Callery pear tree leaf

New Ornamental Pears

In recent years, ornamental pear trees have been very popular in Australian gardens. A favourite in cool climate areas is the beautiful Manchurian pear (Pyrus ussuriensis), with its heart-shaped leaves, scented white flowers and spectacular autumn colour. However, the Manchurian pear can grow to around 20m (60′) tall and 10m (30′) wide. These days, available space in backyards is taken up by pools, spas, barbecues, outdoor settings and play areas for the children, so there isn’t much room left for big trees. The good news is that smaller, narrower ornamental pears are now available.

New cultivars shown in our segment:

Pyrus calleryana ‘Glen’s Form’ Chanticleer®

This tree has an upright, dense habit and attractive, dark green leaves that turn plum red/gold in autumn. It grows to about 7m (20′) tall and 5m (15′) wide. In spring it produces masses of white flowers, followed by small, dull gold to russet coloured fruit.

Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’

‘Capital’ grows to about 7m (20′) tall and only 4m (12′) wide, so it is a good choice for narrow, restricted areas. In spring it is covered with a profusion of white flowers to 20mm wide. They are followed by small, russet coloured fruit. In autumn the dark green leaves change to reddish-purple.

Best climate:
The two ornamental pear cultivars mentioned above do best in Sydney, Perth and areas south.

Culture:
Both these trees will tolerate dry conditions, slightly alkaline soils, air pollution and intermittently wet, heavy soils. They grow best in full sun, and are easily transplanted. ‘Capital’ needs protection from strong winds, but has good disease resistance. ‘Glen’s Form’ Chanticleer is less susceptible to wind damage than many other cultivars.



Cost and availability:

‘Capital’ and ‘Glen’s Form’ Chanticleer are available in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. They cost $35-$45, and are sold either bare rooted or in 250mm (10″) pots.

Ornamental pears for year-long interest

A tree for all seasons

The Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is a deciduous species of pear native to China and Vietnam. Leaves are generally oval, long, and glossy dark green in colour. They produce white flowers like blossum abundantly in early spring each year creating a stunning wonderland affect if planted en masse. Some people consider the odour of these flowers to be unpleasent but that is a very minor flaw in an otherwise beautiful and highly useful ornamental landscape tree.

Ornamental pear trees produce fruits but they are small and hard, testament to the fact that these trees are not grown for their fruit. In summer, the foliage is dark green and very smooth, and in autumn, when temperatures cool, their foliage commonly turns a range of brilliant colors, ranging from yellow and orange to more commonly red, pink, purple, and bronze.

There are a number of cultivars that are now grown commercially with slight differences in shape and form. All varieties offer the year-round charm of an ornamental pear and all display the unique features that define this wonderful tree genus.

Their open and upright structure lends well to their use in formal settings, such as along city streets, shopping centres, office parks, and industrial parks. With great form, pretty leaf shape, white spring flush and brilliant autumnal foliage from March through May depending on climate, they offer something for every season.


Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’ above. For our range, click the image

Our growing range has been selected to offer ‘best in type’ based on performance, shape and size. For gardens where space is confined, Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’ is a great selection as it is more fastigiate than others with a span between 1-3 metres. Pyrus calleryana ‘Cleveland Select’ has a wider spread at between 3-6m making this selection suitable for grand avenue plantings. Both of these selections grow to 11 metres tall.

A favourite of ours is Pyrus ussuriensis or Manchurian Pear as it grows more open and oval shaped at 9 metres tall by 7 metres wide. This is a popular and beautiful tree particularly planted as a single specimen where its shape, colour, flower and leaf can be fully appreciated.

Our other Pyrus selections offer a more rounded form. Another calleryana species called ‘Winter Glow’ grows in a similar way to Pyrus ussuriensis in that it has lateral branching rather than the ascending, upright growth of both ‘Capital’ and ‘Cleveland Select’. Officially deciduous, its bronzed leaves tend to hold to the tree rather than drop like the other selections. Shorter at around 8 metres tall by 4 metres wide it is probably not as ornamental as the others mentioned but it is the earliest of all our Pyrus to flower. ‘Winter Glow’ has enormous scope for large, dense screening in landscapes with some space.

