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Ornamental pear tree – how to care for it

Ornamental pear

An ornamental pear tree is a tree that bears cute flowers at the beginning of spring.

Ornamental pear tree facts

NamePyrus species
Family – Rosaceae
Type – tree

Height – 16 to 32 feet (5 to 10 m)
Exposure – full sun, part sun

Soil: ordinary   –   Foliage: deciduous   –    Flowering: mid-spring

Fruits are fine for birds and animals, but not for us – what we find appealing is the blooming! Although it also produces small brown fruits, these have nothing in common with fruit pear trees and aren’t edible.

Planting an ornamental pear tree

Planting flower pearIt is a good idea to plant your ornamental pear tree in fall to favor root development and renewed growth.

  • A deep hole will ensure it settles in well, especially if the ground is compacted.
  • Compost such as manure is a plus.
  • For bare root specimens, remember to apply root dip (see picture).
  • Refer to our guidelines for planting.

Pruning an ornamental pear tree

Maintenance pruning

ornamental pear pruningRegular maintenance pruning to keep the tree harmoniously balanced is enough. End of Fall is the best period.

  • The goal should only be to maintain balance. If you prune the entire tree back every year, you won’t get as many blooms.

You can also cut wood out from the center to let the light through and remove dead wood.

Care, watering, and fertilizer

As for most fruit trees, the blooming is most abundant when the tree is in full sun. Also, feel free to boost the nutrient count in the soil with fermented weed tea or rich compost. Fall and Spring are the two seasons where this is most effective.

Learn more about ornamental pear trees

There are actually two species in particular that are excellent “ornamental pear trees”.

Willow-leaf pear

Ornamental pear varietiesThis particular pear tree with willow-like leaves only shares one thing in common with fruit pear trees: its name! Indeed, its fruits taste horrible and are nothing like the pears we customarily eat. Birds, however, love them, especially since the fruits hold well into winter.

They undergo bletting, meaning they stay hard and inedible even to birds until frost and freezing softens them up.

It produces cute little flowers at the very beginning of spring together with its beautiful silver-lined leaves. Its growth is quick. It only requires very little care and watering is only needed in small quantities in case of high temperatures, especially at the beginning. It’s native to the Middle-East, where it’s currently threatened. Planting one in your garden raises the chance of saving the species!

Bradford pear

Bradford pear, with biological name Pyrus calleryana, is native to the Chinese hinterland. It has a complicated history in the United States. First it was highly recommended by authorities (primarily because it resists fireblight), and now it’s regarded as an invasive pear tree in many places.

Nonetheless, a famous cultivar is the ‘Capital’ Pyrus calleryana.

Smart tip about ornamental pear trees

Light mulch will help retain a certain amount of moisture during the first years of growth.

Images: 123RF: Paul Maguire, Ruth Peterkin, CC BY-SA 2.0: Brittany, Carol Jacobs-Carre, Eileen Carmel
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