Pear trees can have a number of different uses. They produce delicious fruit that can be eaten raw, juiced or cooked, or made into a jam. The bark of the tree is commonly used in woodwind instruments, and is popular for carving everything from toys to furniture. It is also used in cooking to add an aromatic flavour to meat cooked over a fire. Once you have a pear tree in your garden, proper maintenance is key to producing the best fruit and to keep the tree growing for years.
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Things you need
- Watering can
- Pruning shears
- Dish detergent
Provide the pear tree with 1 inch of water per week to keep the soil and roots moist. Do not water if you have received an inch or more of rain for the week, as rainwater can provide sufficient sustenance.
Hoe the ground around the pear tree regularly to remove any weeds. Weeds will absorb nutrients that the tree needs to continue to grow and produce fruit.
Prune the tree in mid- to late winter to remove any dead or damaged branches, or those that rub against other branches, preventing fruit growth. Prune smaller or sickly fruits during bloom to allow the healthy fruits more room to grow.
Fertilise the tree each year in early spring. Use fertiliser containing ammonium nitrate for more fertile soil. Apply 1/8 pound of fertiliser for each year the tree has been planted.
Feeding, Watering and Pruning
Inspect your pear tree at each watering for signs of insects. Pear trees can be susceptible to caterpillars, aphids and pear midges.
Remove all caterpillars and cocoons from the tree as soon as you see them to prevent them from spreading and devouring the leaves.
Spray the leaves with a mixture of dish detergent and water to kill aphids. Dish detergent will not harm the plant, but will suffocate aphids.
Apply a layer of black plastic mulch to the soil around the tree in early spring to prevent pear midges from entering it. Pear midges will destroy the fruit by turning it black; remove and destroy all fruit that show these symptoms to prevent the spread of pear midges.
Inspect the tree at each watering for signs of disease. Pear trees can be susceptible to scab, canker and fire blight.
Remove and burn all leaves and fruit that are infected with scab. Certain pesticides will destroy scab, but can also harm fruit; the most effective treatment of scab is to destroy the infected areas to stop it from spreading.
Carve out and burn any areas of bark that are infected with canker to prevent it from spreading. Carve deep enough to reach healthy wood. You can paint the healthy wood with canker paint (available from nurseries and garden centres) to prevent the return of canker.
Notify your local garden centre or nursery at the first signs of fire blight. In most areas it is highly contagious, and local agricultural authorities must be notified. The garden centre or nursery will advise you regarding the best way to treat it.
Tips and warnings
- Adjust the amount of fertiliser you use based on growth each season. If growth exceeds 12 inches in one season, apply less fertiliser next spring. If leaves turn pale or yellow during the growing season, use more fertiliser next spring.
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