Should I just give up on this pear?

Just over 6 months ago, I purchased a pear tree that has 5 varieties grafted onto it. It is about 5' tall, and perhaps a little over 3/4" across at the base. It actually had 3 pears on it when I bought it. I pruned 2 of them off, and let the third mature - we actually got a ripe fruit to eat just 5 months after planting it.
The trouble is that the plant itself just sat there - the leaves stayed green, but there was no growth at all this year, even with fertilizer and regular waterings. (when I planted it, I also buried a bag of composted cow manure under it, plus mixed in some of that dehydrated plastic to help it retain water)
When I gave it a closer look, I saw something I had initially missed in my excitement over finding a pear tree that wouldn't need a pollinator. It turns out that the living part of the bark is actually girdled perhaps 66% or 70% of the way around. The bark had a "flaky" or crackled appearance. It didn't look bad from a few feet away, but a very close inspection (what I should have done before purchasing it) it was obvious something was wrong.
I took a knife and scraped away all of the flaky part. Then I used a wire brush to agitate everything until I started seeing a little bit of green here and there. Using a knife, I was able to find that the bark is dead nearly 70% of the way around. No wonder why this thing was sort of just sitting there! At more than $35, I certainly overpaid for it, given the condition. Unfortunately, I also found it at a store that doesn't have a 1 year guarantee, unlike the places I normally buy trees and shrubs. :-(
The big question is whether this thing could ever heal itself. The roots have evidently gotten somewhat established, because it was able to survive through one of the driest summers we've had in a while, and even bore a fruit the first year. However, since the plant itself pretty much just sat there, I am very concerned over its long term ability to thrive. I'm afraid it will become the "zombie plant", that just sits there and never truly grows.
I've seen small trees heal places in their bark, maybe up to 30" of the way around. In fact, my peach tree did that this year - it doubled the size of the trunk, and doubled the height of the plant. However, I think pears grow slower.
I actually went out and bought a really nice looking 5' nectarine tree on sale for $12 at a local store yesterday, with the intention of replacing this pear tree. I hated the idea of throwing out a tree I paid nearly $40 for, but I was of the opinion that if it doesn't thrive the first year, it probably won't thrive the 2nd. I believe a nectarine is a fast growing tree, much like a peach. This one looks vigorous, and doesn't need a pollinator.
My wife threw a fit, though, because she hates the idea of killing a tree that is alive, especially since it did give us a pear to enjoy right away.
Anyone have a good idea what chance a small pear tree like this would have of healing such a large gap in the sapwood? If it was a side branch, it wouldn't be an issue, but this is the main trunk. I think that the missing 70% is a limiting factor in the tree's growth.
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wrote:

I'd give it a couple years.
<http://www.treeworld.info/f29/girdling-trunk-benefit-fruit-trees-15013.h tml>
or http://goo.gl/h97s
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q0JfdP36kI

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So would I. I think you are expecting quite a lot from this little tree. It gave you a piece of fruit and its wounded and its only been in for a very short time. Talk to it nicely and apologise for expecting it to give you fruit and for thinking mean thoughts about it. Just treat it like a nice little ornamental for a couple of years and see what it will do. I'd be quite surprised if it didn't come good.
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This is a vaguely remembered picture from an encyclopedia I owned as a kid.
What I remember was a series of grafts bridging bark and cambium that had been chewed away by rabbits.
I don't have the time to look it up but someone might be able to fill this out.
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Wow - amazing that anybody would purposefully gird their tree trunk just to try getting a temporary increase in fruit! I'd be far too worried about disease introduction. I had enough trouble with some sort of borer in our newly planted Hale Haven peach this year. Thankfully, since I didn't have fruit to worry about, I was able to use a systemic insecticide, which killed all of the borers. The tree probably more than quintupled its mass in the past 5 months.
And yes, I suppose I have the most experience with the faster growing fruit trees like the peaches, which can have an amazing rate of growth for the first few years. I thought that the pear would be at least twice the original size by this fall. Perhaps I should have followed my instincts, and taken all 3 pears off of it.

I actually had this thought, wishing there were some way to encourage living tissue to cross the gap. My grandparents have a couple of healthy adult pear trees, and I suppose that a small branch could serve as a donor. My Father actually grafted another variety onto each of them so that they would produce more fruit, so perhaps he would be willing to try a graft. Can attempting to do a trunk graft in a situation where the live portion is only about 30% of the way around cause more harm than good?
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*Do talk to someone who knows.*
I've a trick memory and remember something of everything I've read or seen in books (but only in books). This dates back to when I was 7. I trust my memory to give me enough information to begin research or to ask the right questions ...and to perform the occasional party trick.
The picture is of a number of small, flexible sticks plugged at intervals into the cambium below and above the gap. I don't recall the description of the process.
They didn't show the shape of the ends in a way that connected them well enough to the image I'm relating for my memory to bring up more than one picture.
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Here's a good example of a bridge graft:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/components/dg0532c.html
It's about half-way down the page.
Paul
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In article <c5983e84-9052-4e9d-9a54-b7720ea4b843

Thanks.
It's essentially the same ...but mine was in colour :-).
That's a really useful article.
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1) Anyone have a good idea what chance a small pear tree like this would have of healing such a large gap in the sapwood?
If the tree did not outright die nor show signs of die back in the canopy this year it would indicate there was a good vascular flow from roots to shoots, I would not be so alarmed that it" just sat there" in its first year, it apparently was healing up and I bet it will catch up to be where it is supposed to be in a few years There can be many reasons it did not grow out. It just needs some time ( & some TLC) to repair itself, which it will do.
2) Can attempting to do a trunk graft in a situation where the live portion is only about 30% of the way around cause more harm than good?
Again don't get hung up on the 30%. the main issue here it to keep it stabilized ( see 1 above) so it will continue to grow on its own. It appears it has, further It will repair itself and continue to grow, most likely catching up with other of its age group. Now, you did open up a lot of area ripe for infection so protect the tree this winter and prune/fertilize properly, (not just follow old folk lore) You should fertilize it not just for fruiting, but for building the trunk back up ( avoid excessive N) and give it a couple of years to do this
There are many things to try if you want to experiment w/ it. Perhaps try bridge grafting as in the 1st two links below. If you determine that it is still going downhill and beyond repair, consider root layering further up the trunk to where you can still get all the varietal grafts, yet still find some healthy bark or at least enough that you can cover up. Perhaps I would not have a problem grafting your graft onto new root stock. Lots of methods/techniques you can try it you have the inclination and time.
BTW, I have a rescued 70+yo Golden plum with major trunk damage. The tree walled off a 3-4 " strip running down an ~8" trunk and she still produces quite a lot of fruit. I just have to protect the old wood as best I can from insects and rot, Lime Sulphur works well for this.
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/98-003.htm http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/dg0532.html http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/trees-shrubs/repairing-tree-bark-damage.htm
good luck
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