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How to Plant Ornamental Pear Trees

Man in orchard
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Tip

If you are planting a smaller tree, you might want to consider staking it for at least the first year. It is not necessary to fertilize the tree upon planting but after a couple of weeks feel free to apply some fertilizer. Your local garden center can suggest the best fertilizer for your situation.

Warning

Avoid planting ornamental pear trees on hot, dry days because it can stress them and hinder their establishment.

The ornamental pear tree (Pyrus calleryana) is an excellent tree with an abundance of different uses in the landscape. The beautiful white flowers that cover the tree in spring and its smaller growth habit make it a tree that is both charming and manageable. Several cultivars of ornamental pear exist; regardless of cultivar, the planting process is the same.

Choose a spot that gets a full six to eight hours of sun. Partial shade areas are acceptable but not ideal.

Dig a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the tree’s current root structure. It is important not to plant the tree to deep as this can lead to a laundry list of problems.

Amend the soil if necessary. Ornamental pears are tolerant of sandy, loamy and clay soil but they do prefer a moist environment with a fair amount of organic materials. Add sphagnum peat moss to sandy soil to increase water retention. Add wood chips to clay soil to increase permeability. Add compost to the soil to increase the level of nutrients in the soil.

Remove the nursery pot from the tree and loosen the roots by lightly scoring them with your shovel and separating them with your hand. If you are planting a tree that is balled and burlapped, cut the string holding the metal cage together and remove the metal cage (if there is one). Next, pull the burlap back from the top of the root ball.

Place the tree into the hole and begin backfilling the hole with soil. Again, make sure not to place a lot, if any, soil on top of the root ball as this is likely to cause root problems.

Press the soil around the plant and cover the planting with mulch. Do not to put mulch within 4 to 6 inches of the base of the tree.

Water the tree. Using a weaker stream for a longer period is a better way to water because it allows the water to permeate deep into the soil.

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