Cleveland Pear Question

garettMay 20, 2007

Hi everyone,

I wish I had found this website before we planted our first tree in our new home. We decided to plant a Cleveland Pear because of the white blossoms, plus we read elsewhere that the tree requires little maintenance and is not susceptible to wind damage like the Bradfords. Of course what I have read on here is that they still split and they are stinky. Great.

Is it possible to plant a couple of different kinds of trees around my pear to kind of block the wind a bit? If so, what would be a good tree for this?

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The best thing you can do is to dig up the tree and take it back to place of purchase and ask them why they are selling plants on the "Do-not-plant" list.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 7:38PM
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What are your conditions like where you live? ( I am assuming windy if in Oklahoma.) What type of yard do you have? (Rural with lots of room, a subdivision with not so much?)What's your soil like? Infertile, clay, dry, wet, etc?
Are there power lines nearby or a close neighbor or structure? I admit being from Michigan I am not too sure what Oklahoma is like climate wise. It's quite variable right? Are you looking for a fast growing tree or don't mind waiting a bit? Is Fall leaf pickup a big deal? Is your main "hot button" flowers, shade, ease of maintenance, growth rate, fall color? Would you really like one that flowers in the spring or Is your yard "natural" or a bit more on the mainicured/formal side? Would like a big tree, or something a bit smaller? Can you water a tree that might need alot? You get the idea....

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 11:37PM
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Cleveland Pears are considerably stronger, with far less branch failure than Bradford pears. In the Fortworth, TX area I see lots of Cleveland Pear trees which are quite mature and do not show signs of having branch failure.

FW gets just as windy weather as OK can get. So, I would not be overly concerned about keeping your tree. I do not know if the flowers of the Clevelands stink like the odor I have been disgusted with, when walking a few feet downwind of a blooming Bradford.

The Cleveland canopies spread quite wide at maturity, so to plant trees around it for providing shelter to benefit the Cleveland, your yard would need to be quite large.

On the other hand though planting other trees near the Cleveland would provide competition for your Cleveland and could cause the ornamental tree's canopy to spred considerably less. Not too much different like when you see trees that compete with each other in the forest.

If the Cleveland pear you purchased was a potted one, then digging it up and repotting it, now when it is leafed out, might kill it. So I do not think it will be very honest to take it back to the nursery, when it has such a slim chance of living very long after the transplant.

If you purchased it as a B&B tree then it should survive the digging up and potting of it to take back and request a refund or exchange. Just make certain to keep the B&B rootball properly watered. The easiest way to do that is to get a pot size that is larger than the B&B rootball, fill the bottom of the pot with several inches of potting soil, insert the tree and fill potting soil around the rootball enough to fill the pot. Then water with at least five gallons of water every day until you return the tree to the nursery.

If the pear tree you first planted was an old cultivar Bradford, yes, I would complain to the Nursery about selling such a poor quality tree cultivar, and you most likely would be reasonable to ask for a refund or a replacement tree.

Last I heard is that Cleveland and Aristocrat ornamental pear cultivars are still locally considered acceptable to sell and plant in OK. If that is true, there is a good chance the nursery will not refund your money or exchange the tree. If your Cleveland pear started out as a potted tree, and if you dig it up and repot it; the nursery could possibly not take it back. If that happens you will very likely be left with a dead or dying tree on your hands.

Just like it is easy to find a nursery, which still sells soft wood or hard but brittle wood trees, which display a risk for branch failure, because people will buy such a fast growing tree much quicker than they will purchase a moderate or slow growing, quality hard wood tree; it is still easy to find a nursery which sells Bradford pears. It is even more likely to find a nursery which sells the Cleveland and Aristocrat pears.

Recently, I even saw a website offering a supposedly improved Bradford pear cultivar that was reported to not suffer from the branch failure problems seen in the old Bradford pear cultivars.

Bottom line, it is not the fault of a nursery, if a customer chooses to purchase a soft wood tree which can suffer branch failure.

Unless the nursery has mislead the customer by insisting that a potentially weak tree is a strong tree which will not cause problems, I consider it the customers responsibility to research the facts about a tree before purchasing it and for sure before planting it in on their property. Is it really the fault of the nursery, if the customer plants one of their trees, and later concludes that tree was not what they really wanted? Like I said above, Maybe the change of mind and return would be reasonable if the recently purchased tree is returned before it was taken out of the pot, and if it was kept watered properly until the potted tree was exhanged at the Nursery.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 1:27AM
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Still invasive potential though. Still a problem for everyone one else as growers continue to ship these to affected areas.

Here is a link that might be useful: You have numerous other choices for flowering trees

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 9:15AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Well, while I personally may not have bought it, you now have it. It's just innocuous enough that no-one can catgorically say "take it out", but, as I think you gathered, we would, most of us, recommend you never buy another flowering pear! Live with it, see if there are seedlings all over the place, and then decide if you want to replace it. It may not be the ideal solution, nor the most correct one, but I think it's the most practical for now. But that's MY opinion...

I think it should be OK in the spot where you have it; if it "grows up", so to speak, with the wind, it will grow striongly enough to cope with it. A freak tornado or wind shear is something NO protection can guarantee against. If it turns out to have a problem with it, and the nursery's warranty is still in effect, then you can get your money back or another tree. If it's out of the guarantee, you can still get another tree - and you have learned how to make a better choice. Hopefully, it will grow just fine.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 10:25AM
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smallmouth, in answer to several of your questions:

1. I live in a subdivision, the lots are not very big, and my front yard is the smallest part. from my driveway to my neighbors property line is about 25 feet. also, from the sidwalk to my house is about 28 feet, and 6 feet from sidewalk to street.
2. clay soil.
3. the weather is pretty variable here. in the winter we can get slightly below freezing, and in the middle of summer it gets up to about 100-110 degrees, usually very muggy.
4. a fast tree is good, but its not priority. just nothing too slow. we only plan to live here for 6 years in a best case scenario, 10 at the worst.
5. i am actually wanting 2 trees in the front, if that is even possible. one shade tree, one flowering. leaf pickup is no problem. i dont like sap drippings though. i can water if necessary.

i was really hoping to have an oak tree in my front yard, along with a flowering tree. after measuring my yard today though, i guess i might have been living in fantasy land. i mean i guess i could plant it and leave it as a problem for someone else, but i dont want to be like that.

there are some older neighborhoods in the Tulsa area, they have some very large trees, many planted by the street so that the branches actually shade the entire street. its very beautiful. one thing that i dont understand thought is that these neighborhoods did not appear to have any major sidewalk or street damage from the roots. if i planted a tree by the sidewalk in this fashion, that would give me a lot more space to work with.

so... i am open to suggestions. is an oak out of the question? if so, what would be a good shade tree for my size limitations?

if my pear happens to die(its actually looking kind of rough right now) then what would make a good replacement? i was thinking maybe a redbud. we also plan to put 2 yoshino cherries and 2 japanese maples in the back yard(much larger than the front).

thanks to everyone for the advice so far.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 12:35AM
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"The best thing you can do is to dig up the tree and take it back to place of purchase and ask them why they are selling plants on the "Do-not-plant" list."

Where does the "do not plant' list apply?

Is this something from this group, or is a government regulation, and which government?

Where can you see the trees that are on the list?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 3:30PM
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