Q: When should I prune my mature pear tree?
A: Mature apple and pear trees should not be pruned severely. Moderate annual pruning is preferred to heavy pruning every 3 or 4 years. Heavy pruning causes less flowering and excessive vegetative growth which can promote fire blight. Pruning should be done during dormant season which is usually late winter or early spring. For those of us in eastern part of North Florida that would mean February or March. For those with young pear trees we should encourage a modified central leader. A leader is one main limb we select to be the central leader. It is usually the most straight and middle upright branch. We want to develop and encourage scaffolding branches or those branches that grow laterally off the main branch. These scaffolding branches should never be taller than the main central leader. Fruit trees are generally not pruned the same way as our structural trees (live oaks) nor do they have the same life expectancy. We prune fruit trees for the purpose of producing more fruit. Certain pear varieties are self-fruitful; that is, they can pollinate themselves. Thus, if you want only one pear tree, a self-pollinating variety should be selected. Orient or Baldwin pear varieties are at least partially self-fruitful. Other pear varieties require cross-pollination. If you plant varieties that require cross-pollination, be sure to plant varieties that bloom at the same time. For instance you could plant Hood, Flordahome or Baldwin varieties together. For clear information on pruning fruit trees check out Clemson University’s publication: