pear tree that has grown tall vertically, but has not branched out very much laterally. I probably should have headed the tree back earlier, but I didn't. It is about 15' tall with two smaller side branches very low on the trunk (at approximately 3' up). Is it too late to head back the central leader? If it is still okay to do this, how severely can I head it back without creating a risk to the tree? Thank you, Kathy Johnson

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

It is difficult to give valid pruning advice about a specific tree without benefit of at least several photos. However, attached below are several excellent resource websites. Notice that for pear (and apple) trees it is much more desirable to have an open center with about 5 branches than to have a single leader. Given the youth of the tree, you will probably be fine if you follow the advice from these sites.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=90
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/tree_fruits_nuts/hgic1351.html