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Beginner Landscaping: best way to remove a small bradford pear tree

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Forum: Beginner LandscapingReplies: 32, Views: 225
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JulieQ
Cullman, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 20, 2008
5:30 PM

Post #5442079

I have been thinking about removing one or two bradford pears and was wondering about the removal process...
I thought I would cut it down (trunk is about 3" diameter) and try to dig out the roots. But, this may be too big of a root system to dig out by hand. Does anyone know how their root systems are? Otherwise I could leave about a foot of trunk above ground for leverage or to tie something to yank it out with. I think I will wait until after a rain and the ground is softer, or I could just water that area I suppose...

Any thoughts from someone who has tried this before?
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

August 20, 2008
6:39 PM

Post #5442384

Can you get a truck with a winch on it to the trees? If so, don't top the trees--just leave them intact. Someone who knows how to use a winch won't have any trouble pulling them out. Three-inch Bradford's shouldn't be too much trouble to get out this way.
kitten0115
La Vergne, TN

August 27, 2008
6:48 PM

Post #5474935

get a chain wrap it around, if not try this after a great soaking rian dig it out. I have done this at clients houses when there was a slope and I couldn't get the truck to work and we dug it out (2 people). Once you get going you can cut the roots as you push on it.
dp72
Woodway, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 28, 2008
1:10 AM

Post #5476299

If you're going to plant another tree in the exact spot, you may want to have someone take it out with a stump grinder. If not, you could dig around it enough to cut it off just below ground level and fill soil back in over the roots.
kitten0115
La Vergne, TN

August 29, 2008
11:20 AM

Post #5482085

great thought dp72, think about what you might do even in the future, because if there's no way another tree will go in that place, save some time and hack it down
amisheliot
Lima, OH

September 11, 2008
12:34 AM

Post #5536081

If it's not too late, be careful just burying the stump. It can affect the whatever you plant over to[ for many years as it breaks down and decomposes. It's always best to remove as much of the stump/roots as possible.
PAMSPACE
Temperanceville, VA
(Zone 7a)

October 3, 2008
7:55 PM

Post #5629993

We had to cut down a Bradford after about 15 years, it started to fall apart in high winds. However, after we cut it down to the ground, it began suckering really bad. This was in Zone6B. Good Luck, get as much out of the ground as possible. Pam
dp72
Woodway, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 3, 2008
9:04 PM

Post #5630148

Bradfords' average lifespan is 12 years. The extreme branching angle traps moisture and debris at the join, and makes them vulnerable to breakage from wind, but particularly from snow or ice. They often split right down the middle in a high wind. Aristocrat is a much better choice. Little Gem Magnolia is even better if your climate zone is proper for it.
dp72
Woodway, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 3, 2008
9:04 PM

Post #5630149

Bradfords' average lifespan is 12 years. The extreme branching angle traps moisture and debris at the join, and makes them vulnerable to breakage from wind, but particularly from snow or ice. They often split right down the middle in a high wind. Aristocrat is a much better choice. Little Gem Magnolia is even better if your climate zone is proper for it.
JuneyBug
Dover AFB, DE
(Zone 7a)

October 9, 2008
12:55 PM

Post #5650405

Just like Pam said, You will have suckers sprouting from the roots. It may be best to have that spot in lawn for a year or 2 so that you can easily mow them.
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

October 9, 2008
12:58 PM

Post #5650412

We had one just that size, we'd planted them a year before. They got fire blight and we learned they aren't a favored tree among DGers. HD said given their 1 yr warrenty they'd only refund us if we brought in each whole tree (we had 4!) so tha gave DH the adrenaline (mad about those trees lol) to just rock them back and forth until they came out, whole root ball and all. :)
dp72
Woodway, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 9, 2008
3:23 PM

Post #5651079

Good for you! Bradfords are such bad trees they shouldn't even be on the market. If you get 12 years out of one you're lucky.
Little Gem Magnolia is a good alternative for you, since fire blight doesn't affect them.
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

