Cleveland Flowering Pear Tree

garden_2006May 22, 2006

I am interested in purchasing a "Cleveland Flowering Pear Tree" whereby all the places on the web that take orders for this tree ships them in bare root form. My question is this: is this a good time to plant this type (bare root) of tree now in June, 2006 for the Illinois area? Will it survive the winter? Is this type of tree to plant in bare root form and good type to plant or should I wait to see if I could buy one that is more developed from a nursery next spring?

Do you know fast this tree will grow? If I plant it from bare root, approximately how long will I need to wait before I see it develope and get the blooms?

Thank you so much,


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Sorry to sound so negative but as far as I'm concerned, there is never a good time nor a good place to plant a flowering pear of any kind. They are weak wooded, split in storms due to weak crotch angles and most importantly, they are highly invasive. The blooms are nice but they only last about a week. And they often smell very bad. Nothing to write home about.

With that said, there are a gazillion better alternatives. And as for planting those alternatives bareroot, no I'd only do it when they are dormant if they are shipped.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 10:01AM
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You mentioned there are gazillion better alternatives. Can you recommend a wonderful tree that has nice blooms, looking for something that is easy to take care of, nothing wild, and would be a nice tree to plant in front of my house. I have a silver maple that is being cut down due to storm damage whereby the tree split in half. I am looking for a nice bloom tree, that has different color changes during the season changes, preferrably something that turns, red, yellow, etc. I am searching for suggestions. Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 7:14AM
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I like Winter King Hawthorn as a substitute for a white flowering, semi-formal shaped tree (Crataegus viridis 'Winter King' is the name).

Another nice spring flowering tree is Serviceberry (Amelanchier "Autumn Brillance" has good fall color).

A third choice is Yoshino Cherry, hardy to zone 5 (Prunus yedoensis 'Yoshino').

Quirkyquercus will have to come up with the rest of the gazillion, those are my 3 best alternatives for flowering trees for the front yard.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 7:34AM
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Ok, maybe there isn't a gazillion. Callery pears (aka cleveland select, bradford, aristocrat etc) bring a lot to the table as far as seasonal color and form. But I call them the heartbreaker tree because just when you're starting to appreciate the tree, WHAMMO it splits in half and breaks your heart because you're left with a deformed tree or an empty divit in your lawn.

You mentioned your silver maple splitting in a storm... Well you know all too well what can happen with weak wooded trees. Learn from the mistake. It wasn't a freak accident, it happens all the time.

As for alternatives, I'll be happy to give some suggestions if I can but I need to know where you're located. A photo of the location would help, amount of sunlight, and amount of space that's there is needed. Personally, I'd rather have my seasonal color provided by shrubs so I can use groupings of them for mass effect. I have a small yard with a formal style of architecture. So I used narrow upright growing trees with fine texture for placing near the house, with my far more exciting and whimsy shrubs in another part of the yard. One thing I can tell you a thing or two about is fall color. I've managed to set it up so I've got it constantly all season. It takes several different trees to accomplish that.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 9:40AM
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I am located in the United States, Roselle, Illinois (Northwest suburb of Chicago, Illinois). There is full sun where I would want to plant the tree. The amount of space I have to plant the tree is about 15-20 feet wide.

Thanks for your expert advice and suggestions.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 10:31AM
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A picture would really help get my creative juices flowing. Suffice it to say the amount of space you have is really pushing it for an ornamental pear. They grow fast and it could outgrow that amount of space.
I like the trees already mentioned and there's an endless list of crabapples, my personal favorite is Prairie pride. Stuff like flowering cherries, red buds, dogwood are things to consider for that amount of space. It will leave you with some room to plant other things there too. I think dogwoods have blooms and fall color that rival the pears. I can list more but these are going to be easy to find. My advice would be not to try to find a single tree that does it all when you can put together something more substancial and have that year round interest you're wanting.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 1:40PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Chionanthus virginicus 'fringe tree', will be about 15' high, 10' wide. Replacing a silver maple, I would think you'd have more room than 15 to 20 feet? Below is a link to a place south of Chicago with great service, great trees and great prices. I have a small yard...62'x130'...and I put a Catalpa speciosa out front (from the place below). Ultimate size is 65' high and 40' wide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Possibility Place

