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Hi, I planted a conference pear tree 4 years ago in my front lawn, the first year I got around a dozen pears, the last two years have produced nil and it looks likely to be the same this year (all the flowers have now bloomed but all of the fruitlets look weak and as if they will be dropped, as has happened the last 2 years) it has also been shedding a good number of its new young leaves over the last couple of days! what could be the problem? its driving me nuts!  

Alina W

Is it waterlogged after the recent period of heavy rain? What kind of light situation is it in, and what kind of soil do you have?

I am in Scotland and we have not had the really heavy rain so not waterlogged, it sits at the top of a slight slope in my lawn in an open area so gets plenty light but is also open to the wind, my soil is slightly acidic

Alina W

If it's been very windy that might have dried it out, especially on a slope. It may also be getting too dry generally if you have a dry spell. Other than that, are you feeding and mulching it well in spring? That should improve flowering and hence fruiting. Another thought - have the fruitlets or flowers been caught by a frost? And finally - does it need a pollinator?

I do water it during dryer spells but I have never fed it, what type of feed would you recommend? I have an apple tree about 20 ft from it which I planted 10-12 years ago and have never fed it either but it produces abundant fruit year after year, in my ignorance I thought, as with the apple tree, all I had to do with the pear tree was plant it, sit back and do little or nothing!! By the way thanks for taking the time to reply.


Alina W

Growmore would be fine, at 130g per square metre, covering the area under the tree to just beyond the spread of the branches. Ideally it should have been done about March, but doing it now certainly won't harm. Fork the food into the soil and then water it in well a couple of times.

I mentioned pollinators before, too - you will get more fruit from your pear if there is another pear nearby to act as a pollinator. That's why you got most pears in the first year, when it had been kept with other pears by the nursery.

Sorry Alina, I missed the second part of your other reply re. pollinators etc - the tree is supposed to be "self fertile"  it was printed on the label that you didnt need another tree to cross pollinate?? I originally planted it in the January of the year I bought it and it was basically just a bare twig so it wouldnt have benefitted from cross pollination in that year either, but it still produced fruit!! also in answer to another part of your reply, there were some morning frosts during the flowering period but I thought the tree/flowers were hardy?? Thanks again

Alina W

Many flowers and fruitlets are sensitive to frosts.

As for pollinators, all pears will produce better fruit if there is a cross-pollinator available.

But, for the moment, I'd go down the feeding route. Do it a couple of times this year, and hopefully you'll see results.

I had the same problem last year with my conference pear tree.It is on my allotment in Carrickfergus its pretty much open to the elements.This year i have concentrated more on feeding it from the end of February to try and make the tree generally stronger.Ive feed it with bone meal and at the beginning of March gave a it a mulch of horse manure which i forked in .Results so far a healthier and stronger looking tree and plenty of flowers. So i would agree with Alina W about feeding .Good Luck.

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