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Pruning Pleached Pear Trees

Hi, In the spring of 2015, we had 7 mature Pleached Pear trees added as a border to the rear of out garden. Now that winter is here I am preparing to prune back some of the vertical runners to encourage horizontal growth. I have tried to read up on this subject using the internet - but the pickings are slim.

I would appreciate any advice as currently all I have is:

Cut back any unwanted growth i.e. non horizontal, crossing branches or damaged.

Try to identify and encourage 3-4 lateral growths from the main stem.

Leave the main centre stem to grow?

I am also entertaining buying a tripod/ fruit picking ladder to reach the trees - any advice would be appreciated again. 

Posts

  • -I am not an expert on growing fruit trees, but a pleached tree is effectively an espalier on a longer trunk, so the pruning rules for espalier trees should apply.

    I would imagine that like espaliers you could decide on the eventual height, so maybe avoid the need for a ladder.image

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626

    IF THE TREES HAVE REACHED THE CORRECT HEIGHT AND HAVE LATERAL BRANCHES GROWING WELL TO LEFT AND RIGHT THEN YOU DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE THE MAIN VERTICAL STEM TO GROW. 

    FRUIT TREES EXHIBIT A PHENOMENON CALLED APICAL DOMINANCE. THIS MEANS, ESSENTIALLY, THAT THEY  PREFER TO GROW UP RATHER THAN OUTWARDS. YOU HAVE TO FOOL THE TREE INTO STOPPING THIS BY CUTTING OFF THE VERTICAL STEM. THIS WILL MAKE THE SIDE BRANCHES TAKE ON THE RÔLE OF THE DOMINANT GROWTH.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS:

    http://extension.psu.edu/plants/tree-fruit/commercial-tree-fruit-production/pruning-and-training/the-basics-of-pruning

    BENDING THE VERTICAL GROWTH TO THE HORIZONTAL, RATHER THAN CUTTING IT OFF, HAS THE SAME EFFECT.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Thank you for the advice.

    The trees are nearly the perfect height to give us the privacy we need. 

    6ft of clear stem with 4-5ft head/ canopy above.

    I was worried that the trees seemed to be exerting their energy to grow up, rather than latterly.

    I will read the article pruning article with interest before I start in Feb.

    Cheers

    Last edited: 20 January 2017 19:45:01

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