How to Trim Cleveland Pear Trees


The Cleveland pear (Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer) grows in hardiness zones 5 to 8 and produces white flowers in the springtime. The tree grows upward in a pyramidal shape and can reach 25 to 35 feet in height. Prune Cleveland pear trees late in the spring, once their flowers have passed for the season. Pruning earlier reduces the display of blossoms. Pruning keeps the tree healthy by increasing air circulation and removing unhealthy or dead wood.

Step 1

Identify dead, diseased or damaged branches on the Cleveland pear tree. Dead branches feel hollow and don't move in the wind. Diseased or damaged branches are wounded, scarred, discolored or distorted with growths. Removing this wood keeps the ornamental pear tree healthy.

Step 2

Cut off dead, diseased or damaged limbs at their base or prune them back to a healthy lateral branch. Use anvil pruners for thin cuts and lopping shears for those thicker than 3/4 inch. In between cuts, spray your pruning tools with disinfectant spray so you don't accidentally contaminate healthy wood.

Step 3

Trim back the tips of long branches using anvil pruners to keep the tree compact, if you want.

Step 4

Remove branches that crisscross other branches or those that grow downward by cutting them off at the base. Also trim off thin branches growing vertically up from limbs, since this casts shade and reduces air circulation.

Step 5

Thin the canopy by removing up to 1/3 of the old growth wood. Identify wood that produces few to no blooms when your Cleveland pear is blooming and target these branches for removal when you prune.

Things You'll Need

  • Anvil pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Disinfectant spray


  • Arbor Day: Chanticleer Pear
  • Purdue University: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: ornamental pear tree, Cleveland pear tree, prune Cleveland pear

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.