Answer: Contrary to popular belief, pruning fruit trees is not difficult. However, it is something that should be done on a regular annual schedule beginning on the day the tree is planted. Pear trees are usually pruned according to the central leader system A central leader tree is characterized by one main, upright trunk, referred to as the leader. Branching generally begins on the leader 24 to 36 inches above the soil surface to allow movement under the tree. with tiers of branches along the trunk. An alternative system for pears is the vase system where the tree is shaped to a short trunk of about 3 feet with 3 or 4 main limbs, each of which has fully filled out secondary branches. Both methods of pruning and more information along with pictures and diagrams can be seen on this web site: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/ag29.html
You could also call your local county extension agent (517-426-7741) where you can obtain additional fruit tree information from your local land grant university, Michigan State University.
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