The Evergreen Pear Tree (Pyrus kawakamii) is prized for its beautiful winter color. It grows moderately from fifteen to thirty feet high with an equal but irregular spread. It has dark green, glossy, oval-shaped leaves with pointed tips and a smooth texture. In late December and January, the foliage turns a beautiful orange-red color. As its leaves drop off, this tree becomes deciduous for a short time. Nevertheless, it is one of the first trees to bloom each year. Around mid February, the evergreen pear tree produces an amazing display of brilliant white, fragrant blossoms. These showy flower clusters have a pungent odor that attracts birds, butterflies and bees. After flowering, it produces pea-sized, bronze colored fruit which is rarely seen and is not edible. Native to the island of Taiwan, the evergreen pear tree adds colorful interest to landscapes here in the desert southwest.
The Evergreen Pear Tree likes plenty of sunlight, but it is best suited for eastern and northern exposures in Arizona. Sun scald may occur on its trunk, when it is fully exposed to intense southern or western sunlight. This tree grows best in deep sandy or clay soils with good drainage. The evergreen pear tree requires a fair amount of watering. Follow a regular irrigation schedule for the first 3 years to establish a deep, extensive root system. Water this tree deeply every week for the first two years. Water it twice a month the third year. After this tree becomes fully established, watering frequency may be reduced. Very alkaline soils, especially those that are always wet, will promote foliar iron chlorosis (yellowing of foliage due to iron deficiency). Add iron chelate to the soil, if signs of iron deficiency occur. Young trees require staking and corrective pruning in order to achieve an upright, symmetrical form. Prune the evergreen pear tree in late spring after flowering. Be careful not to over-prune or thin the canopy too much. Apply a slow-release fertilizer or ammonium phosphate in the spring to fortify the soil and promote healthy growth.