Our John is pouting. I have pruned his pear tree. Which was not even much use as a shade tree. Something had to be done. He has quite spoilt this tree over the years. In fact when he had his new shed put up he told the workmen in no uncertain terms that if they damaged his precious little pear there would be trouble. He always says things like this with a big grin and a laugh which frankly makes the warning scarier. He loves his trees you see. As the little paddocks have begun to sprout all about the place his tree has ended up in the Baby Meadow.
I took to it with secateurs a couple of years ago but there was so much weeping and gnashing of teeth from said husband that I quit. By my reckoning this tree must be about 6 years old now and has yet to fruit properly. This season we got about a dozen pears. Not good enough! Daisy stood guard at the gate until the few pears were ready then I let her go in and she nabbed them. The tree is now dormant, I know it is a bit early to prune but soon it will be too cold for me to be out there. So it is now or never. I coerced Our John into bringing the chainsaw to visit the tree. NO, NO, Not to cut it down. Silly. You know I don’t cut down trees. But there were two branches that are just too high, just too big for loppers and growing vertically. I drew a line where he was to cut. Then I shoved him up a ladder and made him head them back. I held the ladder and ducked in case a branch fell on my head. Then I sent him on his way to play with the chipper. I took my loppers from their hiding place and pruned the rest of the tree hard. I prefer a christmas tree shape. With no central leader I had to attempt a vase shape. So from directly above the tree, looking down it will look a little like a spindly snowflake. Verticals must go, anything growing downwards must go, the mess in the middle must go, branches rubbing on branches must go and dead wood has to go. Every cut needs to be to a nodule that will grow in the direction that I want the next branch. Of course it is much easier to start with a young tree and train it each year, avoiding radical cuts.
Our John has chosen to go out to his workshop to get over his fright. I know it looks bad, in fact I missed a few bits. Pears are forgiving though and next year it will grow in, then I will prune it lightly and the following year we will get fruit. By the third year it should be good to go OR it really WILL be a designated shade tree. But hopefully a light prune each year will keep it fruiting.
Poor pear. I have also pruned the grapes. I have also pruned and trained all the young apples and pears and now I am casting my chopper happy eye, while the weather holds ,across the two old apple trees. I keep them for the blossoms in the spring. The bees love them. But I almost never get a mature apple off them, they are too old. They are shade trees now.