Chanticleer pear tree fall color

Chanticleer Pear Information: Learn About Growing Chanticleer Pears

If you are looking for ornamental pear trees that overflow with showy flowers in spring, consider Chanticleer pear trees. They also delight with vibrant fall colors. For more Chanticleer pear information and tips on growing Chanticleer pears, read on.

Chanicleer Pear Information

Chanticleer (Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’) is a cultivar of the Callery ornamental pear, and it’s a beauty. Callery Chanticleer pears have a growth habit that is neat and tailored with a slender pyramid shape. But when the trees flower, they are dramatic and stunning. This variety is considered to be one of the best Callery cultivars available in commerce. Chanticleer pear trees are thornless and can get some 30 feet (9 m.) tall and 15 feet (4.6 m.) wide. They grow fairly rapidly.

Chanticleer pear trees are a garden favorite for both the visual interest they offer and their rich profusion of flowers. The showy white blossoms appear in clusters in springtime. The fruit follows the flowers, but don’t expect pears if you start growing Chanticleer pears! The “fruit” of Callery Chanticleer pears is brown or russet and the size of a pea. Birds love it, though, and since it clings to the branches into winter, it helps feed wildlife when little else is available.

Growing Chanticleer Pears

Chanticleer pear trees grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8.
If you want to start growing Chanticleer pear trees, pick a planting location in full sun. The tree requires at least six hours of direct sun to thrive.

These pears are not picky about soil. They accept acidic or alkaline soil, and grow in loam, sand or clay. While the tree prefers moist soil, it is somewhat tolerant of drought. Irrigate regularly though for the healthiest trees, especially in extreme heat.

This lovely little pear tree is not completely free of problems. Chanticleer pear issues include a susceptibility to limb breakage in winter. Its branches can split as a result of winter wind, snow or ice. A more pressing Chanticleer pear issue is the tree’s tendency to escape from cultivation and invade wild spaces in some regions. Although some cultivars of Callery pear trees are sterile, like ‘Bradford,’ viable seed can result from crossing of Callery cultivars.

Ornamental Pear Tree Problems

Ornamental pear tree problems should never hinder the value of your landscape, provided you are well aware about them at an initial stage itself.

Pyrus calleryana is popularly known as the ornamental pear tree and is different from the edible sort of pears. This deciduous species is native to China, and it grows more than 60 feet tall with dark and dense foliage that is lighter below. This tree has a conical or rounded crown, and flowers during spring with white flowers that are sticky and have a sweet smell. Due to the unique ability of turning landscape designs by the distinct change in its foliage and the overall appearance, the value of this tree is great.

It is an agreed fact that ornamental pear trees are amongst the best choices for landscaping, and one must welcome this refreshing tree in one’s garden. When a person decides to plant this tree, he/she has to be aware about certain things related to its care and health. Though there are varieties in the types of flowering pear trees, the ornamental pear tree problems are more or less similar to the usual problems faced by any other type.


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Ornamental pear tree belongs to the family of apple, blackberry, and rose. Hence, the problems associated with these trees are also somewhat similar to those of the above-mentioned trees. There are more than 800 cultivars of the flowering pear, and the most popular ornamental pear trees are the Bradford Pear, Chanticleer Pear and the Cleveland pear tree. Their cultivars share the same problems, i.e., upright growth of the branches and the possibility of their breakage and splitting. This problem can be sorted out with the regular pruning and maintenance of the trees. One of the basic problems with ornamental pear trees is the different diseases that are mostly caused by bacterial or fungal infection. Let’s see what are these diseases are:

