How to plant cleveland pear tree

Cleveland Pear Tree Guide | Buying, Planting, & Caring for Cleveland Pear Trees

There are hundreds of ornamental trees to choose from when planting either accent trees or colorful tree rows, yet none is quite like the Cleveland Pear Tree. This stunning oval shaped tree reaches heights moderate between 30 and 40 feet tall, and its uniform shape exudes elegance with minimal effort. Many gardeners and landscapers may be familiar with the Bradford Pear Tree; the Cleveland Pear Tree is an improved cultivar. Bradford Pear Trees are notoriously weak, and these trees are easily damaged by cold weather and large spreads. The Cleveland Pear’s more compacted shape helps it to avoid these common problems.

Cleveland Pear Trees are notable for a variety of reasons. One of the most noticeable factors stands out right away – the color. Pure white springtime blossoms will delight every eye passing by, while the variety of plums, brandy reds, and mellow golden yellows of autumn will also paint that season. Besides this, Cleveland Pear Trees are easy to care for once established.

Not all landscapers may recommend the Cleveland Pear Tree. Although it is a beautiful ornamental tree, it does not have a long lifespan. Though stronger than its cousin, the Bradford Pear Tree, the Cleveland Pear Tree is still susceptible to branch weakness due to its fast-growth.

Despite these concerns, the Cleveland Pear Tree is a great choice for landscapers looking for a stunning accent tree, which coupled with fast-growth, will quickly add character to the planting location, either as an individual ornamental or lining the edges of a pathway.

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Quick Tips

Enjoy some quick tips here. For more complete information, read about these hints in more detail below.

Sunlight – Plant in a full sun location. Cleveland Pear Trees are not tolerant of heavy shade, though minimal afternoon shade in drier locations can be helpful.

Soil – Plant in well-drained, moist soil that is not overly wet. Although adaptable to many soil types, Cleveland Pear Trees prefer well-draining loam.

Water – During the first season, Cleveland Pear Trees require moderate watering care, preferably once a week for 30 minutes. Once established, Cleveland Pears require little water.

Pruning – Pruning is not recommended; if landscapers do feel it is required, simply remove dead branches and suckers in the fall.

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The Best Places to Plant the Cleveland Pear Tree

Cleveland Pear Trees are notably easy-to-grow, unlike many other ornamental trees, which are often quite picky. The first year is the most tentative. With proper planting and care, the Cleveland Pear Tree will quickly become well-established and requiring of minimal effort.

Plant the Cleveland Pear in full sun, as the sapling and mature tree is intolerant of shade. These ornamentals can be beautiful accent trees, drawing the eye to an individual focal point in a garden landscape. On the other hand, many landscapers choose to line entryways or driveways with rows of Cleveland Pear Trees. If you choose to plant these pear trees in rows, make sure the planting holes are about 15 feet apart, as the Cleveland Pear Tree’s mature spread will be between 15 and 20 feet.

It is important to consider nearby structures when planting Cleveland Pear Trees. Avoid planting too close to buildings or underneath power lines. Cleveland Pear Trees have extensive root systems that remain close to the surface, and if planted too close to buildings, the roots may damage sewage pipes or foundations.

Finally, Cleveland Pear Trees are a cultivar of the Callery pear, a species originally native to China and Vietnam. There are several other cultivars of this species, and they can cross-pollinate. If you have planted other Callery pears, such the Bradford Pear and Aristocrat, proceed cautiously with the Cleveland Pear, as these trees may hybridize after birds assist in fruit pollination. The thorny thickets produced by this hybridization can be difficult to manage.

Growth Rate and Mature Height

The Cleveland Pear Tree grows uniformly, so even if you choose to plant rows of these, most will grow evenly to reach between 30 and 40 feet tall and 15 and 20 feet wide. Unlike many other ornamentals, Cleveland Pears have a fast growth rate. Expect between 3 and 5 feet of new growth each season. This prized quality makes the Cleveland Pear Tree a popular choice among landscapers and homeowners.

