Pruning Overgrown Pear Tree

Asked September 8, 2019, 11:29 AM EDT

I have a pear tree in my backyard that I don't think the previous owners ever pruned. It is growing into the power lines and it has had a bad case of pear rust. It has fared better this season than last because I cut a ton of vines out that were growing from the neighbors fence and it seemed to have more and larger pears this season. Though, with the pear rust, most of the pears were pitted with black spots. Can this tree (images attached) be saved or would I be better off taking it down and replanting?

Baltimore County Maryland disease issues fruit abiotic issues

1 Response

Hi, it's good that you removed the vines whether you keep the tree or take it down. We think your tree will probably continue to decline due to 1) the yearly diseases (possibly pear scab, trellis rust, and/or hawthorn rust) that cause premature leaf drop, reducing food reserves going into winter, and 2) shading from adjacent trees.

Spraying to control rust and other diseases would b difficult because you have to get good spray coverage of upper and lower leaf surfaces and it has to be done at the right time (at bloom, petal fall, and then 10 days later, and then 14 days later).
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/apple-pear-diseases

It's hard to predict how long the decline will take before it has to be taken down. It could limp along for a number of years.

Jon