I have a couple pear trees that I purchased from nursery/rootstock 5 and 6
years ago. The oldest was one of those 5-in-1 grafted trees, the other a
Duchess. Both trees are fairly healthy (glossy leaves), and grow a little
bit each year.
My concern is that I have never seen a blossom/fruit yet. Nearby apple
trees started producing 2-3 year after planting. I have pruned them back in
the past, but have not touched either one the last couple years.
Pear trees do take a little longer than apples. How do they look
this year? Not knowing where you live... are the bud still
completely dormant? (mine will be until May) Even if still
completely dormant, fruiting buds are easy to spot on a pear tree.
They are MUCH larger that the other buds.
Also keep in mind that full size trees take longer (sometimes a few
to blossom than dwarf or semi-dwarf. You did not mention what kind of
root stock these trees were on, but this can explain their taking longer
to bloom than your apple trees.
If they were full-sized pear trees, they can take 10 years to start
blooming :-( A semi-dwarf apple can bloom in just 2 or 3 years.
Are the branches growing straight up like on a poplar tree? You need to
train the branches more close to horizontal. The branches that make a 45
degree (or more) crotch and bend down close to horizontal will be much
stronger *and* bloom earlier. [I wish I had known this when I lived in
Texas and had a few standard pear trees]
You could try hanging reasonable sized weights (not enough to break
Although I have never tried this myself, people use 'spreader sticks' to
wedge between branches to force them outwards. I don't grow pears, but
with my apples, plums, and peaches, I have not noticed this problem with
vertical branches not producing. I think you may not have a problem,
other than just waiting until the trees come to bearing age.
Also, you might check that the surrounding soil has enough potassium,
adding some to encourage blossoming.
I tried weights one year in an apple tree. Just enough weight to see
the branch come down a little. Unfortunately, I live in a windy
location. A good wind came up, the young tree started swaying in the
breeze, and the weights yanked out a couple of the branches. Only
spreader sticks for me after that!
il Sun, 29 Feb 2004 18:38:16 GMT, "Lee's" ha scritto:
The other thing too is how to prune but keep the two-year-old wood.
There is a big difference in pruning depending on fruiting wood age.
You may be pruning off the 2-yr-old wood. "They bear fruit on short
spurs and fruit buds on two-year-old wood." I once decimated my grape
harvest for a year due to bad pruning.
"Pears produce a better crop grown with a suitable pollinator
(another variety that flowers at the same time," i.e. early)
Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ]
This is going to sound strange but here goes.
I had a non-producing pear tree in my yard for four years and went
through the usual suspects, transplant stress, over/under feeding, too
hot/too cold, lousy soil, soil too rich, to no avail. Maybe one pear a
year and it would drop off in July. Then we got a cat and the cat used
the tree as a scratching post. I figured, go nuts, at least the tree's
good for something. The year that the cat began doing so I got so many
pears that I had to thin the fruit twice so it had room to grow.
Intrigued, I broke out a few 19th century English garden books and
found orchard keepers used to beat their trees with chains. It puts
stress on the trees and feeling endangered, goes the theory, they set
seed (fruit) like mad in case this turns out to be their last year
Cat's now dead, but each spring I walk up with a sturdy flat wooden
paddle and give the tree a therapeutic beating around the
circumference of the trunk. I check carefully for nicks or gouges in
the bark and repair if necessary. It usually isn't necessary if you
use a wide implement with some flex in it, i.e. not an iron chain. The
neighbours may talk, but that tree is a producer. If all else fails...
Our cat did that to a pear tree one year and the tree died the next
winter. If your tree has settled down and has produced a good crop
for 2 or 3 years, at least, you can probably stop the beatings.
The way all this works is like this:
When you beat up the trunk, you are causing damage that partially
girdles the tree. This slows down the flow of sap from the leaves to
the roots. (Remember that sap flows upward in the wood under the
cambium and it flows the other way in the bark outside the cambium
layer.) Disrupting the downward flow lets sugars (produced by the
leaves) accumulate in the twigs. This accumulation of sugars
promotes the formation of fruit (flower) buds.
I have two of those 5-in-1 trees, and the grafts look like they didn't take. If
you look at the branches you can see where the grafts were inserted into the
pear tree, but I've seen no signs of life from the grafted buds after several
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