Pyrus salicifolia 'Silver Frost'
Common Name: willowleaf pear
Type: Tree
Family: Rosaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Grow in average, moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions including heavy clay. Established trees tolerate some drought. Prefers cool summer climates, and generally will not perform well south of USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pyrus salicifolia is a small, spreading, deciduous pear with willow-like, narrow, silver-gray leaves, hence the common name of willowleaf pear. It typically grows to 15-25' tall with an oval-rounded habit punctuated by attractive drooping branches. Twigs are often thorny. This tree is native to woodlands, rocky plains, and hillsides in southeastern Europe and the Middle East. Lance-shaped to elliptic leaves (each to 3 1/2" long and to 3/4" wide) emerge silver gray in spring, but gradually turn silvery-green as the growing season progresses. Cream to greenish-white 5-petaled flowers (each to 3/4" diameter) bloom in corymbs (6-8 flowers per corymb) in spring. Flowers are followed by pear-shaped fruits (each to 1 1/4" long) which initially appear green but ripen to brown. Fruit is often sparsely produced. Fruit is of little ornamental significance and is basically inedible.

Genus name comes from the Latin name.

Specific epithet comes from Salix (willow genus) and folia meaning leaf.

'Silver Frost' is a weeping form that is very similar to P. salicifolia 'Pendula' and may in fact be identical.

Problems

Susceptible to fireblight which can be a major problem, particularly in southern areas with warm and humid summers. Additional potential disease problems include anthracnose, canker, scab and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include aphids, blister mites, caterpillars and scale.

'Silver Frost' is very susceptible to fireblight.

Garden Uses

Group or specimen. Early spring flowers, silvery foliage and attractive form lend year-round interest.