I have to come to the defense of the Bradford Pear tree. I live in N. Florida and have one in my yard. For starters, this is one of the VERY few trees that give us Floridians ANY kind of color show in the fall, and for that alone I love it. I have no idea where people get the idea that it stinks in the spring- my neighbor has probably 50 or more of these surrounding his property and I have never smelled a foul odor coming from them. Regarding splitting, I have had no such experience with mine. It needs pruning like any tree, and maybe splitting happens when they are not cared for. Obviously we don't have the issue of ice weight in Florida, but we do have hurricanes, and let me tell you, the native oaks are the first trees to fall in a storm. It is true that they have shallow roots- but that's about the only negative in my experience. We have lived in this house for 10 1/2 years and the tree was well established when we moved here, so it could be 15-20 years old. By the way, I don't know why every tree isn't an "invasive species". All plants have to propagate naturally, or this world would have some problems. Back to the native oaks, I can hardly control THEM in my yard...if I didn't mow, there would be about as much baby oaks as grass, and where I can't mow (under bushes,etc.), it is a constant battle to keep them out.
Your native oaks aren't considered invasive because they're supposed to be in your area. The Bradford pear however, isn't supposed to be there, or anywhere in the US. That's the difference. They out compete native flora in natural settings.The Bradford Pear was supposed to be sterile. It's not. It gets little "pears" on it. We lived in TN for a short time. In the spring, I noticed something blooming white in the mountains. I asked at the nursery, expecting to hear that it was serviceberry or something of that nature. Instead I was told they were all Bradford Pears. I was able to hike up into the woods and get a look myself. It was indeed the Bradford Pear. Everywhere.
My parents had one. They'd had it for about 19 yrs, I would guess. Thank goodness they had no takers for the little pears because they live surrounded by timber. Anyway, a month back, we had 70 mph winds and it split the Bradford Pear. It was taken care of. Always pruned up, very well taken care of. It still split.
BUT, you can like it. I don't like it, but you can :)
Terryr, You had me at, "..they out compete native flora in natural settings". Sure, some natives take more work, but plucking up germinated acorns after a good rain can be good exercise, or something for kids to do for fun or a little cash.
Most people just can not grasp the impact of preferring large amounts of non-natives. It's the grandchildren who get to deal with the real and extensive fallout.