Flowering pear trees are ideal for landscaping and gardening purposes all throughout the year. In spring, this tree can look especially striking with its delicate, snowy-white flowers. Even in summer, it can add a touch of tranquility to the surrounding with its lush, glossy green foliage. In fall, this remarkable tree turns red with its scarlet or red foliage to create a fascinating sight to behold.
This deciduous tree belongs to the genus, Pyrus and the family Rosaceae. There are mainly two species of pear trees - the fruiting and the flowering pear tree. The scientific name of the flowering pear tree is Pyrus calleryana, while that of the fruiting pear is Pyrus communis. As the names suggest, the fruiting pear tree is cultivated for its delicious juicy fruits, while the flowering pear is used for ornamental purposes.
The flowering pear, also known as Callery pear, is native to China and Vietnam. The tree usually reaches a height of 15 to 20 m. It usually maintains an oval or pyramidal shape. The leaves generally reach a length of 4 to 7 cm. They are oval-shaped and dark, glossy green in color with a paler under-surface. But in fall, the leaves can turn bright yellow, red, orange, or pink in color.
In early spring, the tree displays small snowy-white, five-petaled blossoms. This is followed by the production of some pea-sized and extremely hard fruits. The fruits are, however, softened by the frost, after which they are consumed by birds. The birds excrete the seeds in their droppings and thus disperse them.
Taking Care of a Flowering Pear Tree
The Callery pear usually does not require much space, and so is ideal for smaller areas. Some of the most popular types or cultivars of flowering pear are, Bradford, Aristocrat, Redspire, Autumn blaze, and Chanticleer. The flowering or ornamental pear trees need special care, particularly during the first few years till they establish themselves firmly on the ground. Here is a brief guide on flowering pear tree care.
Place the plant in the hole carefully, and then cover the hole with soil. Now, gently push the soil around the base of the root ball. As flowering pear trees require moist soil, you can add some mulch around the planting site. Ideally, 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the tree would be sufficient. This will help retain an adequate level of moisture.
Soon after planting, the pear tree should be watered properly. Proper watering is the most important aspect of pear tree care, especially for the first five years. The tree should be watered at least once a week for the first year. During the rainy season, the watering schedule can be adjusted according to how frequently it rains.
During the first year, the tree should be watered at least once a week. The ideal method of watering is to place a garden hose at the front of the tree and let the water soak the ground for some time. During hot and dry weather, you can increase the frequency of watering from once a week to twice a week. On the other hand, you can reduce the frequency of watering during the rainy season.
Being a deciduous tree, the ornamental pear tree loses its leaves and becomes dormant in winter. So, you can reduce the frequency of watering. In winter, watering the tree once a month is sufficient, if it is more than four years old. Young trees can be watered once in every 14 days.
You can fertilize your ornamental pear tree from the second year. You can apply a general purpose slow-acting fertilizer when the tree is two years old, and then continue fertilizing the soil once in a year for the next 3 to 4 years. Ideally, fertilization should be done in spring, about 2 weeks before the tree starts blooming. This will ensure better and more prolific flowering.
Avoid heavy application of nitrogen fertilizers, as too much nitrogen can promote succulent growth and make the tree more vulnerable to fire blight disease. Once your flowering pear tree become 5 to 6 years old, it usually does not require fertilization, as long as you mulch it regularly.
The branches of the tree that have grown out of control should also be removed. At the same time, you can remove some inner branches of your pear tree, in order to promote airflow, and thereby prevent fungal growth. You can trim about 20 to 30% of the inner branches to maintain the shape of the tree.
The flowering pear is a deciduous tree that can be grown in hardiness zones 4 through 8. There are several varieties or cultivars of the flowering pear tree. So, be sure to choose the variety that is suitable for your area by checking the plant tag, and the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. Some of the most common diseases that can affect this tree are fire blights, leaf scorch, and fungal infection. Along with watering, mulching, and pruning, it is equally important to identify and prevent these diseases. You can talk to a professional regarding the application of fungicides, pesticides, and other preventive measures, in order to protect your pear tree from these diseases.