Lastly we have Pyrus ‘Nivalis’ (Snow Pear) growing 8 metres tall by 5 metres wide. This tree has a narrower leaf resembling that of a willow. Maybe plainer in looks to all the others, Nivalis is denser growing which makes it suitable for screening.


Spring Time! Pyrus ‘Cleveland Select’ at Chadstone Shopping Centre Melbourne

Spring Blossom

SERIES 17 | Episode 37

After a long, cold winter you can always tell when spring is just around the corner because the fruit and ornamental trees come into blossom. It is a favourite time of year.

So what is a blossom? It’s just another word for a flower, but in this case it refers to the flowers of the trees in the orchards – almonds, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears. They grow magnificent tight little buds, and as soon as the weather starts to warm up, out they shoot. Look out for the beautiful Prunus persica or peach tree with its cultivar name ‘Versicolor’, meaning many colours. It looks like a Neapolitan ice cream, magnificent with its white and pink stripes – a really Japanese look.

These plants are Prunus blossoms and they’re in the Rosaceae family – the same as roses and if you look it’s possible to see the similarity. Some flowers are single, others are semi double, and some are doubles.

Blossom is lovely ornamentation and comes in a great colour range. There are white or pink, and some are striped, there are a few reds, and others are a lovely rosy pink.

Prunus blossom trees are one of the hardiest trees you’ll ever find. They love the sun, a reasonable amount of drainage and space them about 2 metres apart. Keep the trees pruned to about 2.5 metres high. Depending on the variety, prune after flowering or after fruiting. Just snip the branches off to keep the tree more manageable.

After a long, cold winter you can always tell when spring is just around the corner because the fruit and ornamental trees come into blossom. It is a favourite time of year.

So what is a blossom? It’s just another word for a flower, but in this case it refers to the flowers of the trees in the orchards – almonds, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears. They grow magnificent tight little buds, and as soon as the weather starts to warm up, out they shoot. Look out for the beautiful Prunus persica or peach tree with its cultivar name ‘Versicolor’, meaning many colours. It looks like a Neapolitan ice cream, magnificent with its white and pink stripes – a really Japanese look.

These plants are Prunus blossoms and they’re in the Rosaceae family – the same as roses and if you look it’s possible to see the similarity. Some flowers are single, others are semi double, and some are doubles.

Blossom is lovely ornamentation and comes in a great colour range. There are white or pink, and some are striped, there are a few reds, and others are a lovely rosy pink.

Prunus blossom trees are one of the hardiest trees you’ll ever find. They love the sun, a reasonable amount of drainage and space them about 2 metres apart. Keep the trees pruned to about 2.5 metres high. Depending on the variety, prune after flowering or after fruiting. Just snip the branches off to keep the tree more manageable.

It’s important when you first plant to establish good structure. Prune the tree, so that there are three or four main branches. Then prune so they develop a vase shape. The centre is meant to be open to prevent fungus diseases on the fruiting varieties. Cut out any dead wood, and your blossom tree will be blooming marvellous.

Many blossom trees are sold in winter as bare rooted plants. So if you want a particular colour you need to know what variety to get. For example, for a large size garden or for a screening tree down a fenceline, look out for a fastigiate pear tree, or Pyrus. These are trained into a skinny formation rather than spreading out. In a smaller garden a Malus or flowering crab apple might suit better.

Blossoms continue well into spring and if you plant judiciously, with different varieties of trees and even different cultivars, it’s possible to extend your blossom display for a couple of months. You have to agree – they are adaptable and add a great splash of colour to any garden.

It’s important when you first plant to establish good structure. Prune the tree, so that there are three or four main branches. Then prune so they develop a vase shape. The centre is meant to be open to prevent fungus diseases on the fruiting varieties. Cut out any dead wood, and your blossom tree will be blooming marvellous.

Many blossom trees are sold in winter as bare rooted plants. So if you want a particular colour you need to know what variety to get. For example, for a large size garden or for a screening tree down a fenceline, look out for a fastigiate pear tree, or Pyrus. These are trained into a skinny formation rather than spreading out. In a smaller garden a Malus or flowering crab apple might suit better.

