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Scientific: Pyrus kawakamii
Common: Chinese evergreen pear
Family: Rosaceae
Origin: China, Japan

Pronounciation: PIE-rus cow-a-KAM-ee-i

Hardiness zones
8, 9, 12-24
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Specimen, accent, oriental planting, mesic landscape design themes plantings.

Form & Character: Irregular, spreading and open, assymetrical, unruly, oriental.

Growth Habit: Semi-evergreen, woody, broadleaf perennial small tree, slow to moderate to 30 feet with an equal to greater and irregular spread.

Foliage/Texture: Medium green, ovate leaves tapering to an acute tip with serrate margins; medium texture.

Flowers & Fruits: White perfect flowers followed by small bronze large pea sized fruit, not edible.

Seasonal Color: White flowers in late winter to early spring as new leaves appear, early winter foliage is orange to red.

Temperature: Chinese evergreen pear is NOT tolerant of Phoenix summer temperatures in conjunction with direct solar radiation, sun scald on south and western portions of trunk is a common occurrence. The reality is that Chinese evergreen pear is much better suited to grow in the bright lights of Hollywood.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Alkaline soils, especially those that are chronically wet such as in and around lawns, will induce foliar iron chlorosis (yellowing caused by a lack of available iron).

Watering: In Phoenix, Chinese evergreen pear needs regular water, especially during summer.

Pruning: Because of the complex fractal geometry of its branching habit and asymmetrical form, Chinese evergreen pear may need a lot of intensive and corrective pruning if one desires to have a rounded, symmetrical shape. In any event, it's best to allow the canopy foliage to spread as broad and hang as low as possible to protect the trunk from direct sunlight, and never thin the canopy severely in summer. Occasionally, Chinese evergreen pear will produce Epicormic root, basal, trunk and lower stem epicormic shoots (suckers or water sprouts and root suckers) that should be removed.

Propagation: Most are grafted, sometimes softwood cuttings.

Disease and Pests: Fireblight (bacterial disease) and aphids are more common in more moist climates such as along the California coast. In drier Arizona, these pest and disease problems are relatively rare.

Additional comments: Chinese evergreen pear is best suited for eastern and northern exposures in Phoenix. Giving it protection from western sun is imperative. Once properly trained, it can be a handsome, small-scale, mesic landscape tree; that is if it first doesn't fry in the summer heat or yellow because of our high pH soils!

A special note to the wise: If Chinese evergreen pear is planted in an open landscape area, it's best to have it surrounded by a lot of 'greenery', e.g. turf, other vegetation, and not around impervious, heat reflecting surfaces.