The Q&A Archives: Ornamental Pear Tree

Question: We are thinking about planting an ornamental pear tree in the garden in front of our house. The garden faces south and gets full sun throughout the day. The area is only about three feet wide and five feet long. On one side is a concrete wall and on the other is the walk way to our front door. Is this an okay place to plant this tree or is it too small an area. We're worried that the roots may eventually crack our walk way, or that the tree will be too crowded and die. What advice can you give us?

Answer: The site you describe might be a bit cramped for an ornamental pear tree. Pyrus betulifolia has a pyramidal shape and will grow 15'-30' tall with arching branches. It's the smallest of the ornamental pears. You might be happier with one of the so-called patio trees. These are generally well behaved, small in stature, and without invasive roots. Many provide autumn leaf color or spring bloom. Some suggestions include Acer circinatum (vine maple), Chionanthus (fringe tree), Crepe Myrtle or one of the smaller hawthorns. You might even consider training a camellia or holly into a tree form.

Hope one of these suggestions fits the spot!

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