Pear tree pruning

The benefits of pruning

The pome fruit are fruit plants whose cultivation can give a lot of satisfaction, but which requires some attention and periodic care. These also include pruning, a fundamental operation for the growth and luxuriant development of the plant. Even the quantity and quality of the fruits can be strongly influenced by proper pruning, to the advantage of those who want to taste the natural products of their garden or orchard. Pruning is therefore an operation to be reserved for any plant, but which must be carried out according to the specific needs of the plant: the age and characteristics related to the development of the plant will be taken into consideration, but also the cultivation technique, for a all-round pear care able to guarantee the best conditions for plant development and growth. Pruning is also important as regards the prevention or care of the plant itself: the pear tree can be subject to attacks by parasites or fungal diseases, which can be counteracted thanks to pruning. If, on the one hand, it performs an important preventive function by making the plant stronger and more robust, on the other hand pruning can be a solution if the infestation is already in progress but still localized: with the cutting of the branch it can thus be eradicated.

Pear tree cultivation techniques

The pruning of the pear tree must take into account its specific characteristics, but also those related to the cultivation technique, which can influence the growth and development methods of the pear tree. There are three main cultivation techniques: double-axis, palmette or spindle, applied indifferently for serial or home cultivation. The palmette and double-axis cultivation involve wall growth and can therefore be adopted in the case of not too large spaces available, in order to place more plants on the same ground. In particular, the double axis growth foresees the development of two main branches which, competing with each other for the available resources, will allow a production of luxuriant shoots and fruits combined with a contained horizontal development. Spindle cultivation, on the other hand, provides a greater horizontal development and therefore requires more space and greater distance between one plant and another: in this case it is advisable to keep at least one meter between the pear trees of the same row and at least three and a half distance between one row and the other. The need for careful pruning will also depend on the distance of the plants: it is important that the individual plants do not subtract light and nourishment from each other.

Pear tree pruning

As we have seen, it is not possible to identify a single pruning technique, but it is necessary to evaluate the operations to be carried out based on various factors. Among these, the main ones concern the characteristics of the pear trees, that is the age and the specific needs of development or reinforcement, and possibly the elimination of damaged parts of the plant. On the other hand, it will be important to take into consideration the cultivation technique used in order to keep the development of individual plants under control. However, it is possible to identify guidelines that relate to the cultivation technique. As for the spindle development, a correct pruning will be useful to reduce the initial unproductivity period: in this case, we will opt for for the maintenance of five or six main branches with an apical bud and the pruning of all other branches. The pruning of palmette pear trees will allow the development of a few spaced branches, to favor horizontal development and ensure that each branch can make the most of direct sunlight. Pruning plays a fundamental role especially in double-axis cultivation, as it allows the balanced development of the two main parts, avoiding that one can prevail over the other, suffocating it and depriving it of nourishment.

Pear tree pruning: Pruning periods

For the pruning of the pear tree to be effective, it is important that it is carried out in the most suitable periods to favor the correct development of the plant and their optimal growth. The main pruning will be carried out starting from the year following the planting, in the winter period, between January and February, eliminating in particular the branches that develop inwards and those less healthy and vigorous, to favor controlled development. A further pruning operation can be carried out in summer, in June, to correct the suckers that could develop from the first initial pruning and thus confirm the shape already indicated with the main pruning. Otherwise long thin branches would develop from these suckers, unsuitable for fruiting, which would steal nourishment from the most useful and productive branches.

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