Bradford pear trees are popular landscaping trees because of their white blossoms. They are also popular because they do not have destructive root systems that invade septic systems or crack and lift paved surfaces. Bradford pear trees require trimming because of their fast vertical growth that produces weak limbs. If trimming is not done, the branches can crack easily. These cracks can become an entry point for pests and disease. With proper trimming, splintering and breakage can be avoided and strong branch growth will occur.
Plan to do the most trimming during the first three growing seasons. Pruning early will strengthen the tree and help keep it safe from damage as it matures.
Choose a branch in the center of the tree that is growing vertically to be the branch leader. This should be done as soon as the tree is planted. However, it is never too late to begin. Even a 3-year-old tree can be retrained.
Cut and remove one-half of the other branches that are growing vertically. After trimming they should be shorter than the branch leader.
Cut and remove any dead, decaying or diseased branches.
Cut and remove any branches that rub against another. Opt to cut and remove the branch that is growing the most vertical, unless it is the central branch.
Inspect the tree for branches that are growing within 15 inches of another. Cut and remove the most vertical growing branch to allow 15 inches of space between branches.
Cut and remove any suckers that grow from the tree's roots or trunk. Suckers have smooth skin and no bark.
Seal the cuts with black spray paint.