GardenArt’s Plant of the Week (to avoid):
Callery Pear – Pyrus calleryana Aristocrat & Pyrus calleryana Cleveland Select (various cultivars of Callery Pear)
Prized for its uniform habit, heavy white blooms, dark glossy green foliage during the growing season, and reliable red-orange fall color, cultivars of Callery Pear such as Bradford, Aristocrat and Cleveland Select (shown above in flower) have been heavily planted over the past 20 years.
While Bradford fell out of favor in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s due to a branching habit that is susceptible to serious damage from ice or snow loads, other cultivars continued to be planted extensively.
Over the past five years, it has become evident Callery Pear cultivars have produced viable seed and become invasive. A local example is the vacant lot on US 52 W between the MED Institute office (the former Great Lakes headquarters) and Applebee’s. The multi-acre tract is covered with Callery Pear, most in flower as of mid-April.
The above image, taken in the fall of 2012 in a vacant commercial lot in West Lafayette, is a good example of seedlings showing fall color.
Until seedless cultivars of Callery Pear are developed, this is a tree that should not be planted despite the many desirable ornamental characteristics.
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