Bare root cleveland pear trees

tumbleweed908March 8, 2010

Hi guys,

I'm seeking advise and or help with my cleveland pear trees. I seem to be another person who has purchased bare root trees from Willis orchards without researching this company first.

Last Feb, I received two cleveland pear trees, each was approx 7 ft tall. I thought I followed all of the planting instructions (came with minimal at best) that I could find with no luck. These two trees never produced the first leaf.

This company did replace these two trees and they were planted about 2-3 weeks ago in the same spot. I am wondering if there is any advise or help out there to help me avoid another set of dead cleveland pear trees. My neighbor's Bradford pears are starting to bloom and I am not seeing any activity similar in mine. My replacements are the same size as before and they are still green (scratch test).

I felt that last time I might have over watered so this time I am watering approx every 5-6 days depending on the moisture provided with the weather. Great care was taken while planting these guys assuring that the roots were well surrounded with no air pockets. The trees were dormant upon arrival and were planted two days after they arrived. I cleaned the roots to remove the packing material well and then let them soak in water for about 5 hours before planting this time around.

I was reading in some of the Oklahoma forums on this site about somewhat similar issues. Some saying that a pear tree might be hard to break out of dormancy? should I consider digging them up and sweating them? Or is it too early to do this (planted 2-3 weeks ago)? Any help or advise will be greatly appreciated.


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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


Have you considered replacing your Cleveland with a better tree? Cleveland (along with Bradfords) are about as low in popularity here in this forum (and with many people familiar with them) as a tree can be. Most people consider them a very inferior tree for the landscape and an invasive pest plant, in many areas (including Texas).

Their invasive nature has not always been recognized, but is becoming more so. I don't think the TIPPC has even listed the Callery Pear yet, but other sources have noted it's spread in Texas.

I'm not sure how much of a problem this plant is in your area, but if it's anything like it is in many other places, it's not the kind of thing your want to plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Weed of the Week

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:46PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Pear tree difficult to break out of dormancy?

Sweating a tree out of dormancy?

I just did some reading and learned myself.

Here is a link that might be useful: edu site about sweating plants

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 12:00AM
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It seems this particular type of tree is sending you a message. I would think the wind out that way would be a problem later down the road for any of the callery pears.

Perhaps the site below has some tips for your county.

Here is a link that might be useful: texas trees, customize by county

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 1:30PM
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A nursery selling callery pears should be red flag numero uno.

If you flex the branches, do they snap and break easily?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 8:46AM
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Thanks for those links! The wind here the last three days has lived up to the reputation for this area. Forcast for todoay is 50mph for a large portion of the day and it hasn't been much different the previous few days either. I am aware of their problems with the wind, so I thought I might the stronger cleveland variety. You may be right, it is sending me a message and might be all for nothing if it doesn't grow, haha.

The tree is still green nice and green. Upon further review and reading it looks as if a large majority of the blooms may have burst before I ever got the trees in the mail.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Cleveland is not any "stronger". They alledgedly have less narrow branch crotch angles but they are the same short-lived, weak-wooded, surface-rooting, natural-area-invading, mess-making, odor-spewing, short-blooming, freeze-damage-prone species. And in general, companies that still sell these in light of their many problems tend to prey on people in need of fast growing shade or privacy trees and use the "take the money and send poor quality or dead plants" business model. Sort of like trying to find a crack dealer with good customer service.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:30AM
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Wow. Thanks for the advise. I am sorry you feel that way about these pear trees. I happen to like these trees, and if they "invade" my yard then that would be awesome. Because right now, the only shade in my yard is what is cast by my house for a maybe a few hours a day in the summer.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:34PM
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Ah - time to re-post "Ode to the Callery Pear"

I think that I shall never see,
A tree as maligned as the Callery be,
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earthÂs sweet flowing breast;
But multiplies with such a zest,
That some consider it a $@#!*% pest!

A tree that in early spring will wear
Glorious white blossoms as her hair,
(Tho some claim the smell too much to bear??)

A tree that very late in fall,
Boasts red, orange, & purple to enthrall;
How can you hate such a tree at all!!

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray,
The storms wonÂt come & break them away!

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
Who intimately lives with rain,
But those ice storms - oh, what a pain!!

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God loves the poor Callery tree!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 2:29PM
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And my favorite - "Who Let the Pears Out?"

Here is a link that might be useful: Who let the pears out?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 2:45PM
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tumbleweed, the problem is they won't invade your yard.
I agree that would be awesome if they would just remain in the confines of the gardens in which they originated.
Unfortunately this is not how it works.

They end up in natural areas such as forests, prairies, grasslands and wetlands where they can form a colony that inhibits the growth of plants that are supposed to be there and needed to be there for the survival of the habitat.

Aside from that, I still feel I should caution you since millions of people are lured by their ornamental attributes and learn the hard way, these grow rapidly into big heavy trees. Shortly after they mature, they fall apart. Now it's one thing for a tree to fall apart when it's a container size but when it's 10" caliper trunk with limbs weighing hundreds of pounds and requires a tree service to come out, the expense you will have to go through for removal at that point will be no laughing matter.

When you're working on your family budget and planning for eventualities such as roof replacement and driveway repair, with callery pear, you'll want to be sure to budget $1500-$2500* for each tree on your property for the inevitable removal not including any damage caused when they come a-crashin' down.

* Call local tree services and see if you can get an average cost of removal for a mature callery pear that has split into 3 pieces and remember that these usually need removal in the wake of winter and spring storms when trees are down all over town and rates are tend to be on the high side.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 3:11PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

As Iforgotitsonevermind pointed out, the term "invasive" (when used scientifically/properly) doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what the plant will do in your yard, but describes the possible damage that the plant will do to the environment. Invasives are litter that increase exponentially with time. Imagine throwing a beer can out of your window that can reproduce exponentially. I'm not sure how big the problem is where you live, but it's getting pretty bad around here.

Find an "old" (actually, that's relative with callery pears, because they are not generally long-lived) Bradford or Cleveland Pear, and chances are you'll see an ugly tree with sections broken out. Why anyone would consider planting one of these, if they knew about them, is hard to understand.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Dan Staley

Way back when we used to practice pruning on a stand of these because their crotch attachments were so variable and their pruning reactions were spectacular. We all learned very quickly in our practices to take these off of recommended lists and to guide our clients to something else.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 4:44PM
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