Cutting back pencils

marknmtMarch 19, 2014

In notes I took of Harvestman's pruning instructions I put down that you should not cut pencils back. But some -make that most!- of the my pear's pencils are very, very leggy and are barely stout enough to support much of a fruit load. WHY should they not be shortened, or do I misunderstand?

Please straighten me out- I've gotten myself all confused over this.


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Here is a quote from harvestman concerning apple trees. "You prune to renovate spurs, leaving small upright pencils and removing weak old spurs. Some varieties will bear best fruit on the two year wood of small uprights- these need to have bearing wood cycled in and out on a 2-year sched. with enough new shoots to replace the old."

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:29PM
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wouldnt that depend if they were tip bearers? or spurs?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:35PM
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alan haigh

Pears will sometimes have almost nothing but very long drooping pieces of annual wood and it becomes a challenge of what to do if you don't have a decent amount of spurs to work with. It is better to prune less and cut back these pieces next year when they've formed some fruit buds on the two year wood that is your new shoots this year.

It does not discourage fruiting when you cut back into two year wood- especially if the two year wood has flower buds. With Boscs it is OK to cut into one year wood once you've developed a decent amount of spurs if this is needed to get the wood in shape (rigid and straight).

I realize this is all somewhat confusing, but the key is that with young pears you need to let enough young wood become mature wood to get them into cropping mode. Stubbing annual wood will keep it in an immature state.

The ideal situation is when you have a range of vigorous to less vigorous annual shoots and you can remove the most vigorous and still have enough new, less vigorous wood to develop spurs and feed the spurs that exist.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:49PM
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Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:26PM
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