The Q&A Archives: Seeking The Perfect Tree

Questioner's Location: Pittsburg, CA
Date: August 4, 1998

Question: We live in a townhouse with a 25 by 27 backyard and are looking for a wind resistant, umbrella shaped tree. Ideally it would mature at 20' tall with a 16' diameter. Because of the smallness of the yard the roots would have to be non-intrusive and litter would be a factor. We've been considering Fruitless Pears, they seem to do well in the area, but have no idea which variety if any would suit our needs.

Answer: Pyrus kawakamii, the evergreen ornamental pear would suit your needs quite well. It's well-behaved with gloss, oval, pointed leaves and slucters of white flowers in the winter and early spring. It sometimes produces a fruit or two, but they're inedible. The tree is tolerant of many soils and is relatively problem-free, but is susceptible to fire-blight. If you have pyracantha growing in your yard it could be a source of infection for the ornamental pear.

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