Red spire flowering pear

Callery pear (Not recommended)

Tree & Plant Care

The tree should be specifically pruned to minimize damage from narrowly crotched branches.

Disease, pests, and problems

The tree is susceptible to gray mold and wood rots and may also be targeted by insects such as the Eastern tent caterpillar and leaf rollers. Additionally, the tree’s narrow branch angles make trees prone to breakage and limit its ornamental usefulness. It can self-sow fairly readily and has become aggressive in some areas due to this.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Korea and China

Bark color and texture

The bark is brown and shiny in youth and gray-brown and slightly ridged at maturity.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, ovate, leaves; 1 ½-3” long and wide. Very glossy and dark green, changing to a rich reddish purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Abundant white flowers in spring. Flowers have an odd scent.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small, round ‘pears’.

Cultivars and their differences

Aristocrat (Pyrus calleryana ‘ Aristocrat’): Leaf has a wavy edge, less prone to branch breaking, more susceptible to fire blight, fall color can be inconsistent.

Autumn Blaze (Pyrus calleryana ‘ Autumn Blaze’): Consistent early fall color, more cold hardy, susceptible to fire blight, consistently good fall color (red-purple).

Flowering Pear
Pyrus calleryana var.
Some people feel that Flowering Pears are overused. If they are, there is good reason they are so popular. Most cultivars have exceptional qualities. They are very near to what I refer to as a ‘Bulletproof’ tree, with some exception. They have white flowers in the spring, sometimes quite impressive, followed by little or no fruit. In the fall, they display a wide range of brilliant colors, with yellows, red, purples, or dapples of all three. In addition, there is a wide range of sizes and forms, from the very narrow to relatively wide, to choose from. However, they may be most popular because of their transplantability, relative ease of establishment, and consistently high performance. They seem to grow and become established in a wide range of soils, including some of our typically poor urban soils. They are generally pest free, with most being resistant to Fireblight. I have only seen stress in pears caused by powdery mildew, usually where air circulation is poor. All of the trees become no more than moderate in size, so they are perfect for street tree use. Also, I have seldom observed the roots of flowering pear damage sidewalks.
There are many cultivars, most of which are covered in Dirr’s “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants”. The following are the highs and lows of a few varieties I am familiar with:
‘Aristocrat’ A wider form tree with branches at right angles to the central leader. The distinct characteristics of the leaf are its wavy edges. Fall color is not as reliable as others, but if you have the crown space, the Aristocrat is a fine selection. Older trees are reported to reach 40’ high by 25’ wide.
‘Autumn Blaze’ This tree is not recommended unless the site is very protected from wind. Although the form is round and the color is better than most of the pears, the limbs are incredibly brittle. Even if you get trees to the site undamaged during handling and shipping, winds will tear the tree apart for many years. From my experience, this one should be listed along with the original Bradford Pear.
‘Chanticleer’ (same as ‘Select’, ‘Cleveland Select’, and ‘Stone Hill’). The most popular, as well it should be, with its upright pyramidal growth, relatively good branch structure, and consistent qualities listed above. This cultivar was reported to reach 35’ high by 16’ wide after 15 years.
‘Cambridge’ Appears to have cleaner, more regular ascending limbs, smooth bark, with orange fall color. It is narrow like “Chanticleer’.
‘Capital’ Even narrower than the ‘Chanticleer’, so for a narrow space, this is the better choice. I have found the branch structure not to be as consistent or attractive in its winter show. The tree is said to grow to 32’ high by 8’ wide in 15 years.
‘Jack’ This tree is the smallest pear cultivar I have seen, growing to no more than 15’ tall by 10’ wide. This tree has a dense branch structure and very slow growth. Call for it more as spaces for trees get shorter and tighter. Check out the Jack Pear tree profile here.
‘Redspire’ This tree has a moderately pyramidal form, less than Chanticleer. I have found it to have some brittleness, thus somewhat susceptible to wind breakage.
‘Bradfords’ are known for their extremely tight crotches and severe splitting apart as they mature. This cultivar was the first selection of Pyrus calleryana. Most of the older Bradfords have literally split apart. Avoid this one along with the ‘Autumn Blaze’
Contact us with your Flowering Pear experiences.Jim Barborinas
ISA Certified Arborist #0135
ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist #356
Certified Tree Risk Assessor #PNW-0327

Flowering Pear Tree Diseases

A flowering pear tree is a valuable landscaping tree, and is susceptible to diseases like fire blight and leaf spot. Gardenerdy explains the occurrence of such diseases, and also suggests some preventive measures that can be taken to avoid infections.

Belonging to the genus Prunus and the family Rosaceae, the flowering pear tree (Pyrus Calleryana) is one of the most spectacular landscaping trees worldwide. Other than the common pear tree species planted for their fruit, there are several other types of pear trees which are specifically grown for their attractive blooms and aesthetic value.

During spring, one can enjoy the breathtaking view of these trees enveloped in white colored blooms, which further change to a burnt red during fall. However, the tree is infamous for its pungent unpleasant smell similar to rotten fish.

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Irrespective of the variety that you have planted in your yard, understanding the symptoms of flowering pear tree diseases will help you in their timely control.

Diseases Afflicting Flowering Pear Trees
Taking account of the ornamental value, flowering pear tree cultivars are also known as ornamental pear varieties. For a true hobbyist, what could be more regretful than seeing a beautiful flowering pear tree die. To personally avoid such an experience, it’s important to educate yourself regarding disease identification and effective control measures.

Crown Gall Disease

Being a bacterium infestation, the crown gall disease causes enlargement of the stem and branches. In severe cases, there can even be accumulation of dead tissue in the stem portion just above the soil. If left untreated, it can cause death.

To rid the tree from this disease, remove the diseased twigs and dead tissue, and spray the tree with an effective bactericide.

Fire Blight Disease

Fire blight disease particularly affects the young leaves and stem during the blooming season (spring). It is one of the most destructive bacterial diseases occurring in flowering pear trees. If you encounter any unusual sticky deposits in the stem, it is possibly due to the fire blight disease.

To cure the tree of this disease, use streptomycin or other bactericidal sprays in the early infestation stages.

Leaf Spot Disease

Leaf spot is another severe disease that affects this tree. Being a fungal infection, it can be diagnosed from reddish-purple patches that eventually develop on the leaves, particularly during early fall. The infected leaves turn red and finally fall.

It’s better to trim the infected leaves and spray the tree with fungicides after every two weeks to control this disease effectively.

Other Diseases

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Other diseases that are known to infect this tree include root rot, blister disease, late leaf rot, powdery mildew and sooty mold. Hence, while purchasing saplings, it’s always better to choose disease and pest resistant varieties. However, if one encounters any of these fungal diseases, an effective fungicide is the best solution to cure the tree.

In addition to these diseases, the plant is susceptible to pests and insects such as caterpillars, thrips, and webworms. Frequently inspect the tree for any noticeable pests and insects. If possible, remove and kill them.

Alternatively, you can seek advice from your local horticulturist regarding measures that are to be followed during different seasons to prevent diseases and pest infestations. By doing so, you can effectively avoid and control diseases in the flowering pear tree.

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