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The difficulty with them here is twofold: first, some appear to be affected by a blight which turns their branches brown/dead, but most of all, their branch and root structure is such that they have a tendency to blow down in wind storms. I had one go down to about 45 degrees after a "downdraft" event in my neighborhood (which also downed large magnolias and oaks). My tree man was able to pull it back to the vertical, tying it securely by chain to a steel post set in concrete. Had I to do it over again, I don't think I'd do this. I've not been troubled by suckering, but I know the tree is vulnerable to hurricane winds. I'm surprised it didn't go down in Ike, probably prevented by the steel post/concrete/cabling. I noticed a lot of Bradford pears were blown over by Ike. I don't think this tree is a good choice for the Gulf Coast.
I, too, live in coastal Texas and lost a tree from mini-tornadoes during Ike. Although it was a 35-foot Hackberry tree that took the "dirt nap", I am happy to say my then 5-foot Bradford Pear did not break. I wish I would have subscribed to Dave's Garden before buying the Bradford because I'd have planted something else. I am not seeing any suckers so far but will dread the day the first one shows up. It sounds like a common characteristic for the Bradford, but do you know if the Cleveland Select Pear does the same? I have lost 4 trees in the 6 years I've lived ten miles inland from the Gulf, to root-rot. I wonder if certain trees here just can't handle the constant shift of this "gumbo" soil. It's either feast or famine when it comes to rainfall in this part of the South, so I assume the movement between almost arid soil and soggy soil make the difference...hmmm!
Justene, Cleveland Select sounds tasty for sure, however with the frequent storms you have to weigh it out, and choose it's location carefully. My bro has a couple Common Pear trees in his back yard and they produce some great pears. Very firm, crisp and sweet. This year they have taken on a blight or something from stressful weather conditions, but they are rather old. Still they served their space well while they've lasted. Maybe if they decide to just prune them back good and collect all the infected bits, they could recover next spring. Either way it takes a lot of work to keep them here in North TX too.
A good site to select native plants is http://www.npot.org.
I live in Katy, Tx. My Bradford Pear was taken out by Hurricane Ike. It was snapped off at about three feet and left a jagged stump. I did not bother with it and it started growing from the stump. It is now over twenty feet tall. It does sucker and the Q-Tip shape doesn't give great shade. I will take it out this winter and replace it with something that gives better shade.