  • Fire Blight Disease:
    This is the most destructive disease that can cause extensive damage if not spotted in time. There are several types of the fire blight that can be decided upon the time of their actual appearance. The bacterial fire blight mostly attacks the small and younger leaves during the spring season. The most prominent sign of the fire blights is a sticky deposition on the plant stems. If you spot such things, then it is best to spray any bacteria-resistant pesticide on the tree.
  • Leaf Scorch Disease:
    The leaf scorch disease occurs as an outburst of the weather stress, i.e., extreme and sudden change in the weather. Hence, it generally appears after a really dry and hot weather. It occurs as the tree roots cannot supply the adequate amount of water to the leaves. In case of this disease, it is very important to make sure that there is enough of the soil moisture around the tree. Mulching around the tree and wetting the soil can be very helpful for the plant to maintain its health. Also, make sure that the roots of the tree don’t get damaged by the lawn movers and string trimmers.
  • Leaf Spot Disease:
    This is a fungal disease that has the capacity of devaluating of the beauty and health of the ornamental pear trees. It causes numerous spots on the leaves and causes defoliation. The spots have grayish-white centers that are defined with sharp margins. If not treated in time, the margins get swelled up and can cause bumpy structures on the leaves. On initial spotting of the disease, it can be managed by spraying regular fungicides.
  • Root Rot Disease:
    Root rot disease on ornamental pear trees is caused by fungal infection. This disease is also known as cotton root rot. The foremost symptom of this problem is wilting of the leaves in the summer season, when this fungus is most active. If not checked in time, the tree can die with the healthy leaves still on the trees. This disease mostly affects the matured trees and can also cause rotting of the entire tap root. This problem can also be caused by poor irrigation. So, it is very important to provide the plant with proper irrigation and quality fungicides.

Apart from these four major and common problems, there are several other diseases that can spell doom for your ornamental pear. These diseases include crown gall, blisters, late leaf rot, sooty mold, powdery mildew, etc. It is very important to learn proper tree care techniques for the best results and a better health of this beautiful aesthetic plant.

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Home Yard & Garden Newsletter at the University of Illinois

Issue 7, June 4, 2010

Fire Blight of Ornamental Pear

This has been the week for symptom expression of fire blight on ornamental pear, at least in parts of Illinois. I have heard of multiple samples in Champaign, Sangamon, and Vermilion counties. We have received physical samples from Champaign and St. Clair counties. Symptoms seen now were initiated by infections from 5 to 30 days ago.

Fire blight is caused by a bacterium, Erwinia amylovora. In fact, the first person to prove a bacterium can cause plant disease was Dr. T.J. Burrill from the University of Illinois. He did this in the late 1870’s with fire blight. Since then, we have understood that fire blight is the limiting factor in pear production in this state. Ornamental pears are popular trees in the Midwest, but they are also susceptible to fire blight. ‘Bradford’ callery pear is fairly resistant to this disease, but it is not immune. ‘Aristocrat’ is more susceptible. ‘Chanticleer’ is reported to have good resistance. ‘Redspire’ is susceptible. I have found conflicting reports on resistance and susceptibility to this disease. It is most likely that trials for limited times and too few locations of these trials may be the reason for conflicting reports.

The fire blight bacterium infects in warm (>60 degree F), humid conditions. The primary mode of entry into the plant is via flowers, so the critical infection period is during bloom. Infection can also occur via wounds, especially after wind or hail storms. The bacterium moves systemically in plants to shoot tips. Blighted leaves and blossoms near twig tips appear first. Leaves may wilt and turn brown or black. The image shows an infected tree this spring, courtesy of Sandy Pepper. Typical shepherd’s crooks at stem tips are evident in her second image. Stem cankers develop as sunken, cracked areas on stems. The bacterial pathogen may live over winter in these cankers. The bacterium oozes from these cankers in the spring, attracting insects. The insects spread the bacteria to blossoms, fruit, or other plant parts. Water may also spread the bacteria. We also contribute to spread via pruning tools.

Photo courtesy of Sandy Pepper.

Photo courtesy of Sandy Pepper.

When severe stem death occurs, the major concern is what can be done now. There is no effective management option for infected trees. Prune out infected wood in the dormant season, if you can wait. If not, prune in an extended dry period and disinfect pruning tools after every cut. The bacterium may have extended down the stem ahead of the canker. Unfortunately this means wood should be removed 8-10 inches below the edge of the visible canker. Chemical options are limited for home growers because the timing of sprays is so critical. Commercial growers apply copper products in the dormant season and streptomycin at 4-5 day intervals throughout bloom. Don’t try to fix this problem with fertilization and watering. You will promote lush growth which is more susceptible to infection by the fire blight bacterium.

