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Article: Bradford Pear Tree (To plant or not to plant): New Start

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Forum: Article: Bradford Pear Tree (To plant or not to plant)Replies: 15, Views: 129
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Desoto, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 14, 2007
1:29 PM

Post #4081190

Ironic that you should give this information today. In the last 2 weeks we have had 2 fruitless mulberrys taken down. Planted them in 1967 as a switch knowing that the life span was predicted to be 20 years. They have been wonderful shade trees for these 40 years. We have been planting pecan, live oak, red oak, and crepe myrtle to take their place. They were half dead and very scraggly this year. Now we face a very different landscape of mostly sun that we haven't had since the very beginning.

Time for a new plan.

Thank you for a very informative article.


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Southeast, NE
(Zone 5a)

October 14, 2007
3:14 PM

Post #4081476

We were given a Bradford as a wedding gift. DH wanted to plant it under the power lines. Sigh.
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 14, 2007
5:17 PM

Post #4081840

Sigh indeed Glory... Yikes...under power lines!!
Now you're on another level.. and that is the sentimental gift level. I have another 'Thug" that is the Chinese privet. My SIL gave it to me when we moved here about 1 years ago. I planted it in the corner of the back yard. Which turns out to be the perfect place for it today. Who'd a thought?
Yes, it is invasive as all get out, and yes it kinda stinks... But the blooms in spring, (though nauseating), attract every butterfly within 10 miles of here. In March it was covered with Red Admirals and all of the other early brushfoot butterflies. This privet is a rare exception. Maybe because it was a gift from a sister I love dearly, and that over-rides a lot. In the right spot I suppose anything can work out perfectly if love brought it there.

Which brings me to my reply to Christi.. What I did in back with all that sunny space was something for a future article to go into any depth about. I will tell you that it couldn't have all come together better if I'd have planned it out. Besides I'm not that patient.. LOL. I sure know who is though.. His eye was all over this turn of events for me. Planting all the butterfly plants was perfect for the sunny open space left in the wake of all the B Pear perils.
I have to pull up suckers all through my beds. I also have a time with another one... Silver Maple.. which makes little saplings all over the place.
How could I have known to plan this whole thing? This situation with the fruitless pears has brought so much more than sunlight, so many different forms of enlightenment.

Thank you for reading and responding y'all!

Desoto, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 14, 2007
5:52 PM

Post #4081955

Looking forward to more fun with Deb. See ya at the RU.
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 14, 2007
5:56 PM

Post #4081970

Awe.. Same here Christi!!

Isabella, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 23, 2007
7:29 PM

Post #4115315

Just read your interesting article about the Bradford Pear, A few years ago on one of the locally produced TV shows, there was an expert from one of the gardening centers talking about Bradford Pear trees. He didn't have anything good to say about them, either, other than they are pretty when they flower in the Spring. He recommended the Chanticleer Pear tree, instead. Have you ever heard of the Chanticleer? Since watching that TV show, I have been noticing the Bradford Pears which are planted about the area and without exception, as they get bigger they start splitting in the middle. It's such a shame that all the nurseries in our central Arkansas area push the Bradford Pear.
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 24, 2007
1:12 PM

Post #4117857

Yes marsue,
I was thumbing through a well known "texas gardening expert" book the other day and he recommended the B pear too.. My heart just sank with how he must feel now after misleading so many people..

New York, NY
(Zone 7a)

October 28, 2007
1:05 AM

Post #4130515

It appears, from a quick Googling, that Chanticleer is the name of a newer variety of Callery pear I've noticed replacing the Bradford in initial plantings over the last few years. If you computer-simulated the growth pattern of a Bradford pear, then turned the "pointiness" dial a good bit to the right, you'd be looking at a Chanticleer. Branching angles are more acute at every level from the largest limbs to the twigs, giving the tree an upright, pyramidal look. Even the leaves are longer and distinctly pointed at the ends, rather than oval-to-round. The idea is that the narrow crotch angles are less vulnerable to wind damage, making the Chanticleer resistant to splitting. So far, apparently, so good. Will it stand the test of time? I guess we'll watch those urban and suburban plantings and find out.

