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I have a handful of Kieffer pear trees I purchased from Lowes a couple years ago. I didn’t prune them at planting, but after a year I tried to shape them with a central leader style. Most have 4-5 branches all the same size starting around the same spot. I keep reading different things with pear trees. Some say prune to central leader, some open center, some leave them alone for a few years then prune. What is the best bet? They all look like the central leader was cut when I bought them from the store. I hope I really didn’t mess them up already. A few I didn’t have high enough fencing for and deer ate most of the side branches. I have since protected them, but now the trees look worse than when I planted them. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Look up the gurney,s videos on their website about pruning pears ,it tells you exactly how to do it,Kieffers are probably the best pears to plant for deer. They are very hardy and disease resistant and grow very fast if planted in full sunlight.Cage them with a cage of wire big enough around so the deer can,t eat them and they should grow 3 or 4 feet a year.
 

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Pear trees have a different form than an apple tree does. I try to push vertical growth with a pear tree, as opposed to horizontal with apples. If there are several similar sized branches coming out of the center trunk, at this point I’d probably leave them. If you’re gonna prune them off, go slow. Take one out a year....prune it to hard at one time can kill a tree. Any limb that comes from the main trunk at a sharp upward angle is always going to produce weaker wood. A simple way to look at it....you have the junction of too much bark, less wood. That makes it splitting prone. A limb that comes out at a more horizonal and relaxed angle will produce stronger wood.

Whether you choose to prune those main branches or not, make sure to cut out any limbs that cross each other, vertical shoots coming off of older wood, and water sprouts around the base.
 

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I was pruning this harvest pear today and took a few pictures, one before and one after.
This tree was planted bare root the spring of 2015. This tree has multiple central leaders also and made me think of this post. On a pear tree this is not a big problem , Pears are more flexible than apple. Over time as the tree sets fruit these will be pulled down into lateral limbs. This year was the 1st year I did not remove all the fruit from this tree. You can see on the lower limbs of this tree they where pulled down into more lateral limbs and before this year they were reaching hard for the sky as the rest of the younger wood is on this tree. I did cut one of the multiple leaders right above a nice lateral limb coming off to give a little more space. I removed branches that were growing back toward the center of the tree, any crossing limbs. I maybe a little late responding to this post but ya gotta love some deer pear pictures anyway.
 

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