How to prune dwarf pear trees

Updated November 21, 2016

Dwarf pear trees bear fruit at a young age, require very little pruning and do not grow large enough to require ladders for pruning. Pear branches, however, grow nearly straight up, which can make them difficult to prune. Their structure promotes weak branches and foliage around the centre, which interferes with light penetration and air circulation, encouraging fire blight, fungus and pear psylla. Pruning results in less, but higher quality, fruit.

Prune late in the dormant season to reduce the potential for cold damage. Prune out unfruitful, diseased or crowded branches that interfere with light penetration to the crown.

Prune regularly and lightly. Only prune heavily on neglected trees.

Cut the entire branch when making a pruning cut, not just a portion of it. The branch needs removal because it is causing a structural problem. Solve the problem with a clean, close cut.

Tie the leader or the trunk to a stake to train young trees. They need staking for support because they produce fruit at such a young age. Use electrical conduit pipe around 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter and 3 metres (10 feet) long. Set the stake 90 cm (3 feet) deep in the soil.

Prune dwarf pear trees to a central leader. Prune to multiple leaders if your area is prone to fire blight. That way, infected leaders can be removed without sacrificing the whole tree. Pear trees are easier to train than most fruit trees.

Prune to remove oversized branches on any tree that is at least one year old. Oversized branches are those that exceed one-half to one-third the size of the trunk.

Eliminate a branch or two each year. Remove those that are too large or that create too much shade.

Remove all branches on a lopsided tree and start again. Cut the leader to a height of 90 cm (36 inches).

Remove excessively low branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Handheld pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Stake
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About the Author

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Dannah Swift has been writing since 2009. She writes about green living, careers and the home garden. Her writing has appeared on various websites. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a certificate in paralegal studies.