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How to Prune Cleveland Pear Trees

The Cleveland pear tree’s natural shape is compact and symmetrical. This impressive tree is replacing the Bradford pear tree in popularity because of its sturdy branches, and its long life. In spring, it explodes with beautiful white blossoms and in the fall, the leaves turn a deep red. Mature trees reach a height of from 30 to 40 feet, and a width of 25 to 30 feet. It is hardy from zones 5 through 8. Professionals recommend that you let the tree grow naturally. If you do prune the Cleveland pear tree, it will be to remove dead, diseased or broken branches, to remove any suckers, to maintain a desired width within your landscape design and for safety reasons (if the tree is located close to a walkway or roof).

Prune any dead, broken or diseased branches immediately. Make your cut at the breaking point, or you can chose to remove the entire branch. Be sure to make a clean cut. Do not leave any torn or ragged edges. Making a clean cut allows the tree to heal properly. The tree does not have to be in its dormant stage to remove dead, damaged and broken, or diseased branches. In fact they should be removed as soon as possible, to limit the spread of disease (if you are removing a diseased branch), and also because broken branches provide an entry way for pests and disease.

Prune away any suckers (shoots) that grow up from the base of the tree or from the roots by cutting them off at ground level. Suckers take away nutrients that are necessary for the growth of the tree, and they should be removed as soon as you see them. This can be done at any time.

Examine the tree from all sides to determine whether you need to prune any branches in order to maintain the width that you desire within your landscape design, and to keep branches away from walkways, structures and roofs. This should be done in late fall or late winter.

Locate the branch collar (this is on the underside of the branch where it connects to the trunk) and the branch bark ridge (this is on the topside of the branch where it connects to the trunk) of the branch or branches that you are going to prune. Make your cut in front of the branch bark ridge and the branch collar. Be sure that you leave the branch bark ridge and the branch collar intact for the health of the tree.


The tools that you use will be determined by the size and location of the branch or limb that you are pruning.


Remember not to place any diseased plant material in your compost bin. Diseased plant material should always be disposed of.

After removing diseased plant materials, always disinfect your pruning tools. To disinfect them, dip the blades in bleach or alcohol.

Never attempt to prune branches that are close to electric wires, as this is extremely dangerous. Contact the electric company and have them do the required pruning.

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