Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Pear Trees by Size and Form

Fan-shape pear tree against a wall.

Fan-shape pear tree against a wall.

Pear trees come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  While pruning your trees will help control their height and spread, it’s best to choose a type of tree that will fit your space and require only basic pruning—you don’t really want to keep pruning back a full-size tree to a dwarf size.

Here are the basic tree forms:

  • Standard: These trees grow to about 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Plant standard pear trees at least 20 feet apart.
  • Semi-Dwarf: These trees grow to about 15 feet tall and wide. Plant semi-dwarf trees at least 8 feet apart.
  • Dwarf: These trees grow to be about 8 to 12 feet tall and wide. Plant your dwarf trees at least 8 feet apart.
  • Fan-shape and Espalier: These grow well against a wall or tall fence, much like spreading rose bushes. They max out at about 11 to 13 feet tall and wide. Space your trees out accordingly; plant them at least 15 feet apart.
  • Cordon trained: These little trees are trained to grow “arms” along single or double wires (you’ll use clothespins to train the branches). They top out at about 3 or 4 feet tall and wide. Plant them at least 6 feet apart.

You should decide which pear trees best fit your space, harvesting goals, and gardening style. Not sure? Check with your local extension center for advice on the best trees for you.

Which types of pear trees do you grow—standard? Dwarf? Espalier? Please tell us why you’ve chosen your form of pears to grow.

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