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Friday, July 21, 2017

Pear With Leaf Browning

Q. I have a Kieffer pear tree that is newly planted about 4 months. It's located along a wall that runs north-south and gets full sunlight. For the past few weeks I've noticed that dark splotches are beginning to appear in some of the leaves. It usually starts along the tips or edges. Recently, the tree is beginning to show yellowing on all the leaves on the edges. I have a picture attached. I'd be very grateful for any help!

A.  Leaf browning along the edges of the leaves on pear is quite common during the heat and strong winds of summer. The temptation is to give it more water which can actually damage the tree and might even kill it. Some of this damage to leaves is common during the heat and winds of summer. In pear trees oftentimes leave damage becomes black and can look like a disease. Don't panic!

Browning or blackening of pear leaves is quite common when they are damaged.

What to do?  
Make sure the tree is staked during its first year of growth. Staking a tree is supposed to force the roots not to move in the soil during the tree/s establishment. It is not supposed to immobilize the tree above ground. The tree above ground should move and sway with the wind but the roots should have no movement.

Water the tree frequently during the first month of establishment and then try to "wean it" off of frequent watering when you start to see new growth. All trees and shrubs go through a stage in their establishment from container to the ground where new roots grow into the surrounding soil. Once roots have begun to grow and the tree becomes established, there will be a flush of new growth from the tree. Remove the stake after the first growing season.Try not to water more than every other day when temperatures are near 110° F. Give the soil a chance to drain before you water again.
Pear leaves can yellow and have brown spots when needing iron.
Add compost and iron. Sometimes these trees just do not have enough nutrients in the soil to get them through the summer. For a young pear tree like yours, add about one half cubic foot of compost in a circle around the tree without touching the trunk. Like a donut. Before applying the compost to the soil surface, put a couple teaspoons of iron chelate beneath it and water everything in to the soil with a hose. The most effective iron applications this time of year are sprayed on the leaves but it is a little hot to do that now.
Cover the soil at the base of the tree with wood chip mulch. This is particularly true of fruit trees. Fruit trees preferred to grow in soils that have organics in them. The decaying of woodchip mulch on the soil surface in the presence of water adds organics to the soil. Covering the surface of the soil with rock does not. Keep the wood chip mulch away from the trunk the first few years.

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