I liked this article a lot -- I also think the fall foliage is the Bradford's best feature. The flowers are pretty, but the lack of perfume is disappointing, though I've never smelled pear blossom of any variety that was any different -- do some smell more like apple blossom than privet? Cherry blossom is often scentless too. And I don't mind the lack of edible fruit, because a large-fruited pear is never going to be a street tree, sweet as the smell of fallen ripe pears may be.

Isabella, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 28, 2007
10:36 PM

Post #4133133

Thanks for the info about the Chanticleer Pear, Dawn. I'll have to see if I can find that same info on google and look at it for myself. Everybody, but everybody, in the central Arkansas area has planted Bradford pears in their yards. It would seem that they have all been brainwashed! :o(
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 28, 2007
11:30 PM

Post #4133325

Thanks Dawn!
Yep there is a variety that might be a stronger plant, but somehow the one that people find available is not the Chanticleer. The article was mainly a heads-up on what happened to us and many of our neighbors. Builders put these trees into sub-divisions often, and the contractor is long gone by the time people have issues with the trees.
As far as the blossoms.. Pear blossoms on fruiting pear trees smell heavenly!

It all depends on one's objectives in the garden. Some folks want fruitless trees because they are less messy. Some folks want the function of the plant or tree and the aesthetics are an afterthought. A bonus if the plant is beautiful as well.

Marsue, Many of the gardening guides will recommend the BP as a good one to plant... Guess they feel that changing their mind would cause a lot of the books they've published to be re-written. As if they made some mistake. I, on the other hand, feel that something can only be a mistake if one refuses to correct it. Change is one thing we can count on, why not work it to the best advantage?

It certainly does appear some brainwashing has gone on, maybe bc people let others do their thinking and research for them instead of doing it for themselves.


Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

October 31, 2007
2:47 PM

Post #4143062

At our former residence, the developer had created a master planting scheme that involved 2 or 3 'Bradford' pears in the front of every home. We were there for only 3 years after building that home, and when we moved, I wasn't aware of the myriad of problems associated with Bradfords. I did know that their blooms are first big whiff of a Bradford tree in bloom sent me looking for the dead animal I was sure was putrefying somewhere nearby! More seriously, I've developed an acute sensitivity to Bradfords, and my allergies kick into overdrive for the 2-3 weeks they're in bloom.

Our neighbor lost a large Bradford pear a few years ago when a storm caused a large limb sail through a bedroom window and tear off the corner of his house.

We had one Bradford in the backyard of this home (courtesy of the former owners.) After that storm and a few years of annual allergic reactions, we decided to remove ours. We're still dealing with suckers, but at least the tree is down and I can walk in my backyard in the spring without being severely medicated!
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 1, 2007
1:11 PM

Post #4146373

I hear you Terry!

With so many people recommending them, I thought it was important to bring out what we have learned. Eventually we might get the word out, and save people a lot of trouble.

Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 5, 2009
2:21 PM

Post #6224395

Better late than never. I just read this and agree with everything. They were planted in our neighborhood and are slowly being replaced (or not) as they split/fall down.
Mount Vernon, KY

September 8, 2010
4:59 PM

Post #8087947

If you have them, given as a gift, and you have to do something with them - putting them under power lines is your best bet.

The power company will come out and cut them down for you.

Isn't that just an awful thing to say!
But it is true!
Columbia City, IN

September 8, 2010
5:49 PM

Post #8088020

A lot of contractors in our area have used the Bradley Pear to advantage. They are beautiful when young, good form factor and perfect for selling homes and growing fast to give a good subdivision appearance. But like older silver maples, doom and destruction begins about year 8 with a good wind the splitting is enormous. A neighbor lost about 50% of some 10 year old trees this last spring under moderate wind, the rest are a bit wooly.

I ran across a Bartlett? pear years ago about 80-100 feet high, very old tree that smelled great in springtime but resembled a tall red maple or tall walnut growth pattern. Prolific bearer and a bit dangerous in the fall because of height. I really would like to find some stock or seed of a similar tree if anyone knows of such, should make an excellent fruit grafting stock.
Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

September 18, 2010
7:37 PM

Post #8106766

Modal, Right on with the reason new divisions like to plant the Bradford...
Not sure how well they would produce with grafting but it's worth finding out. Let me know if you find out.

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Other Article: Bradford Pear Tree (To plant or not to plant) Threads you might be interested in:

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