One of the most common of the fruitless pear trees is the Bradford pear, but the pruning process applies to any variety of fruitless pear. It is best to begin pruning your fruitless pear within the first four to six years of growth–after that branches may be too large to prune without destroying the overall shape of the tree. Prune in winter or early spring before any new growth appears on the tree.
Remove all dead or diseased branches or any branches that are partially broken.
Choose a central leader. This is the largest and strongest branch that is growing straight up closest to the center of the tree. Cut the top half off of any other branches that are growing straight up alongside your central leader.
Prune off the weaker of any two branches that are sprouting off the main trunk within 15 inches of each other. This may seem drastic but keep in mind that within a few short years each branch that grows off the main trunk can be as much as five inches in diameter and two branches growing close to each other are inherently weak and could break, causing serious damage to your tree.
Cut away any branch that touches one of your main branches or are growing within six inches of a main branch.
Cut off any branches that are growing downward.
Rake up all dead fruit and remove any cuttings from the ground under the tree.