Planning an experiment with Callery rootstock

Clark has inspired me. I have decided to plan an experiment with Callery rootstock. My goal is to create pears that can survive in very heavy clay rocky soil. I have about a quarter acre on my property that has this type of soil. It seems more experimentation has been done with Callery on wet heavy soils but these will be tested on very dry soil. This is my plan and my goals. Please comment.

  1. I plan to start my selection by looking for Callery pears growing in similar soil, digging them up and planting on my property. I’m doing this because it’s likely that different Callery pears have different genetics.
  2. I will attempt to use an interstem that is compatible with Callery and most or all European and asian pears.
  3. A bonus will be an interstem that increases the likelihood of early bearing\
  4. Another bonus may be to use interstem then graft winter banana, then apple varieties.

I would like recommendations for inter stems. So far I am considering Douglass and/or Pyro 2-33. Any other ideas are welcome.

I’m hoping to get lots of input


It’s clay and rock here and callery love it. I don’t think you need an interstem. Asians are going to fruit fast even on callery. Euro will take longer based on the variety. I’m a fan of callery. From what I’ve seen standard rootstocks are far superior to dwarfing.

Plus callery are often free.


The places I usually see callery growing wild around here are shallow rocky/sandy, very dry soils. So I think they can handle most conditions.


They are everywhere here. I’d say they are pretty tough.



If your soil is really bad you might let the callery grow an extra year or two after you transplant them. Some states dont allow additional callery to be planted but 50% or more of the rootstocks under fruiting pears are likely callery. BET trees are very good as well. This is a good thread to review on grafting them over later

Today is September 3rd and the trees look great. Would love to prune but fireblight was bad this year so im avoiding pruning until the weather gets colder. These trees are close together since the soil is very poor in this location. Do you believe this soil would not grow grass when i came here. The spot was bare for years until i dug it out and put chicken house manure and hay in the spot multiple times. Each time i added weeds or manure the soil got better. Never went over 3 and a half feet deep because literally a pick was needed just to do that. Eventually the location could grow rye then tomatoes and now can grow fruit trees.

So my question then, is, if you graft a wild Callery in place, is it then legal to plant it?


They still sold them here until recent years. Many of the state offices, housing developments, residential yards, miltary properties, city properties and federal properties have callery. Here is the current stance dont plant more but they are here Callery Pear

“While callery pear continues to be a reliable and aesthetic performer in the landscape, the threat of invasiveness likely outweighs the benefits of continued planting of this species”

The thing is most of the pears for about a 25 year period have callery as roots from many nurseries. Most callery are in peoples yards and there are thousands but they are not grafted over but should be. Like @Richard said even in California there are still ornamental callery in place many of which are on the property maintained by local goverments. The most recent documentation callery are added to the dont plant list. The pears to plant now are BET as they seem to be less problematic and very hardy.

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But that’s what I was implying. If you graft it, the birds won’t spread it. I’m betting Callery rootstocks still end up being sold at big box stores every day in places they aren’t supposed to be sold.

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Bet your right many nurseries use them if they gurantee their fruit trees.


How is your experiment going?

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I never got around to it this year. All the callers pears on my property are too big to dig up. Also, I have read that winter banana is only compatible for so long.

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Would it be possible to graft on the top of one of the large ones? I have seen a couple threads where it was done. One of my favorites is @ClothAnnie’s tree in this thread: Wild callery pear rootstocks - #119 by ClothAnnie.

I also saw a mention of someone who cut one down to purposely create suckers to graft on to the next year. His bark grafts didn’t work and that tree was huge. I don’t know if that’s even a good idea, but I kind of want to try it. I have a few VERY VERY large Callery pear at my house.

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Yes it can be done Favor for a friend - Top working callery Pears!

I’m afraid my problem is a bit larger.

Here is one tree (then a second mystery tree below)

You can see that large limbs have broken off and it it kind of has 3 trunks and one is badly damaged. I’m a bit scared to cut it down, since I think it will just send up shoots everywhere and it’s right by my driveway.

And here are some pictures of the trunk:

I also have this other one, which is huge and a bit confusing. It was clearly planted on purpose but was probably one of the very first the previous owners planted (it is in a row with other fruit trees and it has a tire around the base).

Here is what I know about it:

  • It could have been planted anytime after 1975
  • It bloomed at the same time as other pears, not early like the callery
  • It’s foliage is more mint colored than the other pears
  • It’s so tall I had to get on a ladder to look at the flowers
  • It doesn’t have fruit on it that I can see, but when it did look like it might have fruit, they looked small.
  • the bark and crazy trunk remind me of a callery pear

I plan to take the tire off both to stop it from strangling the tree and to try and figure out how old the tire is since that will give me a better idea about how old the tree is! The markings on the part of the tire I can see are no help.


on a ladder some of the branches:

I’d love any ideas of what to do with either of these!! I feel like both will have problems at some point because of their size and location. First is by my driveway, Second is near house (Close enough so branches could easily hit my house or fall on it in a windstorm). Other fruit trees there are not a problem since they are shorter.