May 2003
Plant of the Month
Korean Sun Pear
( Pyrus fauriei ‘Westwood’)
zone: 4
by Paul Pike

Today, more than ever, space is becoming of primary importance when considering what type of tree is needed for a particular area. There will always be the need for larger type shade trees such as linden, oak, maple, and ash. However, finding the right tree for the right spot can be somewhat difficult. The tree for the smaller yard and or one that will grow under utility lines without heavy pruning is what is being asked for and required.
One group of trees that has been planted for the last several years is the Ornamental Pear or Pyrus calleryana. The varieties Autumn Blaze, Aristocrat, Red Spire and Chanticleer, to name a few, have been planted extensively across the country. However, Pyrus calleryana cultivars are not reliably hardy in Zone 4. Another less known species of pear that was introduced into the United States from Korea in the early 1900’s was Pyrus fauriei or Korean Pea Pear. The Pyrus fauriei selections have often been confused with the Pyrus calleryana varieties.
The true Pyrus fauriei differs from the Pyrus calleryana in several areas. In the spring Pyrus fauriei leafs out before flowering. The white flowers appear in late spring and are smaller and fewer per cluster. The Korean Pea Pear has a broad, upright growth habit, is non-thorny and defoliates much earlier in the fall than Pyrus calleryana. Its mature size is approximately 20’ tall and wide or slightly larger. It is also hardy to Zone 4 (-30 F) and has excellent tolerance to fire blight.
Although Pyrus fauriei cultivars are limited and not as well known in the trade as Pyrus calleryana cultivars, they can be an excellent choice for those areas requiring smaller trees. A recent Pyrus fauriei introduction, Korean Sun (Pyrus fauriei ‘Westwood’) grows approximately 12-15’ tall by 15’ wide and has a compact, rounded shape. It is hardy to Zone 4 (-30 F) and has brilliant fall color. As its name suggests, when at its peak fall color, the show it puts on reminds one of a bright reddish-orange sunset. This variety should be considered when your needs require something different or smaller than the norm. Plant a single tree or a group of trees for that special space.

Paul Pike
Sargent's Landscape Nursery, Inc.

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