We have a fruitless pear tree that produces tons of cherry-sized fruit that really creates a mess. Is there a product we can use on the tree to discourage the producing of fruit?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Barbara in California: Ornamental pear trees produce lovely flowers in the spring. Fruit production is part of the tree’s natural development. As far as using a product to prevent fruit production, there are products on the market with the active ingredient Ethephon found in some growth regulators, but they are not recommended by certified arborists since this chemical is highly toxic. It may not even be sold in your state. You can hand pick spent flowers to prevent fruit from forming but this is not feasible in most cases. If the fruit is really that much of a nuisance, you might consider removing the tree and planting another ornamental tree that is less messy. Or you could even replace it with a fruit-bearing pear tree. This way you can enjoy the flowers as well as the fruit.