There is a University of Illinois report on plant disease (#801) discussing fire blight. For those interested in the commercial epidemiological aspects of fire blight, consult this March, 2010 article in Plant Management Network.–Nancy Pataky

Nancy Pataky

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Ornamental Pear Fallout

Q: I’ve attached pictures of the only tree we have on our property. Because it is our only tree, I am deeply concerned with the possibilities of irreparable damage to it. As you can see, one of the branches broke off during a November windstorm. Unfortunately, that left a bare gap on the trunk. Please let me know how to treat this damaged area so no further damage is done to it and tell me what can be done to preserve its longevity.

I do not know the name of this tree but it’s local. It is found almost everywhere in this area. It blooms white flowers in the spring that fall off shortly after and changes to beautiful colors in the fall. As you can see, it is a beautiful tree. Please help and thank you so much. – L. G., Valparaiso, Indiana

A: To answer the second part of your question first, your tree is one of the ornamental Callery pears, possibly ‘Bradford’ or related cultivar. These ornamental pears were quite commonly planted in the urban landscape for many years, but they are not native to our area. In fact, they have become a serious invasive species. (More on this a bit later.)

A big shortcoming of ‘Bradford’ is that it has numerous crowded and narrow branch angles that weaken the architecture of the tree. This characteristic is well illustrated in your photos. Branches are likely to break in storms, and trees become structurally unsound.

I recommend that you remove the lower affected limb completely, cutting just beyond the ridge of bark where it joins the trunk. Though this will leave a large pruning wound, it will be better than the current jagged wound. We do not recommend pruning paint or other pruning sealants. Additional thinning/removal of excessive branches — including the watersprouts (vigorous, upright twigs) — might help reduce further limb breakage. These watersprouts grow large over time, so removing while they are small will reduce the weight load on branches.

Additional information on how to prune is available at

Now, back to the issue of the invasive nature of ornamental pears. Years ago, in trying to fix the problem of poor structure in the ‘Bradford’ cultivar, the quest was on to introduce improved cultivars with better branch architecture. Enter additional ornamental pear cultivars such as ‘Aristocrat’, ‘Chanticleer’, ‘Cleveland Select’, ‘Redspire’, and ‘Whitehouse’.

These ornamental pears did not fruit much if at all on their own, but unfortunately, they do become fruitful when they cross-pollinate. The result is that “volunteer” pear trees are seeding themselves in alarming numbers in many areas where the pear trees have not been planted, helped along by birds. While the ornamental cultivars typically set very small fruit when they are fruitful, there is considerable variability in fruit size amongst the seedling offspring. And these seedling pears are quite precocious, flowering and fruiting at a very young age, adding to their invasive nature.

Variation in fruit size on seedling Callery pears
Photo Credit: Rosie Lerner, Purdue Extension

Ornamental pears have been targeted for legislation to eventually ban their sale and distribution. Most nurseries have already discontinued selling this species, and it is expected to be banned in the next few years. Invasive species legislation, signed by the governor, was published in March 2019 and includes several species commonly found in the landscape, including wintercreeper and Japanese barberry. Other invasive plants will be added in the future.

April 7-13, 2019, has been proclaimed Invasive Species Awareness Week in Indiana. More information about invasive species is available at

When it becomes time to replace your tree, there are better choices for the landscape.

Alternatives Landscape Plant Options to Callery Pear and other invasive ornamentals can be found at

Avoiding Common Tree Mistakes

3 Tree Diseases That Can Infect A Chanticleer Pear Tree

29 March 2016 by Chiara Brun

The chanticleer pear is a tall, narrow ornamental tree that flourishes with white flowers in the summer. The tree has a lot of visual interest since it never goes completely bare. The white flowers lead to red, purple, or orange leaves in the fall, which give way to naked branches that showcase the remaining hard, round, reddish fruits.

