A large and important part of getting long term enjoyment from your fruit trees is pruning them each season. The right time for pruning a pear tree, since this is a deciduous tree, is early spring. Usually, by this time, the flower buds will have begun to swell but have not broken as of yet. The idea in mind when pruning away dead wood and unwanted branches is to create a look that will emphasize the tree’s beauty. There are two main shapes the tree can or should take when you are finished pruning: either the center of the tree will be emphasized, with the branches spreading out from it, or a main branch will stand out with smaller branches coming off this one with their flowers blooming.
You will need a good pair of pruning shears, and you will first want to get rid of the dead wood. This includes the bark, dead and hanging branches, and those branches which are standing straight up.
This can easily take an entire afternoon, but the fruits of your labor will be a healthy tree and a more beautiful looking tree. Trees that are properly cared for tend to produce more fruit and better fruit, so it is worth the time and effort put in to obtain a tree which continues to grow naturally and healthily. Of course, a tree can still occasionally have some bad fruit on it, but regular pruning helps the tree to continue growing healthy for longer periods of time, and gives it a better chance of survival during the often harsh cold winter months.
Some other things to watch out for when you bring out your lopping shears are branches that grow out from the tree’s trunk at too wide of an angle, or too shallow an angle. These will stand out, diminishing the overall look of the tree, and over time, gravity will pull these downward. For an added enjoyment, some of the smaller branches that you shear can be brought into the house and put in a jar or vase of water, and you will have some flowers to enjoy inside, such as on your kitchen windowsill or screened in porch. If you wind up with a great deal of extra wood, you can always use it as firewood. Wood from a pear tree burns similar to applewood and will have a similar sweet smell when used in the fireplace or campfire. Like so many other common household and gardening chores, pruning can be fun if you choose to make it fun.
The best way to go at it is to work slowly and steadily, taking care not to prune too many of the larger branches essential to the overall health and beauty of the tree. Sometimes less is more. Too much pruning, and your tree will not bear enough fruit this for this season, as it will need another season to get its old branches back. However, just the right amount of pruning is sure to produce beautiful results. If you are new to botany, tree care and maintenance, it may be helpful to consult a friend or hire a landscaping professional, and you can watch his work so that you will be able to do it with added confidence next season.
There are plenty of books on botany, deciduous trees, and trees in general at your local library, as well as resources online. Wikipedia.com is always a great resource for information on just about any topic or hobby. Pruning your pear trees each season will ensure another great crop of fruit for this summer as well as a great looking tree.