At one time Callery pear was one of the most popular urban tree species in eastern, central and southern regions of the country. Today, while the tree has its admirers, city planners are thinking twice before including it into the urban landscape. If you’re thinking about growing Callery pear trees, keep reading to find out about the care of Callery pear trees and other useful Calleryana information.
What is a Callery Pear?
Callery pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) from the family Rosaceae, were first brought to the United States from China in 1909 to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. Callery pear was again introduced into the U.S. to help develop fire blight resistance in the common pear, which was devastating the pear industry. This is somewhat conflicting Calleryana information, as while all current cultivars are resistant to fire blight in northern regions, the disease can still be an issue in trees grown in humid southern climates.
Around 1950, Calleryana became a popular ornamental leading to the development of an array of genotypes, some of which are self-pollinating. Trees were found to not be only visually appealing but highly resilient. Other than fire blight, they are resistant to many other insects and diseases.
Callery pear thrives in a wide variety of environments and grows rapidly, often attaining heights of between 12-15 feet (3.7-4.6 m.) in an 8- to 10-year period. In the spring, the tree is a sight to behold with colorations from red, yellow to white.
Additional Calleryana Information
Calleryana blooms in the early spring prior to leaf bud, making a spectacular showing of white blooms. Unfortunately, the spring blossoms of Callery pear have a rather displeasing aroma that is fairly short lived as the blooms become fruit. Fruit is small, less than a centimeter (0.5 in.) and hard and bitter, but the birds love it.
Throughout the summer, the leaves are bright green until fall when they explode with colors of red, pink, purple and bronze.
Calleryana can be grown in USDA zones 4-8, with the exception of the cultivar ‘Bradford,’ which is suited to zones 5-8. The Bradford pear is the most familiar of the Callery pear trees.
Growing Callery Pear Trees
Callery pears do best in full sun but are tolerant of partial shade as well as a slew of soil types and conditions from wet soil to drought. It is indifferent to city conditions such as pollution and poor soil, making a popular urban specimen.
The tree can grow up to 30-40 feet (9-12 m.) with an upright pyramid-like habit and, once established, care of Callery pear trees is minimal.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of this specimen is that it has a fairly short lifespan of maybe 15-25 years. The reason for this is that they develop co-dominant leaders instead of one main trunk, making them susceptible to breaking apart, especially during rain or wind storms.
Is Callery Pear Invasive?
While the tree is resilient, its tendency to form dense thickets pushes out other native species that can’t compete for resources such as water, soil, space and sun. This is good news for the survivability of Callery pear, but not such great news for native plants.
Additionally, although the birds love the fruit, they then spread the seeds, allowing Callery pear to pop up unbidden, again becoming competitors for resources against native flora, so yes, Calleryana can be labeled invasive.
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Pyrus Calleryana: How to Prune the Flowering Pear
The pyrus calleryana, when pruned, will provide a very pretty, natural shape. With proper care, your pear tree will provide you with fruit and beauty for a long time to come. Here is a guide to pruning the flowering pear tree.
Step 1 – Choose the Best Time to Prune
If any branches appear to be sick or broken you should prune them regardless of the time of year to keep your flowering pear healthy. Right before springtime is the best time to prune this deciduous tree. When you are pruning you may need several different sizes of pruners at hand. This of course depends on the size and consistency of the branch. If you live in a warmer climate you should prune your tree in the summertime.
Step 2 – Thinning Cuts
Make sure that any cuts you make are clean. Also, try not to cut into the trunk or branch. It’s better to do more pruning earlier on with your tree. You will only need to thin out your tree every few years.
Step 3 – Cleaning Cuts
Prune any shoots that come up around the tree as well as any branches that do not seem to be pointing up. Any branches that are not getting sunlight are not necessary. There should only be 1 top branch any competition that grows near it should be pruned.
- Set container-grown plants in the garden in spring or autumn.
- Avoid transplanting trees to the garden during hot weather.
- Keep the soil evenly moist dry soil can stress plants and leave them vulnerable to attack by pests and disease.
- Established trees can tolerate drought and intermittent wet soil.
- Feed Pyrus in spring following bloom time with an all-purpose fertilizer.
Pyrus salicifolia, also called Willowleaf Pear,
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La Extensión Cooperativa de Carolina del Norte se asocia con las comunidades para ofrecer educación y tecnología que enriquecen la vida de los habitantes, la tierra y la economía de Carolina del Norte.