How to Root a Pear Tree


Pear trees are usually propagated via grafting to a suitable pear rootstock. Pears don't root well in a rooting medium unless the donor tree is less than one year old. Cuttings from older trees very rarely will root via traditional methods. However, air layering works well for rooting pear trees. By selecting a young branch, you should have success with propagating from older trees.

Step 1

Soak a handful of sphagnum moss in water for several hours before beginning to air layer your pear tree.

Step 2

Select a young branch no larger than the width of a pencil.

Step 3

Make two circular cuts about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart around the entire circumference of a branch with a clean, sharp hobby knife or utility knife.

Step 4

Make a cut along the direction of the branch between the two circular cuts.

Step 5

Peel back the bark from between the two initial cuts to expose the wood.

Step 6

Squeeze the excess water out of a handful of sphagnum moss and wrap the exposed wood with the moss.

Step 7

Wrap a piece of polyethylene film several inches longer than the boss ball around the wound and wet moss.

Step 8

Seal the edge of the film by rolling it together and apply electrical tape to the rolled edge to complete the seal.

Step 9

Pull the ends of the film tight around the branch and tape them to the bark to seal the moisture in the sphagnum moss inside the plastic. This will keep the moisture and humidity in the moss and tree wound area.

Step 10

Cut the branch off with a sharp pruning saw below the plastic film when you see roots on all sides of the ball of sphagnum moss under the plastic film.

Step 11

Remove the plastic and moss carefully. Try not to disturb the new roots.

Step 12

Plant the newly rooted pear tree in a pot with a good, well draining and balanced potting soil.

Step 13

Water the pot thoroughly and wrap the entire pot, with the exception of the drainage hole in the bottom, in a polyethylene tent. Seal the tent's edges and top by rolling them together and affixing the edges with electrical tape.

Step 14

Place the tented plant in indirect sunlight for four to eight days to allow the roots to further develop.

Step 15

Begin acclimatizing the young tree to the lower humidity outside of the tent by poling two 1-inch holes in the plastic each day for five days.

Step 16

Remove the plastic and begin moving the tree into mixed direct and indirect sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Established pear tree
  • Hobby or utility knife
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Polyethylene film
  • Electrical tape
  • Pruning saw
  • Pot
  • Potting soil


  • Ohio State University Extension: Asexual Propagation of Plants
  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Layering: Instructions for the Home Gardener
  • Texas A&M Extension: Air Layering for Difficult to Root Plants
Keywords: pear tree culture, pear propagation, fruit rooting

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.