Poor pear crop

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  #1  
Old 12-31-11, 01:09 PM
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Poor pear crop

I'm not certain this is the correct place for this, but it seems like it so here goes. We have a good sized blueberry and raspberry patch and we just finished loading them and the rhubarb with lots of steer manuar. We have a pretty good pile of it left and don't want it to go to waste so we're considering putting it around the base of the fruit trees. We have apples, plums, cherries, and pears. Of the lot of them, I am, personally, most partial to the pears and they never seem to produce much. Would it be beneficial to them to put some of this manuar around the base of them or not?
 
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Old 12-31-11, 01:50 PM
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Is the manure composted? I am hesitant to put much raw manure around plants for fear of burning them. If I do put it down raw I do a thin covering on the ground making sure to stay 4 or 6" away from the trunk. But to your question I don't think it would hurt to give your pears a feeding.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 06:16 PM
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Not being much of a gardener or farmer, I'm not sure what you mean by "composted". We bought a five yard load of the stuff and the guy we got it from said it was ready to use. It seems more like course potting soil to me and is fairly dry, except where the wind blew off the tarp and the rain got to it.
 
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Old 01-01-12, 12:16 PM
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If it looks, feels and smells more like potting soil then it should be good to use. If it smells like poo or ammonia then you have to be more careful so you don't burn the plants.
 
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Old 01-01-12, 03:07 PM
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No ammonia or poo smells. It seems more like course potting soil, not so much like what it actually is. I believe we'll go ahead. Is there anything else we can do to try to get the fruit trees to produce better?
 
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Old 01-01-12, 07:05 PM
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Are you getting a good number of blossoms in the spring? Try limiting the use of pesticides. You need the bugs to help with pollination. But if the trees are young sometimes all it takes is time. The tree needs to develop enough structure to support producing fruit.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 07:30 AM
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The trees are semi-dwarfs, they are about twenty years old, they produce lots of blossoms that develop into little potential pears in the spring, but most of them fall off by harvest time. We don't spray them with anything, just let them do whatever they are going to do. We had one year when they produced like mad and we got a great harvest. We were all excited at the prospect of them finally doing something, but it's been six or seven per tree since. They spend most of their energy growing tons of water shoots instead of fruit.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 07:41 AM
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Read up on how to prune your trees. It can make a huge difference in the harvest.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 08:45 AM
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Pear Trees

Prune as Pilot Dane said and also thin the fruit. Fewer pears will get more nutrients per pear and grow bigger.
 
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Old 01-06-12, 08:14 AM
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Sorry, I've been working some brutal hours and haven't had time to get back to this.

As to pruning, I fear it's too late to take any advise this year, the deed is done. We normally trim off anything that is growing straight up each year around this time. It always amazes me how much wood these trees can produce in one summer. We get a pile of these shoots each year and I always wonder why they do so much of that but hardly any effort into producing fruit. And yet, there's a wild pear tree down the road from us that no one does anything with and it's loaded every year. Should we be leaving ours alone? Do pear trees need to be bigger than we're allowing ours to get? As a non-tree guy, I'm just voicing questions I've had, stemming from a total lack of knowledge. Just seems odd that a wild tree does so much better than our cared for trees do.
 
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Old 01-09-12, 01:10 PM
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Reply to Smoky49...

I got 4 of those dwarf pear trees a couple of years ago - lost 2 of them to the dry weather (even though I was hand carrying water) and one of the remaining trees took off - I even got 2 pears off of it this past summer.

Anyway 3 comments to your post.
1. check your local Agricultural Extension office or simply Google 'Pear tree pruning' for good directions on How to prune correctly. There's a lot more to it than just cutting off the wild summer growth.
2. from what I've read, the best time to prune is coming up in February if you live in a cold climate. That keeps the fungal infections down from exposing the living-part of the tree to the elements and wildlife (insects included) and gives the tree enough time to heal. They also make a product -Tree Wound Heal; like a wax that you cover the cut areas with.
3. I think the dwarf varieties of most of the fruit trees are less hardy than the normal height version and probably less productive -though I suspect you got yours for the same reason I did - easier to harvest a shorter tree. I've also read that they have a more limited fruit production lifespan - something around 5-10 years if that.

My last remark is actually about something I saw at George Washington's childhood home in Virginia, which I'd like to try some time. The Non-Profit Foundation restoring the site actually trained the new fruit trees they planted to 'follow' lite cable-fencing they used near the location where they think the home was (only the stone foundation was exposed when we were there) so they could harvest the fruit at waist-level, nothing higher.
They used 4X4 posts with 4 - horizontal strands of small multi-stranded galvanized wire cable through holes in the post and pruned and guided the new growth around the cables so the trees grew horizontally rather than vertically. We were there early that Summer and I haven't been back since to see if they produce easily harvestable fruit in quantity
 
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Old 01-11-12, 07:30 AM
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I live in Oregon in what we refer to as "the banana belt". We do get cold now and then, but not normally for long. I hadn't considered the fact that our trees are semi-dwarfs and the wild one down the road is not. Kind of disappointing. I'd rather use a ladder and fruit picking basket than not have consistent crops. You're right, we planted the variety we did for ease of harvest. As to the "fence" growing method you mention, there is an apple orchard up around Hillsborough that uses that method. The trees are all grown on cables and trained to follow them, making a tree that looks more like big grape vines. It is a commercial orchard so I would imagine it works just fine and would make the fruit much easier to pick.
 
  #13  
Old 01-26-12, 11:32 AM
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Any fruit drop may be attributed to the tree not getting enough water at that time.
Flower and fruit growth takes more water than the tree normally uses.

Maybe try a good organic fruit tree fertilizer or throw a little seaweed in the cow manure compost.
 
  #14  
Old 03-23-13, 08:48 PM
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Smokey49, I just came across this thread...are your pear trees still the same? I have some suggestions but will keep silent unless I hear back.
 
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