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Pruning and Thinning 4 in 1 Pear Tree

Posted by RichinRichmond 7a (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 24, 12 at 20:46

I have a few questions about my 4 in 1 fireblight resistant pear tree.
The main question is how to prune to maintain balance. I have 2 vigorous grafts and 2 wimpy grafts. I think I am keeping the center open pretty well so far. I understand that I need to try to balance the 4 grafts. Does that mean keep them all about the same height? Same total mass? Or, is there some other measurement to follow. The two lower grafts are the more vigorous--Keiffer and Warren--are on the north side of the tree, and tied down to about 60 degrees. The Harrow Delight and Blake's Pride are more vertical. They seem happy, just more pokey growers.

Second question: one graft, the Keiffer, set some fruit this year. Does it need to be thinned to one fruit per cluster?
Third question: There is a mystery fifth graft on the tree. Should I chop it off, or wait to see what happens?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Pruning and Thinning 4 in 1 Pear Tree

I think this is really cool, having 5 varieties on one tree. I'm kind of doing the same thing with my Cortland which will hopefully now have 3 other varieties grafted on.

I do think it will be important to prune back the vigorous varieties each and every year to even them out, otherwise 2 varieties will likely tend to dominate the others. Let the weaker ones grow just as much as they want and don't prune them barely at all, but prune the vigorous ones very hard, every year, to maintain the necessary balance.

If the tree is still small, I would allow maybe one or two total fruit on the tree but remove all the rest. Otherwise those pokey growers might never have the chance to catch up, with the energy of the tree all being soaked up into fruiting on 1 or 2 varieties.

I would allow the mystery fifth graft to grow. Let it fruit and see what happens with it. Can't hurt. Just keep it balanced with the rest.

Have fun!

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