Pests, Diseases, and Other Concerns

Cleveland Pear Trees are not at risk for many pests. Root rot and leaf spots have been spotted on similar cultivars, though the Cleveland Select is usually immune. Additionally, the Cleveland Pear Tree is cold-hardy, surviving USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 9, which is uncommon among other Callery pears. Breakage due to ice storms or heavy snow is the most common cause of early deaths among Cleveland Pear Trees.

Finally, Callery Pear Trees do have a distinctive smell, which is not always described pleasantly. An organic chlorine smell may permeate the area, so be sure to use other lovely-smelling tree or plant varieties in nearby proximity to help cover any possible smells.

Seasonal Changes, Flowers, and Fruit

The Cleveland Pear is known for its year-round enjoyment. In spring, the pear tree’s flowers blossom suddenly, covering the gray branches with thousands of small white blossoms bundled into groups on every bough. Summer brings glossy, oval shaped green leaves. The flowers may produce small fruits, no larger than an inch in diameter. These fruits are not edible.

Birds will often eat and carry the seeds elsewhere, thus concerns over cross-pollination. Cleveland Pears change colors drastically in the fall, showering plum purple, burgundy, golden yellow, or fiery orange leaves based on sunlight and soil composition.

Noteworthy Tips on the Cleveland Pear Tree

– Pear Wood is prized for its fine textures. As such, it is used in woodworking and many woodwind instruments.

– Callery Pear Trees are non-native invasive. This means that they do not originate in the United States, and they can damage the native ecosystem with overgrowth. Cleveland Pear Trees can still be planted, just be careful before planting near other Callery pears.

– Cleveland Pear Trees are pollutant-tolerant and immune to most diseases and pests that normally affect flowering ornamentals.

– Natural-based mulches are helpful when planting Cleveland Pear Trees; simply place a 3-inch layer of mulch at the base of the Cleveland Pear.

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Plant Care


Cleveland Pear Trees like full sun — at least six hours of direct light a day.


During the growing season, water once a week; taper off to once a month in winter.


Fertilize in spring and then again in early summer with a balanced, 10-10-10 fertilizer.

Planting and Care

by Mary Van Keuren | Gardener (30+ Years Experience) – last update on February 22, 2022

Planting instructions

Site your tree away from overhead power lines in well-drained loamy soil that gets at least six hours of sun a day. Unpot your sapling and tease out any encircling roots so that they do not girdle the tree and eventually kill it.

Dig a hole that’s as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Pour in a bucket of water and wait till it soaks in, then place the sapling in the hole. Hold it upright while you fill in around it with topsoil that’s been mixed with well-rotted manure or compost. Tamp down the soil as you go to eliminate air pockets.

Once planted, water thoroughly, aiming the hose at the tree’s root zone. Add a layer of an organic mulch, such as bark chips, around the root zone to conserve water. If the tree seems wobbly, you can add several stakes about 8 inches from the trunk. Tie them loosely to the tree with fabric ties.

Watering and nutrients

During the growing season, water your Cleveland pear tree once a week unless you get rain, giving the tree about 1 inch of water. In the winter you can cut back to once a month, or not at all once the tree is well-established.

Fertilize your tree with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 NPK formula, in spring and again in early summer.


Birds and insects are drawn to the Cleveland pear’s white flowers. Pollinated flowers may produce small berries which are not edible. Despite its name, the Cleveland pear tree does not produce edible fruit.


The Cleveland pear’s attractive columnar shape needs little pruning. Prune out any dead, diseased, or broken branches whenever you see them. Suckers around the base of the trunk should also be removed regularly. If pruning for shape is necessary, do so in the early spring before bud-break. Cut off branches at a 45-degree angle, just after a bud node.

Pests, diseases, and animals

Cleveland pear trees are relatively trouble-free when it comes to pests and diseases. Fire blight may affect the tree, and signs of it (wilted blackened leaves, branches that look scorched) should be pruned out immediately. Entomosporium leaf spot is also seen occasionally, causing leaves to spot, and powdery mildew may appear as a white coating on leaves. Keeping your tree healthy is the best way to deter these diseases. Bactericides and fungicides may also be helpful once the culprit is identified.

