How to Trim Bradford Pear Trees


With their striking white spring blossoms, Bradford pear trees can be a captivating sight in many neighborhoods across the United States. The trees lack destructive root properties that can lift sidewalks and other paved surfaces, so they are commonly planted as street trees. Bradford pear trees have fast vertical growth, which not only produces a specimen tree in a few years but also makes the tree prone to weak branches that can break and splinter during inclement weather. When you properly trim Bradford pear trees, you can enjoy their beauty and also not worry about them causing property damage.

Step 1

Prune off dead and diseased wood from the tree with a pruning shears or pruning saw. The brittle dead wood not only breaks easier, but it also provides a home for pests to live.

Step 2

Identify a branch that you want to be your central leader. This branch will be near the center of the tree and growing vertically. Remove about 1/2 of the other vertically growing branches from your tree.

Step 3

Work up the trunk and make sure no branches are within 15 inches of each other. Thin branches out as necessary so that they are at least 15 inches apart. As the branches grow, the tree won't be able to support more than one decently sized branch every 15 inches.

Step 4

Prune off any branches that are in contact with a larger branch or any that run within 6 inches of a larger branch.

Step 5

Leave branches that grow outward from the trunk at angles of 45 degrees or more. These branches are the most strongly secured to the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep fragile objects and people away from the work area. Falling limbs from pruning can be hazardous.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or saw
  • Gloves
  • Stepladder


  • Bradford Pear - Pruning
  • Orchard's Edge: Questions and Answers about Fruit and Nut Bearing Trees and Plants
Keywords: trim bradford pear trees, pruning shears, central leader, dead and diseased wood

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.