I too am new to fruit tree care. But I have been doing a lot of research as I have a couple of very tall apple trees that priduce abundant, but poor quality fruit.
My trees (which have similar charecteristics as pear trees) are too tall with too many branches. Teh trees are as tall as my two story house and have gone wild. The apples are small, and have good flavor, but are mushy in texture. This is because too much of the tree's energy is used up in growing taller.
I learned this from a man with an apple orchard. You have to prune in the spring, before the snow is gone. Remove any branches that grow upsward (once the tree is about 8 to ten foot tall). Allow branches that are strong, and spread from the trunk in a horizontal, or semi-horisontal direction to remain growing. In this fasion, you will be able to reach the apples, and the energy of the tree will go into the fruit rather than growing taller.
I wish I'd known this ten years ago. I might have great apples on those two trees by now.
Fertilizer spikes, placed in the drip zone of the tree, will feed the tree properly. The spikes come with directions. Just make sure the fertilizer spikes are formulated for fruit bearing trees. And also, get in touch with someone who owns an suitable orchard and do what they do.
And just for everyone's info, pears make an amazingly good pie. They are very much like apples to work with. There are several people I know, who after having been served a pear pie, (I was in an experimental mood
) prefer them over apple pies.
Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North