October 9, 2008
3:35 PM

Post #5651136

It wasn't their flowers that I was looking for, just wanted some trees along the backyard and HD had $150 Bradfords on clearance (along with the other trees) at half price. In a stark naked new construction neighborhood we wanted the SIZE of that $150 tree for the half price. :)

Then I read about them on DG and saw they are bad bad bad lol.
Lynnie6868

(Zone 5b)

March 9, 2009
11:11 PM

Post #6244325

I did the same thing, from the same store, for the same reason, Tir_Na_Nog! lol I only planted 2, one died, the other one is still there. Give it a few more years, I guess.
ClematisGuru
Delaware, OH

March 9, 2009
11:19 PM

Post #6244359

Well, i kinda disagree. Bradfords can be a good , economical choice for fast growth, shade and late spring blooms for 10 years or so while other slower growth trees and landscape ideas mature. we expect too much. if you realize the lifespan, and plan accordingly, i think the tree over delivers in terms of growth, blooms, holding foliage late into in the fall...most people aren't planning a garden for 20 years down the road and i have seen plenty of bradfords thriving at year 15.
so i can understand the lure of the sale price.
dp72
Woodway, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 10, 2009
12:53 AM

Post #6244742

Many people who plant trees are thinking of the next generation.
ClematisGuru
Delaware, OH

March 10, 2009
12:24 PM

Post #6246327

There is a place for short term , medium term and long term vision in garden design. gaining a look and feel for the short term (annuals and planters, mid term...perennials,shrubs and fast growing trees..and long term as hardwoods and slow growing trees.
hate to see the bradford dissed when it gives a lot for what it is. just don't expect it to be a forever tree or be surprised by the potential problems!
Lynnie6868

(Zone 5b)

March 10, 2009
1:04 PM

Post #6246436

yes, I do need fast & slow growers, because my lot is a bare acre. I mean BARE...it was a tobacco farm. So the pear tree at least adds something. I also planted a few pines (need more!) a few maples (need more!), and a few ash trees, a redbud, and a crabapple. I lost a weeping cherry, a pear, a maple and a peegee hydrangea...do you think it would look stupid if I put a dogwwod right near the pear tree so when the pear tree dies the dogwood will be halfway mature?
ClematisGuru
Delaware, OH

March 10, 2009
1:21 PM

Post #6246475

well from the sound of it, if i were you, i would draw out a plan..like a floor plan with what you have planted and what the mature radius is. this way you can kind of "see" how this will look as things mature. think about the view into the area as well as how it will feel inside the area looking outward. what do you want to achieve? paths lined with trees? random trees providing shade?

i do not have any dogwoods, but i know they grow in nature as a lower height in a woodland setting, so they probably can take some root competition.having made many, many garden mistakes, i can say that researching what you are planting and thinking about what look and feel you want to achieve has big payoff.
also think about adding some height to the design thru berms of soil, maybe on the perimeter corners. berms allow evergreens to pop out in the landscape, providing height and focal point much sooner than the evergreen tree alone would provide.

attached is a photo of a berm in my lansdcape design at home that allowed inexpensive arbor vitaes to provide coverage for a fence that a
neighbor put in between our properties. there are two of these berms, forming an oval form to the main lawn as well as shielding us from the fence and providing storage and other garden areas behind the berms.
perhaps you could put a similar, but smaller l shaped berm on each corner of the empty square field you describe.

Thumbnail by ClematisGuru
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JuneyBug
Dover AFB, DE
(Zone 7a)

March 10, 2009
3:23 PM

Post #6246988

Your idea on the dogwoods is a good one. They need a lot of shade while growing up, and can take more sun the older that they are. Just make sure that some other tree will be there to give them afternoon shade in 15 years.
Lynnie6868

(Zone 5b)

March 10, 2009
7:09 PM

Post #6247926

holy cow, Clematisguru, that is GORGEOUS! Can you move it to my yard lol
Ok Juneybug, so I have to put the dogwood on the ...east? side of the pear tree? To block the afternoon sun?
JuneyBug
Dover AFB, DE
(Zone 7a)

