Old pears trees on a piece of property are a rare gift. These pears trees, unless severely damaged, can be brought back to full health in one season, if not two seasons at the most. Extremely old and mature pear trees will reach heights in excess of 40 feet. While the pears are difficult to harvest, a little pruning and tender loving care will bring the tree back to full bearing health. Caring for an old pear tree begins in the winter and continues throughout the growing season.
Remove all rotten pears from beneath the tree as they fall. The rotted fruit will attract insects and harbor rodents to the base of the tree. Keep the area around the base of the trunk free of vegetation with the garden rake. Dispose of all material far from the pear tree in a compost pile.
Set the ladder in strategic locations around the tree for pruning after all the leaves have fallen from the tree. Prune all dead branches with the pruning shears. Cut any limbs that cross on top of other limbs.
Use the pruning saw on limbs greater than an inch in diameter. Cut larger limbs in a three-step process. Make the first cut on the under side of the limb 12 inches from the main trunk and one third deep. Move the saw to on top of the limb, an inch forward from the first cut and finish cutting through the limb. Move the saw next to the main trunk. Cut the limb through in one cut. The wound will naturally heal over. Never remove more than 30 percent of the old pear tree limbs at any one time during the dormant season.
Apply 2 cups of the 15-5-10 fertilizer around the base of the pear tree in early spring, prior to bud swell. Spread the fertilizer underneath the drip line of the upper
Mix and apply the dormant oil spray to the tree as the flower buds begin to swell. Coat the tree as thick as possible with the plant oil. The oil will suffocate any insect eggs that reside in the crevices of the tree bark.
Spray the tree with a fruit fungicide during the blossom period. Mix the spray according to the label directions. Apply the spray every two weeks during wet and humid weather throughout the growing season.
Inspect the small fruits during the growing season. Thin large quantities of fruits from limbs that become heavily burdened.
Mix and apply insecticides as you observe pest activity on the pears. Consult your local agricultural extension service for approved chemicals in your area. Never apply any insecticide when blossoms are present on the pear tree. This will kill the pollinating insects and reduce fruit yield.