Chanticleer trees are great for yards with little space or that need edging trees along a road or median. Owning a chanticleer requires some maintenance such as tree trimming to keep the width in check and keeping an eye out for tree diseases.

Chanticleers in general are fairly disease resistant but crossbreeding with other types of trees still leaves some chanticleers vulnerable. Here are a few of the tree diseases you need to monitor.

Fire Blight

Fire blight is a bacterial tree disease with symptoms that start to present as the white flowers start to show up in the spring. Cankers or sore-like notches will show up on the bark. A watery discharge can run out of the cankers and cause streaks on the surrounding bark. The new flowers and leaves will then prematurely turn darker, wilt, and fall from the tree.

You can manage a blight infection by calling in a tree care service to cut away affected branches, leaves, and flowers as soon as they appear. The tree will need to ride out this growing season with the infection in place. Before the next growing season, your tree care service can apply a blossom spray to minimize the risk of the disease coming back the following year.

Leaf Scorch

Another bacterial disease that can strike the chanticleer is leaf scorch. The disease gets the name from the fact that the leaves will start to darken around the edges as if a match were held under the leaf until the rim started to burn. Affected leaves will then fall off the tree.

Leaf scorch tends to affect leaves near bark injuries, which the chanticleer is prone to do to the relative thinness of its bark. Hire a tree care service to regularly and safely prune your tree to reduce the risk of scorch forming in the first place. If scorch has already taken hold, keeping the tree healthy and chemical treatment can prevent the problem from worsening.

Cotton Root Rot

Cotton root rot is a fungal disease with symptoms that start to appear in the early summer to early fall. Initially, the symptoms can resemble those of fire blight or leaf scorch. The leaves and flowers will start to look damaged, darken, and then fall off. The key differences are that the root rot will cause the leaves and flowers to deteriorate from the top of the tree downward and the disease is simultaneously causing damage to the roots under the ground.

It’s important to catch root rot early and call in a tree service immediately before the roots have died. If the roots have already died, the tree can’t be saved and will need to be removed completely. If the roots are still in decent health, the use of fungicides and fertilization can spring the chanticleer back to health.

For more information on trees, contact a company like R. L. Elliott Enterprises, Inc.



Leaf spot diseases can weaken trees by interrupting photosynthesis, which is how plants create their food in order to grow and build strong defense systems. Fortunately most leaf spot diseases affect only a small percentage of the tree’s leaves. As conditions that promote the disease decline, new growth is not affected. However, leaf spot diseases should be taken very seriously if leaf loss is moderate to complete defoliation in two or more years.

Most leaf spot diseases are caused by fungi that overwinter in infected leaf debris. Wind and splashing rain carry fungal spores back up into the tree in the spring. Either water on the leaves or very high humidity for 12-24 hours is typically required to start an infection. Leaf spots mature in 1-2 weeks and produce spores that can spread further to nearby susceptible trees. In years with high humidity or a lot of rain, leaf spot can spread throughout the tree canopy.

Ornamental pears such as the Chanticleer are known to get leaf spot, but are considered only moderately susceptible. I’m attaching a link below to a site with pictures of Fabraea leaf spot, a fungus which is known to infect ornamental pear, so you can identify what you are seeing.

In any case, the control is good sanitation – rake and destroy all fallen leaf debris in the fall, prune out any dead black twig tips, deformed buds and any stunted growth. Do not put this debris in a home composter, but place out with garden waste for city/municipality disposal. Be sure to sterilize your pruning sheers after each cut and before moving on to another plant or tree, to make sure you are not causing any more spread.

If the problem continues, I would suggest calling an arborist in your area to determine if there is more in the way of treatment that can be done in order to save the tree.

As to the leaves that are still on the tree, the Chanticleer pear is known to hang on to its leaves until late autumn, so it’s not surprising or unusual that a few have hung on all winter.

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