How to Prune a Cleveland Pear Tree


Cleveland pear trees are a very popular species because they are very symmetrical and have nearly no gaps in foliage. The color ranges from pure white flowers in the spring, to deep green foliage in the summer and dark red leaves in the autumn. Cleveland pears are hardy, growing up to 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide in full or partial sun. They do well in many types of soil and climates, resisting damage from ice, wind and snow. Despite their near-perfect shape, prune Cleveland pear trees to make them healthier and more aesthetically pleasing.

Step 1

Prune Cleveland pear trees in the fall, which is when the tree is no longer in its prime growing season. Let the tree develop naturally, removing individual branches as opposed to topping the tree.

Step 2

Prune the tree to develop one central leader (one main trunk). Cut off competing shoots with pruning shears. If the tree has more than one leader, it will be weaker.

Step 3

Cut off all branches that have grown too close together or directly across from each other along the central leader. The goal is to have a group of three or four branches forming a scaffold.

Step 4

Trim off shoots and branches that are at less than 60 degree angles from the trunk. They are too weak and will likely break in time.

Step 5

Open the tree's frame in the center to increase air circulation and sunlight. Both reduce the likelihood of disease or pest infestation. Prune away crossing branches and those growing laterally up the center of the tree.

Step 6

Cut off branches that are unhealthy, diseased, damaged and dying. They are blocking sunlight from getting to other parts of the Cleveland pear tree, as well as making the tree look less appealing. Use the saw to cut them where they meet healthy wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Pruning saw
  • Ladder


  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Who Can Help

  • Fast Growing Trees Nursery
Keywords: prune Cleveland pear trees, pruning Cleveland pear, growing Cleveland pear

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.