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How to Maintain a Pear Tree

By Charmayne Smith ; Updated September 21, 2017

A pear tree is easy to grow and requires little pruning and scheduled attention. Its natural oval to pyramidal shape and its seasonal blooms make a pear tree a pleasing attraction at little expense. This sturdy tree grows upright and comes in a selection of varieties for all climate zones and temperatures.

Keep the pear tree’s area clear of weeds and crabgrass. Pull the weeds by hand to ensure that the trunk of the tree is not damaged by equipment. Apply a layer of mulch around the diameter of the tree, spreading the mulch 3 to 4 feet out from the tree. Keep the mulch 2 to 3 inches thick.

Give the tree 1 or 2 inches of water once a week, increasing the amount during the hot, dry summer months. Do not water the pear tree after the first frost in the fall. Resume watering after the last frost.

Feed the pear tree in early spring. Use a well-balanced fertilizer that includes nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and micro-nutrients. Ensure that the nitrogen levels are rather low to prevent an extended hardening time in the fall. A 10-20-20 fertilizer or a tree fertilizing stick is ideal.

Prune a young pear tree to promote a good framework. Trim back the tree’s central leader to promote an upright position. Remove any competing branches to avoid multiple leaders. Prune large lateral branches that are not in accordance with the tree's natural shape. Always cut off dead, dying or wilted branches, stems and foliage so that the tree can refocus its energy usage.

Inspect the tree regularly. Look for signs of disease such foliage mildew, curling or browning of foliage, scabs, cankers, wilting and die-back. Treat diseases immediately. Remove any dead, dying or infected areas, when possible. Treat the tree with a fungicidal spray, according to label directions. Speak with a local nursery or horticultural specialist for diagnosis assistance.

Treat the pear tree with an insecticide in the early spring to prevent infestation. Pear trees are susceptible to insects such as maggots, moths, scale and aphids. Look for signs of infestation such as yellowing or browning of foliage, rotted or eaten fruit and nibbled leaves. Remove and treat any insect shelter areas that around the tree’s diameter. Spray the tree with the insecticide, again according to label directions. Reapply the insecticide only when directed. Ask someone in the local horticultural extension office for assistance.

Harvest pears at the end of the growing season. Watch the fruit regularly, as it will require two to three weeks to harden before harvest. Pick the fruit when it has reached full color and size and is firm when squeezed. Check the tree daily and pick fruit every two to three days until your harvest is complete.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

About the Author


Writing professionally since 2004, Charmayne Smith focuses on corporate materials such as training manuals, business plans, grant applications and technical manuals. Smith's articles have appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and on various websites, drawing on her extensive experience in corporate management and property/casualty insurance.