Fruit Trees in Permaculture: Pears
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Pears! Our pear trees were planted in 2011, and have shot up to great heights. Its a tree with an odd shape, and if left unpruned and unchecked it will grow straight up vertically with a very narrow girth crowded with scaffolds. And since the pear tree flowers and fruit only on 'new wood' the fruit appears right at the top, if at all!
Luckily, we now know better. And even if we may lose one fruit season, its the right thing to do in the long run. The pear tree needs to be trained and pruned from the time it is a sapling to take on the shape of a Vase - with an open middle. This ensures that sunlight reaches the middle of the tree. The pruning also keeps the size of the tree small, enabling ease of fruit collection. Since fruit only grows on new wood, pruning is essential to keep the fruit growing at easy to reach levels. Lastly, a smaller tree would consume less nutrients for itself, thereby resulting in better quality fruit.
We cut back the Pear trees dramatically. Down to 5 feet or so. And opened up the centre by cutting out all the branches growing straight up. We selected 4-5 scaffolds which were growing outwards. We retained some secondary branches which were growing outwards too. Now we will wait for fresh growth on these rejuvenated trees to shape it further. The idea is to have a saucer shaped tree with an open centre and branches going outwards.
We will keep you posted on how the trees shape up with time.