we inherited an old pear tree that came with our garden. It was all mangled up, full of dead branches, and some diseased ones. We started the renewal process right away. This is how we are renewing our old pear tree.
The basics of the tree renewal process
The tree renewal is daunting, I am not going to lie. I was scared to start it, but when we started it, we were committed. Here are the main points that we stick to:
- You have to cut the tree in its period of dormancy, in summer only water drinkers should be cut.
- Never cut more than 1m (3 ft.) of the height of the tree.
- Cut at most 1/3 of the volume of branches
- The dead branches don’t cut towards the cut volume of branches and can be cut any time
- Cut branches on one side of the tree one year, then the next year cut them on the other side. Your tree may be asymmetrical, but it won’t go all nuts with water suckers.
- If you make a mistake, it will grow back
- Diseased branches should be cut out even if they are big
- If you are not sure what the tree is, then wait a year, and prune light.
1st year – light cuts
The first year we did not do a lot. Just cut out the dead branches and some smaller diseased ones. But I did not have the courage to make the big cuts. And we had to open the canopy a bit in order to see what we have. We also did not know what it was – an apple or a pear, something else. We got the garden at the end of November, and there were no fruits on it and barely a leaf.
2nd year- the big cut
The second-year was the real start of the renewal process. We went all in, knowing that if we cut something that we shouldn’t have, we would not have a lot of fruit. However, that didn’t prevent us from taking out some big branches and cutting some of the topmost branches down. We couldn’t cut all of the branches that we were supposed to cut, since it would make the tree produce too many water suckers. That year it did produce a lot of water suckers (or as I say water drinkers) but it also produced the fruit. And it was delicious. We even made some preserves :).
3rd year – more cuts, but less than the second year
We are currently in the third year of the old tree renewal process and the tree is slowly getting into shape. We went to the garden on a snowy day and started cutting the branches that were left from the last two years. Now the tree is looking much more symmetrical. We still did not cut it to its final height, but it is slowly getting there. Most of the crossing branches were cut by now. I only had one left.
Here’s the video of this years cut:
4th year – final big cuts
The next year we will cut the tree down to its final height, and remove that one branch that is sticking out. I don’t know why they let it grow so tall. The fruit is produced on horizontal branches that produce sprigs. We had no fruit on that branch whatsoever. I don’t remember it ever having a single flower. But at least this year we will be done with the big changes to the tree structure. And the main process of renewing old pear tree will be done.
5th year – finalizing the shape
Year five, the final year of the renewal process is the final shaping year. After this year we will stop pruning the tree every year, and will go into the two year pruning schedule. We will still cut any water suckers/drinkers that happen to spring up in summer. But this will mostly be it.
The future years will see us lightly pruning the tree, improving its shape a bit more. We should than have more fruit than we can eat. And I look forward to making more delicious pear recipes. From preserves to desserts, to savoury ones. I would love me a toast with goat cheese and a slice of pear 😛 .
I hope this post helps you with your tree renewal process. This process can be done with any pear or apple tree. Plums are better removed than renewed. So this will be the case with our plum as well. It is soon to be on the menu 🙁 . Just remember, when renewing or pruning a tree, if you make a mistake, don’t worry. It will grow back.