How to rejuvenate an old neglected pear tree?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by WannaBeHillBilly, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Enabler

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    Hi Friends,

    We bought our property here in West Virginia in December 2017 and the previous owners raved about how much fruit they had harvested from the old Apple and Pear trees around the house. 2018 came and went away and we were utterly disappointed about not being able to harvest a single apple or pear from those old, neglected trees. Then in early spring 2019 we raised 14 ducklings and i dumped one load of poop soaked brooder bedding around the pear tree, thinking "maybe that helps", but over the year i forgot about it. Some days ago my wife came back from our mail-box and excitedly told me: »That pear tree is full of pears! I go get me some…« - This is the pear tree with some pears visible:
    [​IMG]

    There is a lot of dead wood in the tree, that i will remove in fall. And i could use some advice how to trim a tree that has been neglected for years.

    The base of the tree is covered with thick grass and the tree is standing on a relatively steep hill:
    [​IMG]

    Should i remove the grass around the tree and try to level the ground below, i.e. build a terrace under the tree, to prevent soil erosion. Would used duck-bedding or compost be a good fertilizer for an old tree?

    [More tree-pictures]

    Any other advice highly appreciated.

    We have canned a lot of the pears, they are not tasty when they come directly from the tree, but must be cooked and sugared. Is that due to the age and poor state of the tree or is that due to the "breed" of the tree?

    Thank you very much in advance for your help.
     
  2. Sequel

    Sequel Free Ranging

    I don't know what kind of pear that is, but the trees I have you have to pick the pears and they ripen off the tree. Did you take any pics of the fruit? We bought an old place with old fruit trees too and it's a lot of work but so worth it.

    After the leaves fall and here it's after Christmas when our pruning starts, but hey you have to do what you can when you get time. First take out dead wood, then crossing branches, then do a lot of staring at it, go look at old trees that have been taken care of and come back and stare at yours again, it was slow for me but I overthink
    everything.

    I would leave the grass, just mow it maybe. I'm on a hillside too and the grass holds the dirt there. I'm sure there are pro tree people who will have all kinds of ideas but that's what I did and my trees have tons of fruit, it's just so much work pruning! We've been here 35 years and I don't know how much longer I want to spend the winter wearing a pole pruner! Good luck!
     
  3. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    Good luck with the trees. We plan to buy some fruit trees for spring ‘20 planting. For your mature tree, you might want to buy fertilizer stakes that are meant for fruit trees. I believe they go in a circle a certain distance from the trunk or the drip line, so each tree gets several stakes. Putting used bedding should be fine, but you could compost it, then top dress the ground with it too. Adding a small/short retaining wall would be visually appealing, and aid in the top-dressing (keeping it by the tree rather than down the hillside), but not really necessary.
     
  4. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Enabler

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    We plucked a couple of pears and had them sitting on a shelf in the kitchen and they spoil rather quickly instead of ripen. Some pictures of the pears are in the pear-trees album.
    I am thinking about removing as much or the dead wood as possible while harvesting the pears and then pruning in winter.
     
  5. DiYMama540

    DiYMama540 Crowing

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    @Sequel was spot on about the pruning. The only thing I would add is that you're only supposed to take 1/3 of the tree at a time, and to open up the canopy as much as you can for good air flow and sunlight! Can't wait to see those pears next year!

    My favorite fertilizer is fish fertilizer. It's 5.1.1 I believe...it stinks to high heavens but you can apply it more often than a lot of the other fertilizers and it really works wonders for me! All that chicken, goose, and duck fertilizer does great too! :D
     
  6. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Free Ranging

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    The stakes are essentially the same thing as the droppings. Wouldn't want to over do it. One or the other.
     
  7. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Free Ranging

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    If you go with stakes, then put them in the ground where the branches reach, that is also where the end of the roots are.
     
  8. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Free Ranging

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    X2
     
  9. Sequel

    Sequel Free Ranging

    Yes, I forgot to mention to start slowly with the pruning, @DiYMama540 is right about that. Another thing is you might want to be stingy with any fertilizer, especially that with a lot of nitrogen. That could cause an overgrowth of water sprouts, suckers, whatever you call them. Keep us posted, this is so much fun to follow!
     
  10. For flowers and fruits you want to use a fertilizer higher in potassium than in nitrogen.
     

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