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 5:44PM
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I have to agree on the Bradford pear being the "Heartbreaker" of ornamentals. We had a beauty growing in our front yard for 10 years. When we planted it, it was a 6' tall container grown specimen. It was close to 25' tall by 20' wide when a March snowstorm cracked it right down the middle. I would highly recommend the "Snowdrift" cultivar of flowering crab apple if white blooms are what your after. Or the "Prairefire" cultivar if red blooms are your thing. We have both. Either variety are proven producers of a mid spring flower show. Along with a very pleasant apple blossom aroma around the yard. In addittion the fruit is pleasing to the eye and birds will eat it in the fall. The Snowdrift is a greenleaf variety and seems to grow a bit faster than the reddish leaves of the prairefire. This might be unique to my tree, but my prairefire's branching habitat is a bit tangled and requires attention with the lopers to keep it looking neat. The snowdrift on the other hand grows in a nice, neat round head. We live in NW Indiana, either of these two crabs would grow quite nicely in Roselle. >>>>. mark

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:03PM
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Prarifire is what I meant for the crab, not prarie pride.. that's another type of tree LOL.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 10:05AM
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I have to be the only one who loves the Cleveland Select tree on this tread. I have a beautiful one that is now 12 yr old & just beautiful. I bought it in a pot not bare root & planted it & never looked back. The tree is very fast growing it grows 20" a season. It does not have any odor & is strong. I live off of farm fields open to high winds & this tree has never as much as lost a limb.
It is covered with white flowers in spring & turns red with some yellow on the leaves in fall. So both spring & fall it has knock out color. I can't see how the other posters can knock this tree so hard. I have nothing but a great strong tree from mine. Neighbors love it & tell me all the time what a beautiful tree I have & want to know what it is. I am in the same zone as you & I have clay soil & the tree does just fine. If nothing else I can give you a report on a 12yr old beautiful Cleveland Select Pear. The pictures of it on the net when you do a search are true to form the tree really does look that good.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 12:31PM
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Your Cleveland is just now at the age and size that it will probably soon self-destruct - especially since it is in an exposed site where it's exposed to high winds. Just wait. It's running on borrowed time.

Add to that the fact that every time someone plants a callery pear selection, they're adding fuel to the fire of the increasing invasion of natural areas by seedlings of this introduced species, which is rapidly moving toward listing as an unwanted invasive alien on many states' lists of undesirable plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: The coming plague of pears

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 10:36AM
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I am going with mamoo. I am 68 years old and in 12 years won't give a crap if it self destructs.
At 68, I need a faster growing tree.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 6:10AM
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Hmmm . . . fancy the job of clearing away a pile of broken branches out of a half-demolished living room when you're 80??

Or if you're not there, leaving such a liability to the next owner of the house?

Not a good idea!


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 6:14AM
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That's nice that nobody gives a crap anymore about anything but themselves.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:55AM
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Ok that last one was a little harsh. :-)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 8:58AM
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If one wants to get hardnosed about trees which invade; crabapple trees and Maple trees and oak trees, including many evergreens, invade my landscape and yard. Yet I do not see reports labeling them as invasive. In truth, if it is not a non reproducing cultivar, then most any tree will spread, as nature's way for preserving the species.

If one does not like the ornamental pear volunteers growing in their yard, then simply mow them down, or pull them out along with the surge of maple seedlings that invade each spring.

Of course, most of those above mentioned trees, also, often alter naturalized areas, and as such some of them can create problems not so easily addressed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 12:13PM
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garden 2006, if you want a 'Cleveland' pear, plant it in a sheltered place where it has room to spread, and also can get the sun it needs. Of course, that kind of planting place is not easily found in a residential situation.

At least you are not wanting to plant a 'Bradford' pear tree. In our area the Bradford pears start displaying limb failure at around 9-10 years. Local landscapers, suggest the Cleveland and the Aristocrat cultivars as a better option, for those people who have their heart set on having a flowering pear.

The Cleveland pears spread quite wide canopies, but in our area do seem to hold up much better than the Bradfords.