Blossoms continue well into spring and if you plant judiciously, with different varieties of trees and even different cultivars, it’s possible to extend your blossom display for a couple of months. You have to agree – they are adaptable and add a great splash of colour to any garden.

Pyrus calleryana – Winter Glow

Description

Pyrus calleryana – Winter Glow

HEIGHT: 12.0m

WIDTH: 4.0m

*height & width at maturity

FORM: Spreading

FOLIAGE: The Winter Glow ornamental pear showcases leaves which are a glossy dark green with silver backs, and in cooler climates, changing to brilliant reds in Autumn.

FLOWERS: Clusters of pretty single white flowers, are borne in Spring.

DESCRIPTION: This hardy upright vigorous growing tree grows to a height of 12 metres. Leaves are a glossy dark green, changing to brilliant reds in Autumn. Clusters of pretty single white flowers, are borne in Spring giving a spectacular display. Depending on the climate, it is sometimes classified as evergreen as it holds onto its leaves over the winter period, hence the name ‘Winter Glow’. In cooler climates, we find the Winter Glow Pear is out of leaf for only 5 weeks of the year.

LANDSCAPE USES: Suitable for medium sized gardens and used for driveways and street trees. The Winter Glow makes a good option for a fast growing screening plant as the foliage can sometimes be evergreen, or bare for a very short period of time.

TOLERANCES: Tolerant to most soil types and air pollution.

TREE CARE: Plant in a well drained and well worked soil. Take care to plant the bud union above the soil level. Water in well and keep soil moist until tree is established. Fertilize when planting and again after new growth appears. Prune tree when planting to encourage new growth.

Callery Pear Tree

A Graduation Ode to the Callery Pear Tree

by Katie Harmer

I will be graduating from Yale College in May.

In January of this term, I worried about how I would spend my last semester at Yale. I felt that I needed to accomplish much in all aspects of my life here during this last chance of a semester.

When we were given this tree and told that we would be spending the semester with it, some of my last-semester anxiety dissipated.

“If the Callery pear tree Number 33 can make it to spring, so can I,” I thought.

I was comforted knowing that in May, whether or not I spent my final months at Yale well, our Callery pear tree would bloom and I would graduate.

Grounded in the soil of Hillhouse Avenue, our Callery pear is ready.

Thank you, tree!

The 12 Months of the Year of a Callery Pear Tree

In the first month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

A Callery Pear Tree

In the second month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the third month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the fourth month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the fifth month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the sixth month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Six unpleasant odors

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the seventh month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Seven ovate leaves

Six unpleasant odors

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the eighth month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Eight immature fruits

Seven ovate leaves

Six unpleasant odors

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the ninth month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Nine happy picnickers

Eight immature fruits

Seven ovate leaves

Six unpleasant odors

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the tenth month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Ten brilliant colors

Nine happy picnickers

Eight immature fruits

Seven ovate leaves

Six unpleasant odors

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the eleventh month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Eleven feasting birds

Ten brilliant colors

Nine happy picnickers

Eight immature fruits

Seven ovate leaves

Six unpleasant odors

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

In the twelfth month of the year

Mother nature gave to me

Twelve snow-covered branches

Eleven feasting birds

Ten brilliant colors

Nine happy picnickers

Eight immature fruits

Seven ovate leaves

Six unpleasant odors

Five white petals

Four unopened buds

Three barren twigs

Two brown barky branches

And a Callery Pear Tree

Plant Database

Habitat

  • native to Korea and Japan
  • zone 5

Habit and Form

  • a medium-sized deciduous tree
  • tear-drop shaped in youth and spreading out with age
  • 30′ to 40′ tall and about one-third as wide
  • fast growth rate
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • alternate, deciduous leaves
  • simple, ovate leaves with crenate margins
  • leaves are leathery and usually quite glabrous
  • 2″ to 3″ long and almost as wide
  • leaves are held on a long petiole, almost 2″
  • glossy, dark green leaf color

Autumn Foliage

  • reds, purples, and oranges
  • very attractive
  • leaves tend to hold late, freezes could happen before color fully develops

