Prune a pear tree by cutting off competing leader branches, removing damaged and diseased wood, and trimming suckers and whorls. Finish by thinning the branches. You need a pair of pruning shears, metal pegs and some rope.
- Start pruning when the plant is young
Begin training and pruning your pear tree while it is young. Using rope, tie down the limbs so they grow in the proper direction. Plant metal pegs near the trunk, and tether the rope to the pegs.
- Remove competing leader branches
Cut away competing branches from the leader branch, the tallest center branch of the tree. Allow a few side branches to grow beneath the leader, but space them 6 inches apart.
- Cut back damaged and diseased wood
Remove diseased, damaged and dead wood during the early summer or fall.
- Trim suckers and whorls
Remove any suckers, watersprouts and whorls from the tree. Suckers and watersrpouts are shoots that grow vertically from the roots or branches.
- Prune awkward branches
Prune branches that grow too closely to other limbs. Also prune branches that grow at angles 45 degrees or fewer from the trunk.
- Thin the branches
Thin the branches regularly instead of heading back the limbs.
- Control the fruiting
Pinch back or remove buds during the first three years to prevent fruiting. Once you allow the pear tree to fruit, thin the fruits to prevent them from breaking the wood.