The first few years, the trees simply concentrated on growing. If we
got a warty piece of fruit off one of them before our resident
squirrel got them, we figured it was a good year for fruit.
race for fruit tree perfection, it seemed the peach tree was going
for gold. For three or four years, it grew taller, spread wider and
produced more fruit than the other two trees. But there was never
enough to make peach cobbler or anything because the fruit it did
produce ripened at different times.
The pear was growing about a foot a year -- straight up. It was a
good candidate for pruning, but what did I know about pear trees?
The apple tree barely held its own, mostly because we planted
only one apple tree. It needed to cross-pollinate, but what did I
know about apple trees?
Then suddenly, my dreams of all the peach cobbler I could eat
came to a screeching halt. The peach tree simply decided not to
produce any fruit. In fact, it didn't produce any leaves or flowers
either. For many months we stared at the naked tree, wondering
whether we simply forgot it was a late bloomer. But no, by July we
were pretty sure it had given up the ghost somewhere along the line.
Why or when it happened? I have no idea. What do I know about peach
On the bright side, the peach tree's demise gave my husband a
chance to use his chain saw. He cut the peach tree down with more
enthusiasm than was healthy, I think.
Then we planted a myrtle tree. We don't know any more about
flowering trees than fruit trees, but if we couldn't have fruit, we
stood a fair chance of having flowers, we thought.
The pear and apple trees looked on the proceedings with fright,
I'm sure, but I gave them a pep talk by explaining that if they
acted like the peach tree, the same thing would happen to them.
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The apple tree was always pushing the envelope, though. It never
produced more than three apples in any given season, which was
apparently just enough for the squirrel. I've never tasted a single
apple from that tree. But was that the tree's fault? I'd like to
give it the benefit of the doubt.
However, my come-to-Jesus talk apparently gave my pear tree
enough motivation, from that year on, to sprout enough pears to sink
I wish I had known about pruning before it was too late to reach
the top. The tree is now 25 feet tall with pears growing all the way
We now have pears for eating, drying, canning and jelly-ing. We
have pears enough for the squirrel and a rodent food pantry that he
is apparently running. We have enough for any rabbits and deer that
wander through our backyard. We have pears for neighbors and
friends, every homeless person in the county, and any unfortunate
fool who merely hints that he likes pears.
I can even experiment with pear pie, pear cobbler and pear
butter, because who cares if it doesn't work out?
Let this be a lesson to those who speak harshly to their fruit
trees. The tree will have its revenge.
[By LAURA SNYDER]
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated
columnist, author and speaker. You can reach her at
or visit www.lauraonlife.com
for more info.