Flowers

  • white flowers
  • flower form corymbs about 3″ in diameter
  • usually flowers peak before leaf set
  • flowers late April to early May
  • very attractive
  • slightly malordorous

Fruit

  • round pome fruit
  • small, only about 0.5″ in diameter
  • fruit is covered in russet dots
  • olive-brown to tan color
  • not ornamentally significant

Bark

  • light brown to gray
  • develops horizontal lenticels with age

Culture

  • easily transplanted during dormant season
  • very adaptable
  • tolerant of dry and hot conditions
  • full sun
  • fireblight resistant, depending on cultivar selection

Landscape Use

  • for showy, fragrant flowers
  • specimen
  • street tree
  • excellent for small residential landscapes
  • screen
  • mass
  • great 3 season tree, flowers, fall color and unique winter habit

Liabilities

  • tree tends to split with age, because of tight crotch angles
  • limb breakage from wind, snow, and ice

ID Features

  • large malordorous white flowers
  • tear-drop shaped tree
  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • miniature pears on tree
  • large terminal buds, 0.5″ long and extremely hairy

Propagation

  • by cuttings

Cultivars/Varieties

‘Aristocrat’ – This oval-pyramidal cultivar is preferable to ‘Bradford’, as its limbs feature a wider branching angle that makes the tree less likely to split. It reaches 35′ tall with a slightly more narrow spread and has wavy leaf margins. It flowers slightly later than other cultivars. It expressed the same cold-hardiness as ‘Bradford’, but may be more susceptible to fireblight.

‘Autumn Blaze’ – Widely considered the hardiest cultivar available, this selection is also notable for its rounded habit to 35′ tall. The fall foliage is a reliable red-purple, but the plant is prone to fireblight and bears some thorns on its branches.

‘Bradford’ – One of the most common and recognizable ornamental trees in the American landscape, this early-flowering tree is popular for its dense branching and broadly pyramidal habit to 50′ tall and 40′ wide. It grows quickly as a young tree and offers good resistance to fireblight. However, this tree has a genetic predisposition to form tight branch crotch angles that are points of weakness. Thus, unless pruned the tree will eventually split under its weight due to high winds, storms, ice, snowload, etc. It is therefore strongly recommended that other cultivars be utilized. Regardless of cultivar, Pyrus calleryana is wholly overused in the landscape, leading to monotony and boredom. The rigid habit of the plant also makes the species appear out-of-place in most situations. Other plant choices should generally be investigated when P. calleryana is called for.

‘Capital’ – Originally conceived as a substitute for the doomed Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra ‘Italica’), this cultivar is strikingly fastigiate. It grows to 35′ tall, but only spreads 10′. The glossy green foliage turns red-purple come fall, but the cultivar appears to possess very strong susceptibility to fireblight. This disease problem may recommend against its use.

‘Glen’s Form’ (Chanticleer®, also known as ‘Select’, ‘Cleveland Select’, ‘Stone Hill’ and ‘Stonehill’) – Considered perhaps the finest selection for contemporary use, this plant assumes an upright, pyramidal habit to 30′ tall and 15′ wide. It is much narrower than ‘Bradford’, and also is longer-lived and perhaps hardier. It shows good fireblight resistance and attractive red-purple fall color.

‘Fauriei’ (also listed as Pyrus fauriei or P. calleryana var. fauriei) – This plant grows more slowly to form a 40′ pyramidal-rounded tree. It flowers heavily, but is not as fine an ornamental as other types. The fall foliage colors yellow to red earlier than other types, plus the leaves are not retained as long. It is not offered as commonly as other types.

‘Jaczam’ (Jack™) and ‘Jilzam’ (Jill™) – This pair of new selections is notable for dwarf habit, dense growth and a mature size less than half that of standard forms (to 20′ tall and wide). The habit is rounded, with lustrous foliage and white flowers.

‘Redspire’ – This pyramidal-oval selection is looser in form than ‘Bradford’, with growth that is slower and earlier fall color with shades of yellow to red. It is, however, more prone to fireblight infection than ‘Bradford’.

