By: Teo Spengler
If you are looking for ornamental pear trees that overflow with showy flowers in spring, consider Chanticleer pear trees. They also delight many with their vibrant fall colors. For more Chanticleer pear information and tips on growing Chanticleer pears, read on.
Chanticleer (Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’) is a cultivar of the Callery ornamental pear, and it’s a beauty. Callery Chanticleer pears have a growth habit that is neat and tailored with a slender pyramid shape. But when the trees flower, they are dramatic and stunning. This variety is considered to be one of the best Callery cultivars available in commerce. Chanticleer pear trees are thornless and can get some 30 feet (9 m.) tall and 15 feet (4.5 m.) wide. They grow fairly rapidly.
Chanticleer pear trees are a garden favorite for both the visual interest they offer and their rich profusion of flowers. The showy white blossoms appear in clusters in springtime. The fruit follows the flowers, but don’t expect pears if you start growing Chanticleer pears! The “fruit” of Callery Chanticleer pears is brown or russet and the size of a pea. Birds love it though, and since it clings to the branches into winter, it helps feed wildlife when little else is available.
Chanticleer pear trees grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. If you want to start growing Chanticleer pear trees, pick a planting location in full sun. The tree requires at least six hours of direct sun to thrive.
These pears are not picky about soil. They accept acidic or alkaline soil, and grow in loam, sand, or clay. While the tree prefers moist soil, it is somewhat tolerant of drought. Irrigate regularly though for the healthiest trees, especially in extreme heat.
This lovely little pear tree is not completely free of problems. Chanticleer pear issues include a susceptibility to limb breakage in winter. Its branches can split as a result of winter wind, snow, or ice. A more pressing Chanticleer pear issue is the tree’s tendency to escape from cultivation and invade wild spaces in some regions. Although some cultivars of Callery pear trees are sterile, like ‘Bradford,’ viable seed can result from crossing of Callery cultivars.
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Read more about Ornamental Pear
Considered a small tree, growing from 25 to 40 feet tall and up to 16 feet wide, the Cleveland select pear tree (Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer') works well as an ornamental pear in home gardens or on the street. Of course, as an ornamental, it doesn't provide you with any fruit. That said, there are a number of pros and cons to consider if you decide to grow the Cleveland select. Also called capital callery, callery or 'Chanticleer,' Cleveland select grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Choosing a site for this tree should allow for its mature height of at least thirty feet tall and twenty feet wide. The canopy tends to grow in a upright narrow shape, and can get quite cluttered unless pruned regularly, so avoid planting near electrical wiring or too close to a structure. It is also susceptible to ice damage, so avoid planting near drainage pipes or other spots, such as next to eaves, roofs or gutters, where water run off could be an issue. Despite having been wildly popular for several decades as an urban landscape specimen, many cities now discourage planting this tree in highly-visible areas. Some orchardists use this tree as grafting stock for edible pear varieties such as Bosc or Comice pears, so it can be an inexpensive option for starting a small pear orchard if you have some grafts of pear trees available.
The major problem with the ‘Bradford’ Callery pear has been too many upright branches growing too closely together on the trunk. This leads to excessive breakage. Use the recommended cultivars above for better landscape management.
Flowering Pear Trees all belong to the botanical species Pyrus calleryana. This tree is commonly called the Callery Pear and grows naturally in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Seed of this plant was collected by the famous American plant collector Meyer. Meyer worked for the US Department of Agriculture as an ‘agricultural plant explorer’ and he spend many years, mostly in China, collecting plants to test their usefulness for agriculture in America.
In 1918 Meyer sent seeds he had collected in eastern China to the US Plant Introduction Station in Glen Dale, Maryland and the staff there grew seedlings of this tree. One particularly attractive plant, which lacked the sharp, thorn-like shoots of the wild species, was selected for its prolific blossoms and became the Bradford Pear described earlier. As first this tree was also used to form the root system of fruiting pears, but it was eventually recognized for its ornamental value and became a popular tree.
To get the maximum growth-rate from your young tree, you should apply a tree fertilizer each spring, or more frequently if you are using liquid fertilizers. Keep the area around the base of the tree free of grass or weeds by applying thick mulch. Be careful with string trimmers as the bark is thin on young trees and easily damaged. The only pruning needed is to remove broken or crossed branches and to remove lower branches as needed to keep the crown high enough for any clearance needed. If any shoots appear at the base of the tree these should be removed immediately.