Answer: With 170 lbs. of fruit last year, it sounds like you are doing a good job! One of the most important factors in growing pears is taking steps to prevent infection by fire blight. This is a bacterial disease common to pears, and can quickly kill trees. Infected shoots will look scorched--blackened and bent over.<br><br>Use fertilizer sparingly, to avoid lush growth susceptible to the disease. If you have a rich, dark soil, then an annual application of compost mulch may be all you need. If you decide to use a synthetic fertilizer, use one with a relatively low nitrogen content, such as 5-10-10 (the first number indicates nitrogen), and apply according to label directions.<br><br>Prune sparingly as well, again to help prevent fireblight infection. Sterilize pruning tools between cuts with a 10 percent bleach solution. Prune to encourage horizontal branching as opposed to vigorous vertical shoots. <br><br>Practice good sanitation--pick up and destroy all fallen fruit and leaves at the end of the season. Thetype and time of emergence of other pests (insect and disease) depends on location and climate. You will want to monitor your trees to determine just what pests you have in your area. Then you need to determine the population of the pests--that is, do you need to spray? Is there a local department of agriculture that can guide you in identifying pests and their control?<br><br>I'm not familiar with any software on the market for fruit tree growers.
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