Our locally grown Aristocrat pears hold up even better than the Clevelands. They also are not such hogs for canopy space.

I am not sure if the same is true for all the callery pears, but the Bradford pears do emit an almost rotting corpse odor when they are in full bloom. One usually only smells that odor if they are walking past or under one or a row of them in full bloom.

Another good thing about the soft wood ornamental pears to consider, is that the size they are once they begin breaking and need to be removed make them less dangerous and expensive to remove. I certainly prefer that over the expense and injury risk of removing some of the dangerous, massive, grown soft wood maples; along with old, hard but brittle wood, Cottonwood trees.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 12:59PM
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I guess what I meant by my rude remark is that for every flowering pear that is bought, 5 more are grown and shipped to nurseries in areas they are a problem. The grower doesn't care, the retailer doesn't care and the gardener doesn't care.
Great, no one cares yet everybody's happy. One could say the same thing about willow oaks in Atlanta. It doesn't matter what the shortcomings are. How does anyone expect to have any selection at the garden center, and I mean desirable plants when people settle for junk money-makers?

If you buy a new house and after moving in, you realize the builder cut corners on everything, you'd be mad to discover you have the cheapest fixtures and what have you. Well then why cut corners on trees. They're supposed to be there a while you know and it's not easy to change your mind and move them later on.

If you want a monoculture of something at least plant what was growing on the land before it was bull dozed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 2:44PM
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Katrinal, not only are all of those trees native, but they are also beautiful as specimen, arched screen, or clumped trees. If they're not a threat to your house, why not let them grow?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:24PM
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Next to our sidewalk and street are three 26 year old Bradford Pears approx. 40 feet tall that we planted in 1982. At that time they were considered the "perfect street tree" based on some University specimen that was 25 years old and only 35 feet tall. Clearly, they did not live up to that erroneous report. Our trees (2) suffered their first damaged after an ice storm probably around 10 years of age. Since then, we hire professional tree trimmers about every three years to trim, shape and cut out weak limbs. Since then the trees have never suffered any damage by weather. And we live near the highest elevation in our windy WV county, and regularly see weather damage on many different varieties other than just the Bradford. As a property owner in an old addition of the 1950s, those of us who utilize professional tree trimmers, find our old specimens are exceedingly lovely in their majestic mature size providing shade along our boulevard. As with everything  a little loving care goes a long way. My experience as a senior and self-educated gardener, I feel there isnÂt a single perennial, annual, or shrub that doesnÂt require regular attention. Never in my 60+ years have I found a specimen that you can plant and forget (or neglect). Gardening is an never ending hobby.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 9:42PM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

Well, if its blossoms you're after and "anti" Bradford/Cleveland, I guess you could plant some asian pears. Mine have just turned to blossoms this year.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 1:04PM
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I was wondering if anybody new a good measurement for spacing the Cleveland pairs along the side of a driveway, l would like to have space between the trees so that they don't touch one another ( maybe 10 feet). Any comments would be helpful.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:17PM
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About 6 years ago, we purchased a duplex with 21 trees on the property mostly pines and oaks. We barely had enough room to enjoy the front and backyards. Our property is said to be 1/4 acre. Therefore, we had ALL the trees cut down except for the beautiful crepe myrtle that sits at the edge of our front yard near the driveway. I later came to regret cutting down all of our shade and just planted a Cleveland Flowering Pear, Profusion Crabapple, Double Red Althea, Dwarf Crepe Myrtle, Alexander "Saucer" Magnolia and a Little Gem Magnolia. Two are planted in the frontyard and the remainder in the backyard. I must admit that I was aware of the conditions with the Bradford Pears but was informed that the Cleveland Flowering Pears weren't susceptible to the same fate as the Bradfords and, that's why I invested in one besides, they were between 25% to 50% off at a major chain nursery. ( I don't want to regret planting such a beautiful tree. By the way, last week a thunderstorm took down an ugly 40 feet Pine Tree my neighbor had in his yard. It fell completely over his fence missing his newly built shed and our fence as well. More importantly, our homes. It is lain perfectly straight as if it was meant to be there. I guess all trees are somewhat susceptible.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 2:37PM
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