Cleveland Pear Tree
The Cleveland Pear Tree - A Perfect Tree?
To call a Cleveland pear tree a perfect tree is of course an exaggeration. In fact, it you're looking for the perfect pear, the Cleveland pear tree will disappoint, as there isn't such a thing as a Cleveland pear. This is a flowering pear tree, which does not set fruit. What is perfect about it, or nearly so, is its shape. This rather stately tree grows in a nice symmetrical shape, and forms a near-perfect oval. Although it will respond well to pruning, it's one of those rare trees that in many instances is better left alone. It does its thing, and is thing of beauty because of that.
Why It's Popular - The popularity of the Cleveland pear tree isn't only because of its attractive growing habit and shape. Of the several varieties of flowering pear trees, the Cleveland is one of the strongest and sturdiest. Some of the others have weak or brittle branches. It can be a traumatic experience to grow a large flowering tree, only to have it loose a number of its branches in an ice storm. The Cleveland pair has become an ornamental tree of choice because of its ability to withstand snow, wind, and ice storms reasonably successfully. Part of it is due to the strength of the wood, and part is dues to the shape of the tree, and the direction the branches grow. Branches are much less apt to collect snow and ice or to be whipped by the wind, and even when this is the case, they are much stronger than other species or varieties.
Culture - The Cleveland pear is hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 8. It grows fairly rapidly, 6 feet or so a year, eventually reaching its typical height of 30 to 40 feet. It has a spread of around 25 feet, making it an ideal ornamental and shade tree for a medium sized yard. This tree will do well either in full sun or partial shade. It's not terribly picky about the soil it is placed in, but a well drained soil is always a plus. In addition, like most trees, it needs regular watering and good drainage during its first few years. Once established, it is fairly drought tolerant.
Early Show And Late Show - The Cleveland pear tree has more to offer than a spring explosion of white blossoms. In the fall, the deep green leaves turn to a deep scarlet red before dropping off. In terms of shape and color it is a great, low maintenance, and long lasting landscaping tree.
Minimal Pruning Needed -The Cleveland pear may need a little pruning initially, especially if the young tree starts growing more than one central leader. One wants only a single central leader, or the mature tree will be much weaker as far as the potential for wind damage or branch breakage is concerned. In addition, as the tree is growing, there may be instances where the density of branches becomes too great, resulting in the tree being unable to adequately support the weight of the branches. Most trees won't exhibit this problem, but occasionally one does.
About the only other pruning that might be required is if it's desired to maintain the tree at a certain height below its normal 30 foot growth habit. It can easily be topped off as needed. One only needs to be a little careful while pruning to preserve the tree's nice natural shape. As far as actually shaping the tree is concerned, little or no pruning will be required.
Don't be too unhappy if this beautiful type of tree doesn't bear fruit. Its purpose in life is clearly as an ornamental. If it's any solace, the leaves are somewhat pear shaped, though likely not edible.