Few insect pests bother Cleveland pear trees, with codling moths, mites, and aphids being the most common. All can be treated with horticultural oil while the tree is dormant.

Achieving maximum results

The Cleveland pear is a type of tree called a Callery pear, along with others such as the Bradford pear. All are easy to grow and ornamental, but the Cleveland pear has been bred to avoid some of the problems of other Callery types. Anyone who has grown Bradford pear trees is familiar with the unseemly smell they emit — this is far less pronounced with Clevelands. Cleveland pears are also less likely to have damage caused by branches splitting at vertical junctions, but it’s a good practice to monitor your Cleveland pear tree carefully for signs of splitting. The acute angles where the branches meet are prone to structural cracking, and it’s a good idea to plant your Cleveland pear where it will be sheltered from prevailing winds.

Are Cleveland pear trees easy to grow?

These ornamental trees are one of the easiest landscape trees to grow. They are tolerant of pollution and salt and resist most diseases and pests that plague flowering trees. They need little extra care outside of supplemental watering when it's dry and an occasional light application of fertilizer. In return, they will reward you with four seasons of interest.

Is the Cleveland pear invasive?

Several Midwestern states, including Ohio, consider Callery pears, which include Cleveland pears, to be invasive. They are not native to the U.S., and fears that they will cross-pollinate with other cultivars have led some gardeners to avoid them. If you live in an area other than the Midwest, they are uncommon enough that it's unlikely your Cleveland pear will cause problems or spread beyond the bounds of your garden.

What's the best time of year to plant a Cleveland pear tree?

Your best option is to plant your sapling in spring, once the ground is warm enough to be worked. Second best would be early fall, preferably well before your first anticipated frost. Avoid planting the trees in the heat of summer, when they are likely to wilt, and if you do so, be sure to water them frequently.

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Proper planting of pears in spring: when, how and where to root seedlings

Why do we focus on spring planting? The answer is simple: a pear is a heat-loving plant. The tree belongs to those species that slowly form root lobes with suction roots in autumn.

Root hairs are the organ of the root system that absorbs water and nutrients from the soil. They live no more than one vegetative period and. when transplanted, they are damaged first. In winter, with a lack of formed root hairs, dehydration occurs and the seedling freezes. Therefore, pears take root better when planted in early spring, when they can be provided with moisture. It is especially important to observe this rule when working with winter tree species.

Optimum time for pear planting in spring

It happens that the spring planting of pear seedlings is disappointing, but there is only one reason for disappointment - a delay in terms. The general rule is: the sooner the better! The optimal period is considered the first 5-6 days from the beginning of gardening - as soon as the ground thaws. If planting is planned later, then the seedling should be shaded and ensure that the roots get moisture.

Tree planting always consists of 6 stages:

  • seat selection;
  • soil preparation;
  • site marking;
  • excavation of planting holes;
  • planting;
  • watering and pruning new trees.

Preparing the soil for spring planting of pears

The best place for pears is a site closed by buildings or plantings from the north winds. It can also be located near the southwestern tip of the neighboring site. Winter varieties of pears, as the most sensitive plants, are placed near the southern wall of the house.

Practice shows that on deeply fertilized soils, plants begin to bear fruit earlier and more abundantly. On weak soils, fruit trees enter the fruiting phase for a long time, develop worse, get sick more often. Therefore, the soil for the pear should be prepared.

In many areas of the central part of the country, under a relatively shallow nutrient layer, there is a very dense, saturated with sodium salts, soil - solonchak. Below it are layers that contain calcium useful for plants.

To increase the fertility of the earth, it is dug 75 cm deep. Objectives of the measure:

  1. Destruction of the subsoil layer, impervious to moisture and air.
  2. Increase in the thickness of the humus, cultivated horizon.

It is better to complete the pass on the entire area allocated for the fruit plantation. If this is not possible, there is a reason to make an enlarged hole for the pear - 2–2.5 m wide,

If the basis of the soil is sand, the soil should be improved. Pear grows well on loamy, but rather moisture-permeable and nutrient-rich soil. Therefore, clay is added to sandstones. About 12 buckets are brought into a regular hole, 1.5 m wide; in an enlarged pit - 20-25 buckets. Clay, sand and black soil are evenly mixed. A thin layer of clean clay is laid at the bottom of the pit.