‘Whitehouse’ – Released by the U.S. National Arboretum, this plant grows much more narrowly than ‘Bradford’. It forms a fastigiate pyramid with ascending branches to 40′ tall and only 15′ wide. It flowers about a week later than other cultivars and develops fall color earlier. Despite initial claims of superiority, it has been observed that this tree is heavily afflicted by leaf diseases that render it problematic in the landscape. This trait makes it inferior to other forms.

Forest 87 – Callery Pear

Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’

Other common names

Bradford pear; Chinese: Dou li.

Origin of the species name

Pyrus is Latin for pear; calleryana is named after J.M. Callery (1810-1862), a Roman Catholic missionary in China; ‘Chanticleer’ is a cultivar that was selected from a street planting in Cleveland, Ohio in 1965. It is also known as ‘Cleveland Select’.

Family

Rosaceae

Date planted

August 2009

Lifespan

Expected lifespan is about 25 years.

General description

This is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a well-formed, narrow, pyramidal crown. In autumn the leaves turn brilliant bright yellow and orange to purple and bronze. An attractive display of white flowers is produced in early spring before the leaves expand fully. This cultivar was developed by Edward Scanlon from a street planting in Cleveland, Ohio, and registered in the USA in 1965. Height 18m Spread 15m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to China and Taiwan where it grows in well drained soils in open forests but does tolerate some shading and drought.

Conservation status

It is not a threatened species.

Planting pattern

Planted in a regular square grid pattern.

Uses

This cultivar is popular as an ornamental tree in parks, gardens and streetscapes. In 2005 it was selected as ‘Municipal Tree of the Year’ in the USA. The wood of the callery pear, like other pears, has one of the finest textures of the fruitwoods. It is prized for making woodwind instruments, and pear-veneer is used in fine furniture.

I Just Hate Bradford Pears!

If there’s a pretty white tree in front of your house in spring, chances are it’s Bradford pear. And it looks something like this.

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What’s wrong with that, you say? Here are just a few of the imperfections Grumpy refuses to tolerate.

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1. Bradford pear has a very weak branching structure. So when a nice 30-foot tall tree encounters a wind gust of 40 MPH, it breaks up into little pieces and ends up as a pile of debris in the street. The reason is that all of its major limbs diverge from a single point on the trunk and the trunk can’t take the stress. Bradford carnage may not happen this year or next year, but it will happen. Hope it doesn’t fall on on your house, car, hot tub, chicken coop, still, grill, or classical cheese sculpture.

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2. You can’t grow grass under a Bradford pear.The dense branching produces dense shade, which lawn grass hates. The worst place to plant a Bradford pear in your yard is on a slope, because after the grass dies, the soil washes away, and you’re left with ugly gullies that seem to collect all of your empties.

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3. Bradford pear is quickly becoming an invasive exotic pest. Selected years ago by the U. S. National Arboretum as a thornless, highly ornamental version of the Chinese callery pear (Pyrus calleryana), Bradford was supposed to be seedless and sterile. That’s because its flowers can’t pollinate themselves. All was hunky-dory, until the Arboretum and others starting releasing releasing selections that didn’t bust up in storms or get as huge as Bradford does (up to 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide). Then all of these callery pears started carousing and cross-pollinating, forming fruit and viable seed. Today, I guarantee that if you take a close look at the surroundings of any shopping centers planted with Bradfords, you will see thorny callery pear seedlings coming up like gangbusters. I took the picture above in north Georgia, where Bradford pears have seeded in so thickly, it’s like a brier patch.

4. The flowers of Bradford pear smell a whole lot like the scene below. This is no problem for my cat, but most people don’t care for the smell of tuna on a trunk.

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But Wait, It Gets Worse!

Are you ready for the ultimate? Some folks in my neighborhood have taken to murdering their Bradfords the same way they murder their crepe myrtles! Yep. They get chainsaws and loppers and cut back the branches to stumps in spring. What fools these gardeners be! At least a murdered crepe will still bloom this year. Not a murdered Bradford.

Last Week to Win These Loppers!

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Speaking of crepe murder, you have just one final week to email me a photo of the worst example of crepe murder in your neighborhood. Three lucky readers will win a set of high-quality Corona bypass loppers that you can use to cut down Bradford pears with impunity. But don’t touch the crepe myrtles!

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