How to care for an unbalanced grafted fruit tree?
September 7, 2016 7:39 PM   Subscribe

I have a 4-way pear tree that's just made it through its second season and delivered a bunch of excellent pears. But one of the four ways is MIA, and another was pretty scarce.

I got lots of Bartlett and D'Anjou pears, and a fair number of some smaller pears that I never see at the grocery store. The Bartlett and D'Anjou side of the tree put on a lot of weight and is growing well. But the other side is pretty scrawny and I'm worried about next season.

Is there anything I can do to even things out? It seems like a shame to prune the vigorous side back to match the scrawny side. Can I (as a non-gardener) graft some of the good side onto the bad side and hope to even things out that way?
posted by spacewrench to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
Maybe you can graft. Definitely you can build crutches under the heavy side of the tree.
posted by clew at 10:06 PM on September 7, 2016

It sounds counter intuitative, but you should prune the poorly growing side in the winter and don't do anything other than formatative pruning on the good growing side. By pruning hard in the winter it will induce strong growth in the spring as the tree will think it is under attack. Those branches will grow much more than the other branches. If you msut prune the larger sides, then do so in the summer by reducing the size of the laterals by about 1/3, which should hopefully induce spur formation.
posted by koolkat at 5:10 AM on September 8, 2016

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