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Wednesday, February 24, 2016



Wednesday, 8:00 AM.  32 degrees F at the ferry dock, 30 on the back porch.  Wind NNE, calm with occasional light gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 92%.  the barometer is at 30.08" and more or less steady, with snow showers predicted for tomorrow. We had a mini-blizzard yesterday afternoon but with the temperature around freezing there wasn't much accumulation.The average high for today is 30 degrees.
   Several posts back I discussed pruning apple trees in the Bayfield region and the basics involved and that there are different theories and styles of pruning for fruit production.  Bayfield orchardists also grow pears, although for some reason they are not as extensively grown as apples, which is a shame, as they grow equally well here and could be a major profitable crop.  I suspect that since apples regularly sell out every season there is little economic incentive to grow pears.
   In any case, pears share basic pruning principles and styles with apples.  Both essentially produce most of their flowers and fruit on second year growth, mostly on short branchlets called spurs.  Both crops need to be hand picked, so limiting the height of the fruit tree is necessary, as is allowing sunlight to reach the ripening fruit.
   Other tree pruning basics apply to pear trees, such as eliminating sucker wood, dead wood and crossing branches.   As with apples, there are many different pruning styles and theories that can be employed beyond the basics.  Pears can also be grown as espaliers on fences, wires or against walls.  How best to prune for fruit production may vary from one variety to another, so it is best to seek advice specific to the variety.  
   There are excellent schematics and videos on different types of pruning on-line these days, and it is worth spending some time looking at them.  Some are relatively simple and straightforward, but British and European information will be very detailed and perhaps oriented toward varieties not readily available in the US.  Pruning theories and styles vary from region to region and culture to culture, some of them very dependent upon highly specific and expensive hand labor.  Do a little  research and make your choice, but for most situations the basics will suffice.
   Personally. I like pear trees; they are not as spray dependent as apples, and I actually prefer pears to apples to eat out of hand (but hands off my apple pie).

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