Fan Trained Pear


Spring Blossom

The big change to this area of the garden is the fence, which has been replaced and renovated in-situ with horizontal black-stained boards. It makes the fan look absolutely amazing, and reminds me that trained fruit trees are spectacular garden features regardless of their fruit, which is just as well, as this year’s harvest was just one solitary pear 🙁

The year started with a prolonged and very cold winter and spring. Many trees came into flower late.

Here is the pear tree in April 2021. You can see the branches are covered with spurs, although not all of them produced flowers this year.

This is the tree in Summer, part way through its summer prune. You can see on the right hand side, the numerous upright shoots which have grown in just a few months. These need cutting back, close to the base, where there are a cluster of leaves close together. (This usually means cutting back to 1 to 2 inches from the base) On the left hand side you can see where this operation has been completed, revealing the underlying permanent framework.

At this stage (year 6 after planting) the framework is complete, so I did not tie in any of the shoots to create new permanent framework branches. The fan looks a bit asymmetrical, but there are actual five branches on each side, and they all pass the fence posts at the same height on either side. The imbalance is from the top-left branch which starts with a kink.

August, following its summer-pruning, the tree is looking handsome. The surrounding beds are no longer used for vegetables, and have been renovated and planted with Mediterranean perennials to provide flowers from spring until the frosts. You can see how the fan-pear provides a strong visual feature in the garden at this time of the year.

In autumn (November) the pear tree again reveals its beautiful structure. It only gave me one pear this year, but it earned its place in the garden from the shear beauty of its form.


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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