Information on Pruning Pear Trees


Pear trees are pruned the same way apple trees are pruned: annually during the dormant period. The purpose of pruning is to open up the canopy to sunlight and air flow, to remove dead and damaged branches and to shape the tree to support fruit production.

When to Prune

Prune pear trees in late winter before spring growth begins to control shape and size. Prune throughout the year to remove damaged or diseased branches.

What to Prune

Remove any shoots that grow toward the center, cross over other branches or sprout from the base of the tree.

How to Shape

Shape tree into bowl shape with a scaffold appearance. Horizontal limbs should be 2 feet apart vertically from one another on established trees.

What to Use

Pruning or hand shears will work for branches under 1 inch in diameter. Pruning saws work better for larger branches, and pole pruners can be used to reach higher branches.

Expert Insight

Never remove more than one-third of the tree's volume in a single year. Use sharp tools to make clean cuts that facilitate quicker healing.


  • Ohio State University: Pruning Pears
  • Clemson University: Pruning Pear Trees
  • Purdue University: General Pruning Tips & Tool Recommendations

Who Can Help

  • Trees Are Good: Pruning Advice
Keywords: prune pear trees, fruit tree pruning, when to prune pears

About this Author

Theresa Leschmann has been writing since 2005. Her work has appeared in the "Southern Illinois Plus" and on numerous websites. She is a property manager who writes about gardening, home repair, business management, travel and arts and entertainment topics. She is pursuing an associate degree in English from Oakton Community College.