In addition, when preparing a pit, up to 15 kg of humus or compost are added to it, and immediately before spring planting, 60–120 g of potassium salt (or 1 kg of wood ash) and 250–250 g of superphosphate. More fertilizers are applied to loams, and less to sandstones. Professionals advise applying organic and mineral fertilizers together in half doses: in their opinion, the result is much higher.

Important: Do not bring fresh manure into the pit.

Pits for spring planting are prepared from autumn. As an exception, digging holes in the spring is allowed, two weeks before planting pears in the ground.

Placement of seedlings in the garden: pear height and planting density

Marking is carried out taking into account already standing buildings and growing trees. Pear in nurseries is usually grafted onto vigorous rootstocks, so the distance between adjacent seedlings when laying a garden should be 7 x 6 meters. However, a pear can initially be grafted onto a quince. In this case, plants can be planted thicker: a 5 x 3 m area will be enough.

The interval for planting pears also depends on the terrain. If the site is located on a slope, choose the smaller of the values. In flat gardens, the distance between trees is increased to the maximum. The largest interval is also set for irrigated gardens,

Violation of stocking density rules is an insidious mistake. Its results appear after 5-7 years, when there is little that can be corrected. The crowns of trees that have entered the time of full fruiting are closed into a continuous tent. Roots hidden from view also intertwine. The thickened garden is a sad sight: a forest park without fruits, a monument to aimless labor.

When choosing the size of trees, the best rule of thumb is: the smaller the area of ​​the garden, the smaller the trees should be.

Preparing pear seedlings for planting

Pear seedlings are usually planted at the age of one and a half to two years. The standard plant has a branched, root system about 20-35 cm long.

First determine the color of the root wood in the section. When planting in spring, the roots are usually not pruned. An exception is made for diseased skeletal processes - they are cut in small portions selectively. The cut area should be minimal, the surface smooth: the work is done with a sharp tool. Fibrous roots are preserved as much as possible - root hairs are formed on them.


  • healthy roots - white wood;
  • dried - brown;
  • frozen - black-grey.

If more than half the length of the roots are dark, the diseased plant is discarded.

  1. The above-ground part must be smooth-bore with even boles. The crown should consist of 3–4 skeletal branches (for pear seedlings 2 or more years old), evenly distributed along the circumference and height.
  2. The diameter of the stem at the root collar should be approximately 15 mm.
  3. Below the grafting point, especially below the root collar, there should be no shoots or shoots.
  4. Fresh wounds and cuts on seedlings are immediately covered with wax garden pitch.

To keep the root system healthy, it is always kept in a closed state - buried or packed in a container with nutritious soil.

We supply pear seedlings with hermetically packed root system placed in a peat substrate. Thanks to this, the underground part of the plant remains fresh during the entire transportation period. If during transportation, transshipment or storage you allowed the roots to be exposed and dry out, before planting, place the underground part of the pear in a water mash of black soil and ash, prepared in a 1: 1 ratio and soak it in a root solution.

How to plant a pear tree

The basic operations are the same for all crops.

  1. Before planting the seedling, a stake is driven into the hole in the center. The earth is trampled down along the edges of the pit. In the middle, a hill is made of fertile soil, a tree is carefully placed on it from the north side of the stake.
  2. From edge to edge of the pit, a landing board is laid - a measure of the depth of embedding a tree. The seedling is raised so that the root neck (it is located below the grafting site) is at the level of the board.
  3. The roots are covered with earth: it is served in small portions, evenly scattered between the roots. The trunk is regularly shaken so that the soil evenly fills all the voids. From time to time, the earth is compacted by hand.
  4. When the pit is full, the earth is trampled down. Start walking from the edge of the pit to the center.
  5. Collets are made along the edges of the pit so that a hole 10–15 cm deep is obtained.
  6. Pour 5 buckets of water under the pear.
  7. Holes are mulched with compost. Layer thickness - 8–10 cm.
  8. The trunk is tied to the stake with a soft wide ribbon. The loop is made free, in the shape of a figure eight.

