Trimming and placement of trees

Asked September 26, 2013, 1:44 PM EDT

I have a Cleveland pear tree that was just planted in spring only three feet from my house front. Can I trim the branches or top of tree when it starts to interfere with my house. I was told by our landscaper that it would not be a problem and I can shape tree. I was told by my tree service that Cleveland pears should not be trimmed from branches or top. A better choice of tree would be a service berry since they can be shaped and trimmed. What is the answer to these mixed messages?. How far from my home should the Cleveland pear be so that it doesn't interfere with house front?

Wayne County Michigan trees and shrubs

4 Responses

There is a saying, "Right Plant, Right Place". This is not the right plant for this space.

Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select will grow to about 35 feet high and 16 feet wide in 15 years. To place this tree only 3 feet from the house and expect to prune it to fit the space is unrealistic. . Placing it 16 feet or more from the house would be better.

To prune this tree to the extent that it would require to keep it in this location would be detrimental to the tree. Pruning would be required every year as the tree continues to grow. Your tree service is giving you correct information. This is not a good location for this tree and moving it to another location in your yard is a good option.

Even a serviceberry placed that close to the house will require a fair amount of proper pruning to keep it the size you seem to be looking for. It will look a bit off because the back side of it will need to be almost flat while the rest grows away from the house.

Your tree service seems to be giving you the better information. You might ask if there is another choice and exactly how much pruning will be required for that selection versus the serviceberry and which will perform best in that location. There are very few spring blooming shrubs that grow that upright and narrow.

If this plant is going into a landscape bed, consider making the bed larger to accommodate a broader choice of shrubs.

Good luck.

Thank you for your expertise. I also was told by my tree service that the trees were planted incorrectly. He told me that the tree should be above the ground by at least 20% of the height of the root bulb size. Is this also true? My tree service expert is a msu arborist graduate.!!!

The need to plant high (the root ball higher than the normal, surrounding soil level) is determined by the type of soil you have or if there is poor drainage in that area. Typically one would plant 'high' in compacted or clay soil.

It is very possible that your tree was planted too deep. Optimum is to have the root flare, where the roots start and the trunk ends, at ground level, not below. More often than not trees are planted too deep. The 20% your tree service guy is talking about may be taking into account some settling after planting.

Again, it sounds like you are receiving good information from him.

Here is an article on proper tree planting for your reference.

Thank you once more. I do live in an area where my ground is clay mostly clay.