The perfect pear tree should be shaped like a Christmas tree--with a narrow top and wider bottom. A neglected pear tree benefits from pruning--producing better fruit quality. The purpose of pruning a pear tree is to remove unproductive branches, increase sunlight and air penetration and shape the tree's crown into a stable form. Untrimmed trees may grow more fruit, but it will be a lesser quality fruit. Selectively cutting pear trees back will encourage uniform ripening, larger fruit and higher sugar content. It will also decreases insect and disease issues.
Prune pear trees late in the winter (dormant) season to lessen injury from frost.
Visualize the pear tree from above. The goal is to prune the branches so that they appear to be the spokes on a wheel. Thinning out some of the spokes will ensure an adequate amount of light and air can penetrate.
Cut off branches broken from harsh weather, heavy fruit or incorrect pruning. Also cut off those that are rubbing against one another. The wounds they create open the tree up to insect and disease infestation. Make the cut next to the unwanted branch's connection with a healthy branch.
Snip off suckers and water sprouts. These are short branches that grow at the base of the pear tree. They steal nutrients that are necessary for fruit production. Cut them off with shears where they meet the tree trunk.
Remove pear tree branches that are growing in a downward direction, as well as those that are inside the tree, shaded from the sun. They aren't very productive and can create shade for more productive limbs.