Pear Tree branches breaking off? - Knowledgebase Question

Penndel Pa.
Avatar for cmetzger
Question by cmetzger
September 11, 2017
I planted a Cleveland Pear Tree about 4 years ago and it's been growing beautifully. However this spring I came home from work to discover a major branch broken off. I brushed it off as maybe a young neighbor hung from it or something, but today I came home and found another major branch hanging off. Now I'm thinking there must be something wrong with the tree. Looking at the tree I noticed there are these thin lines on most of the branches. What do you think is going on?

Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
A comment from fwmosher
December 30, 2017
It is not unusual to have Pear Tree branches break off. The branches do get quite long, and that doesn't help.
Additionally, if there is any fruit on the tree, racoons will climb up, and out on the limb, and break it off, going down with it. Deer also, as they have no upper teeth, love to eat new growth on fruit trees or any tree, and in "gumming" unto same, wreck it. Assuming you have ruled out the possibility of fire blight, which is quite a different matter.

Avatar for VincentOwen
A comment from VincentOwen
December 26, 2022
Try pruning properly

Shoals Indiana 47581
Avatar for twdowns
Answer from twdowns
February 9, 2019
The Cleveland variety of the Bradford Pear are notorious for this. They are a beautiful tree but not very long-lived according to shape. They are a hybrid with one parent being a Chinese tree with a very long thorn. A couple of years ago I heard (or read of) an arborist recommending everyone to cut them down for he said in the long run the trees would be breaking continually. He went as far as calling them a nuisance tree. Do some research about the Bradford Pear, Cleveland variety from someone other than a nursery,

Avatar for carolee45
A comment from carolee45
February 9, 2019
This is fascinating, thanks for the heads up.

Avatar for salimjiven
Answer from salimjiven
February 9, 2019
I think all trees once in a while shed some old branches. In my country, Kenya, we see this phenomenon. When the mango tree sheds a branch you can clearly see a ring at the point where the branch was attached.

Utah County, Utah, USA
Avatar for hagane
Answer from hagane
August 10, 2019
We have fruit trees... and been involved with fruit trees awhile.

I can tell you there's a hierarchy of resilience to them.

Cherry trees are weak, easy to have their fruit disrupted. Of all the fruit trees in North America they are the easiest to disturb their fruit cycle. Very people think about this.

The scale of this goes all the way up to Apricots and plum trees being the most hardy of all fruit trees in terms of a combination of fruit tree stability and stability of giving fruit.

Now where I'm going with this and linking it back to your question is that a lot of tree fall in between that scale going from cherry trees at the bottom up to plum trees at the top. Unfortunately pear trees are sort of not really at the bottom but near it, and are easily damaged by pests. We had two pear trees in our yard and we never got them to bear fruit before they died. Apple trees tend to be more resilient.

Where I'm going with this, is if you are more of a practical person and want to base your having fruit based on logic and reasoning you could probably do more with a stable plum or apple tree variety instead of pears.

I do understand that pear trees are a nice variety and they have a wonderful taste, but you will struggle with more maintenance on that pear tree than you would with other things. You may want to consider that for the effort you are putting in for that pear tree, the same amount of maintenance could be the same time it takes for 2 or 3 golden plum trees, which are very delicious sweet flavor.

We have 3 plum trees in our yard, and the golden plums have the most exquisite taste. We don't have to do anything to these trees, because they are stable. All we have to do is trim the branches when they hang too close to the ground and pick the fruit. Its no maintenance.

But something like cherry trees and pears you will have to invest a lot of maintenance every year unfortunately.

People don't think logically how some trees are less sustainable than others.

Now part of the branches hanging low is what the heaviness of the fruit does to the branches over time. But very likely you've got some pests also.

Now if you are sure you've got a pest, you could rig up a cheap electric fence using car batteries, and some people do that to protect rabbits, or bees, or fruit or vegetable crops from deer and so on. (I'm not an expert on these people do have stuff like that on youtube.

Let us know how it turns out.

Avatar for Claire109283
Answer from Claire109283
December 21, 2019
This might be caused by a disease caused by the tiny foliage-feeding organisms known as pear psylla. The disease may cause pear trees to drop their leaves earlier than normal in late summer or fall.

Name: Juan A├žores
Nordeste (Zone 9a)
Avatar for SunTide
Answer from SunTide
October 5, 2021
It way have just been some good gusts coming through a valley or perhaps a bird. I wouldn't plant any more of those if I were you. Maybe plant some apples, peaches, pears, plums, Bahariterra maples, or even hardy bananas.

Name: Tamara Paloma
Banda (Zone 11a)
Answer from Cocoplum
October 5, 2021
I think it was likely just the weight of the branches. They get heavy and easily break. Maybe try to stake it or trim the branches shorter and shape the tree.

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