Pear Tree Planting, Pruning & Care

Planting Pear Trees

A sunny, sheltered position is preferable for pear trees. Our pot grown pear trees can be planted at any time of the year, whereas bare root pear trees can only be planted between November and March.

Pear trees should be spaced according to their rootstock, for example a Quince A (semi-vigorous) rootstock will require approx. 3 metres between trees, whereas a Quince C (dwarf) rootstock will require approx. 2 metres between trees.

Our guides contain explanations and videos on how to plant container/rootball trees or plant bare root trees. We recommend planting pear trees using a stake and tie kit unless you are cordon or espalier training them in which case they will need wire support systems. We strongly advise using a rabbit guard for protection, as just one rabbit or deer can chew around the trunk of a young tree and kill it.

Video On Planting A Containerised Tree

Video - Planting potted trees

Video On Planting A Rootballed Tree

Video - Planting rootballed trees

Video On Planting A Bare Rooted Tree

Video - Planting bare root trees

Video On Using A Tree Tie

Video - Using a tree tie

Watering & Feeding

If you’re planting in spring or summer, water pear trees generously and regularly for the first few months. If you’re planting in autumn, you may only need to water them a little. Make sure to keep an eye on young pear trees and increase watering if there are extended periods of hot or dry weather. To check if the soil requires further water, dig a finger down into the soil a few centimetres and if the soil feels even slightly moist, it does not need further watering. If it feels dry, water and repeat this test again. Once you see the fruit begin to swell, water again. We stock a range of irrigation kits that allow trees to be watered directly at the roots.

Once planted, it is important to keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first couple of years. Do not simply mow the grass around the area as this will only encourage it to grow more vigorously. Applying a 3inch mulch of well-rotted manure or compost will help feed and tree and keep weeds at bay. When applying mulch avoid making contact with the bark of the tree. Bark chip can also be used for this purpose. We recommend applying a general fertiliser, such as Growmore, in late spring.

Harvesting Pears

Pears do not ripen well if left on the tree, so it is recommended to pick pears from the tree just before they have fully ripened.

Pruning Advice for Pear Trees

Pruning young pear trees for the first few years after planting ensures a healthy, balanced shape. Your tree should have one central leader and several strong side shoots. Make sure tools are sharp before you begin pruning. Straight after planting, you can remove the lowest laterals and prune the rest back by between a third and half their length.

In the following years, remove any shoots growing out of the trunk to maintain a clear stem. Also remove any crossing, diseased or damaged branches. If your tree is looking overcrowded, remove some of the larger branches to open up the canopy. This type of pruning should be carried out between November and early March.

For espalier training, please see the separate guide.