Do not spud the trunk in spring. When planting in early spring, pear seedling branches are cut off.

First pear pruning

First shorten the longest side branch - remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the length. They act on the principle: the longer the shoot, the more it is cut off. Then the rest of the sides are cut at the same level. The central conductor is made 20–25 cm longer than the side branches. In total, up to 5 buds are removed on each shoot.

Pruning is done on either the outer or inner bud. The task is to form the skeletal branches at an angle of 60o-65o. If the branch is located at too sharp or too obtuse an angle, it is shortened so that a 0.5 cm long spine remains after the bud.

In total, 4 lateral processes are formed on the trunk of the pear. This is the basis of the future crown - skeletal branches of the first order.

Published: 02 Mar 2020

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Planting pears in spring and autumn. How to plant a pear?

Many gardeners want to see a beautiful pear on their plots, which will delight them with tasty and juicy fruits. With proper planting and care, you will always have an excellent harvest.

Pear, like all fruit trees, loves sunny places - the more sun, the sweeter the fruit. Therefore, pear planting is carried out in well-lit places where there is no close occurrence of groundwater. She loves loose, well-fertilized soils.

Pear planting can be carried out both in spring (as soon as the soil thaws and warms up) and in autumn (we finish planting 2 weeks before the cold weather). In the spring we plant plants with an open root, but pears with a closed root system (in pots) can be transplanted in autumn and even in summer - the roots are protected, and the seedling grows and develops safely. In addition, for plants in pots, planting is almost stress-free, the tree takes root quickly and gets sick less.

How to plant a pear

1. Pear planting starts with making a hole. Its depth is 60-70 cm, width is 100-120 cm, the pear loves fertilized and loose soil. 2-3 buckets of humus, 800 g of superphosphate and 150 g of potassium sulfate are brought into one planting pit. It is better not to use potassium chloride, pear roots are very sensitive to chloride ions. In no case should fresh manure be added to the nutrient mixture. Getting into the lower part of the pit, with a lack of oxygen, it decomposes poorly and releases ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which poison the roots of plants.

2. When digging a hole, we fold the top layer of earth separately from the bottom. It is with the top layer that you need to mix humus and fertilizers. Pour the prepared soil mixture back into the pit until planting. The pit is prepared at least 3 weeks in advance, and if you plan to plant a pear in the spring, then you need to prepare it in the fall. During this time, all fertilizers are evenly distributed, and nutrition is supplied to all roots without exception.

3. A young pear must be tied to a support, so a peg is first driven into the planting hole, its height above the level of the hole should be 55-65 cm.

4. Immediately before planting, in a prepared and fertilized hole, we dig a hole of such a size that all the roots of the seedling are freely located in it.

5. At the bottom of the hole we form a small mound, its height depends on the root system of the seedling. The root neck should be 1-2 cm above ground level. If you chose a pear in a container, then you do not need to fill the mound, and the level of the pot should match the level of the planting hole.

6. It is important that the roots are in close contact with the ground, in order to fill all the voids around the roots, when planting, periodically it is necessary to shed the roots well with water. Ideally, liquid mud should form in the pit.

7. We fill the hole to the top with the remnants of the soil, form a side around the planting, water well again and mulch the soil with peat or old sawdust.

Planting pears in spring

Plant pears in spring before buds open. Plants with an open root system are mainly planted in spring. It is important to carefully inspect the seedling before buying:

1. Roots should be moist and white when cut (if you pick the root off with your fingernail).

2. There should be 3-5 large retaining roots and a sufficient number of small suction roots.

3. The stem must be flexible with enough buds.

Before planting, the roots must be kept for 1-2 hours in water with root growth stimulants ( Kornevin, Heteroauxin, Sodium Humate, Zircon ) 9019eight . This treatment ensures almost one hundred percent survival rate of a young tree.
The main condition for planting pears in the spring is a sufficient amount of moisture, therefore, after planting (as described above), we must carry out regular watering in the morning or evening hours.

Pear planting in autumn

In autumn, planting in our region is carried out from the end of August to the beginning of October.

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