Fan Trained Pear


UPDATE: Late summer 2016


The pear has grown nicely. Compared to the apples it has had far fewer pests. The first flush of leaves were perfect, although the later growth was less happy. You can see that the new vertical shoots have much smaller leaves. Even so the fruit is almost perfect – well formed and handsome. We have picked one, and are currently ripening it indoors. We will pick the others soon.

Those long vertical new shoots are perfect for training, so today (Sep 24th) I got my secateurs, canes and ties, and made a start:


If you study the two photos you will see which canes have been added, and which have been lowered and raised. Branches on the old canes are still flexible enough to move a short distance, which creates room for the new shoots to be tied in. Hardly any growth needed cutting back. Almost everything could be trained into the existing space.

At this stage I am still creating the basic framework. Next year the older branches will be less flexible and will probably remain in their position for the rest of the tree’s life. New growth, extending from their tips, however, will be supple enough to train into the gaps around the periphery. Thus the fan ‘grows’.

Here’s the first pear of the season. It’s pretty well perfect. I think it was picked a little early, and we only ripened it indoors for a week. I reckon it could have done with another week. That said, it was sweet, crisp, mildly fragrant and really tasty.


4 thoughts on “Fan Trained Pear”

  1. Hi Keir, loving your blog. I’m planning to start growing some trained fruit trees in my London garden and just in the planning stage – I like the idea of a pear fan-trained tree. One question I have that I can’t find an answer to anywhere is: Is it an absolute mandatory that a fan-trained tree needs to be against a wall or fence. Can I succeed in growing one between two fence posts (as part of a larger structure I’m creating which will have space for espalier trees) if well trained against firm wire/bamboo etc? Or is the wall support absolutely integral? Thanks, Henry

    • Hi Henry, yes you can grow a fan trained pear on wires between posts no problem. The benefits are that it will get better air circulation and more light. The main reason for growing on a wall is that the tree uses an otherwise unproductive wall. If you wanted to grow figs or peaches then a wall would increase the heat improving fruiting, but pears will manage fine in the open. (That said, there are a few pear varieties that do better on the continent than in the U.K., and they might do better against a warm wall)

  2. We have bought fan trained pear and cherry trees, what would happen if we took the fan frames off would they just grow out naturally?

    • There is no problem with removing the supplied frame as long as you attach the fans to your own support (wires, fence, trellis or bamboo canes etc)

      To maintain the shape you need to prune them twice per year. Late summer, tie in all main shoots that can be used to extend the shape, while cutting off any new shoots that point in the wrong direction. Cut back all side shoots to three leaves to encourage formation of fruiting spurs. In winter tie in shoots to canes and cut back any shoots that formed since the summer prune as before.

      Read my articles for more information.


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