Pear trees have often been used for training into interesting forms. Not only do they make handsome specimen trees, but most varieties will even lend themselves to using for espalier training. This type of training allows a plant to be trimmed and tied so it grows flat against a wall as a surface cover. It can be adapted to grow a pear tree in the shape of an arch.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Strong-framed arch
- 1 or 2 dwarf or semi-dwarf pear trees
- Soft, flexible ties
- Pruning shears
Choose a solid, well-built arch that will be able to handle weather and the weight of a growing tree. Place it in full sun and set it on healthy soil with good drainage.
Select a dwarf or semi-dwarf pear variety that will grow well in your climate. Look for a specimen that has fewer and longer shoots rather than multiple short branches.
Plant your chosen pear tree at the base of one side of your arch.
Select the three longest, flexible branches from your pear tree and tie them to the vertical supports of the archway. Use a soft, stretchy material like horticultural tape to tie your branches in place.
Trim back any low branches that head out horizontally with sharp clippers while the main branch gets established.
Tie these vertical growing branches to the curve of the archway every 6 to 10 inches as it continues to grow. Occasional side branches can now be left as the plant matures, but keep them pruned back so they don't extend more than a few feet horizontally beyond the side of the archway where the main shoots are growing.
Train these main shoots of your pear tree to bend slightly over the top of the arch. Do not expect the branches to grow downward on the other side. If you want both sides of your arch to be flanked with pear trees, grow another tree on the opposite side of the arch. If you use two trees, allow the top branches to intertwine as they cross over the top of the arch.
Optionally remove the arch beneath if you have grown two pear trees that have formed a strong arch of their own. Leave the arch for support for single pear tree archways.
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