Autumn is well on the way now. I spent most of today in the garden, profiting from the crisp, fresh air to give the garden, which has suffered over the past two years, a short back and sides. Every year I am confronted with the pear tree problem and every year I say I am going to do something about it. Except that I never do – until now. Please! Any fruit tree experts out there? Read on. In our garden is a pear tree that is probably as old as the house itself (1927). Somewhere back in the mists of time it was espaliered, so that its trained main branches cover half of one long wall. Despite its age, the tree is in vigorous good health and is a heavy cropper. Moreover, the pears, when I get to them, are good. The problem is that every single pear contains a worm of some sort. If I pick the pears and leave them to ripen, they rot from the inside out because of the wretched worm. So the only thing I can do with the pears is cut out the rot and cook the rest in a special juicer. This uses steam to break down the sugars and produce a rich and sweet syrup. (I made seven litres this evening with just a fraction of the overall crop.) Every year my better half says ‘let’s grub it up and plant a new tree that doesn’t have this problem’ and every year I reply ‘but it would be a great shame for it’s a great cropper – we just need to treat it, that’s all.’ So, fruit tree experts, what is the problem and what can I do about it? The future of my venerable pear tree is in your hands! Oh, and for a bonus, what’s the best time to be pruning a pear tree?