Out of control Conference Pear pruning help

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Deborah1

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Out of control Conference Pear pruning help
« on: January 04, 2019, 20:47 »
Hello. I've included a (bad) photo in the hope that it explains more clearly than I can describe in words. I have a Conference Pear which I planted 13 years ago as a maiden whip. These last two years it has finally fruited really well, but looking at it I can see that it needs some serious pruning as the branches seem to be splaying everywhere.
I followed advice for formative pruning for the first four or five years, but then was reluctant to touch it as I kept hoping for fruit ::) (A few years of late frosts kept knocking back the blossom.)

Can anyone please advise if what I'm proposing looks ok?

I read that no more than 25% should be cut in one year and to not just 'give a haircut' to the top most branches!

I've marked in red how far I'm proposing to prune back all branches.

Thanks
File 04-01-2019, 21 32 52.jpeg

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fatcat1955

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Re: Out of control Conference Pear pruning help
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 08:05 »
Rule of thumb is to end up with 4 strong side branches and a leader. End result should resemble a wine glass. Achieve this by cutting out any crossing or diseased branches, pick the 4 best side branches and cut back the rest , trim back last years growth. Remove any branches /shoots from the center to allow air/light into the tree. When pruning shoots always cut back to a outward facing bud.

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Lardman

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Re: Out of control Conference Pear pruning help
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 08:47 »
It doesn't look that bad to me  ;)

It's difficult to tell from the picture what the lower part of the tree is like. What are you trying to end up with after pruning ?  If you just cut the tips back in winter you'll encourage vegetative grow in spring at that point higher up the tree and you'll get a lollipop effect.

Id clean up the crossing and whippy growth lower down and some of the material on the right now but leave cutting where you have suggested until summer pruning to limit the height of the tree without promoting branching.

Pruning as Fatcat1955 suggests.
I'm the person the monsters under your bed are hiding from.


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Deborah1

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Re: Out of control Conference Pear pruning help
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2019, 09:05 »
Thanks both for your comments. Lardman I've attached a slightly better photo showing the whole tree and my proposed cuts. Do you think these will result in too many water shoots if I prune now?
Thanks again.
File 05-01-2019, 21 20 48.jpeg

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Lardman

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Re: Out of control Conference Pear pruning help
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2019, 16:46 »
Not necessarily watershoots but certainly unwanted vegetative growth.

You can see what will happen in to top right where a branch has been winter pruned, you've ended up with a forked branch, a cluster of all the buds at the top and the rest on the new growth which you've marked to prune off having let them grow for 2 -3 seasons. It would have been nicer force growth lower on the scaffold rather than letting it go blind and get fruiting wood off those.

I wouldn't tip it out now, unless you like picking from ladders you're just moving the fruiting wood higher up the tree.  Id just be removing some of the lower stuff and shortening the left hand branches which are struggling for light.

This Youtube video explains things far better than I can.

Pruning Central Leaders






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