March 10, 2009
9:09 PM

Post #6248399

Yeah, they really like the shade.
ClematisGuru
Delaware, OH

March 10, 2009
10:51 PM

Post #6248802

thanks lynnie 6868. it was surprisingly inexpensive, except for 1 ingredient ...time.
the berm was made with refuse dirt we lucked into. shrubs were woefully small when planted. my only regret is that i didn't space the arbor v's a little closer together. went for total maturity touching each other vs 7 year. so at least i will not be overgrown earlier.
it was one of te first things i did where i really thought about what i was trying to create with the design and structure of the yard. so that is why i always advise to step back, think, research and over time, the vision will materialize.
here is another shot that showing how it became the back bone of the lawn, with garden and storage space behind them basically shielded from first glance at the lawn.

Thumbnail by ClematisGuru
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Lynnie6868

(Zone 5b)

March 11, 2009
10:13 AM

Post #6250662

wow, how beautiful! Very clever tucking the shed in there. I was looking at thuja green giants online, is that what those arborvitaes are? My husband has a 37 foot kennel out back (the dog died 3 years ago!) that he's donating to a local zoo , I told him if it wasn't moved this spring it was turning into an arbor. It's such an eyesore.
Also my lot is a very odd shape, it's shaped like an angled parking space...you know how they angle them to fit more cars in a lot, well they angled these yards to fit more houses. So I really have to be thoughtful of my neighbors, who are very nice people. Another eyesore is behind me, a falling down fence that isn't mine.
ClematisGuru
Delaware, OH

March 11, 2009
11:59 AM

Post #6250813

the arbor v's are the cheapest kind from lowes on sale. 7 yrs ago paid about 25 each for them, there are 30 total spilt in to 2 berms.
i also have some thuga green giants that i started from bareroot in pots and then planted somewhere else. i do not thing they would have looked as good as these do with the green spires.

you can take an irregular or boring shape yard and make the corner berms to define a shape and hide stuff. the berms make it work. for me, the form is an oval shape for the main lawn that is defined by these berms on the rear in front of the neighbor's fence. to the front the oval is define by shrubs to one side and trees and shrubs on the other side.

Thumbnail by ClematisGuru
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JuneyBug
Dover AFB, DE
(Zone 7a)

March 11, 2009
6:56 PM

Post #6252347

Mmmm, so nice! And that was a flat, boring rectangle when you started?!! Masterfully done!


Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

March 11, 2009
7:02 PM

Post #6252379

clemantis, it's not just a bradford is short-lived argument. someone wrote a DG article about them last month and said they are also invasive...little seedlings take root around the tree or elsewhere that bird and winds will take them and then invade areas they did not used to be. me, I'm not a natives only planter by any means...that's just another of the arguments.

onto the new topic---your yard! gorgeous! how deep are those beds? it looks marvelous! and you have fence behind it? is it reachable to replace sections or re-do a whole new fence? or is the idea that your plants cover the area enough that no fence is now needed?
ClematisGuru
Delaware, OH

March 11, 2009
8:00 PM

Post #6252592

well, i had two bradfords (one now) that were part of the landscaping when i bought my house. i limbed them up a lot over the years as they were growing and they grew really tall to stretch for sunlight as they were part of a treed area. one had significant storm damage twice (18 years old) and it was taken out a few years ago. one had storm damage this year, but is still alive. one thing i like about them is that they hold their leaves a long time in the fall , they are the last tree i have to lose leaves. I am sure I will have to take out the other one this year, just hoping it survives. I am amazed they lasted as long as they did.

The fence is another story. it was put up by new neighbors and the berms were our reaction to that. there is enough room behind the berm to drive a yard tractor, or a small bobcat. so guess that would enable fencing to be replaced. we wanted to hide the impact of it and wanted areas where i could have flower gardens that would not be visible completely from the main yard. so i grow clems and perennials on the back side of the berm, where the front side has the shrubs. will attach a view from the rear of the berm to this posting.

the berm is about 3 to 4 foot high, my husband had bad soil trucked in and he moved it around with a small bobcat to form the berms. thanks for commenting on the look of it all. it has really taught me that form and definition and structure really make the landscape and is priority one.

Thumbnail by ClematisGuru
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JulieQ
Cullman, AL
(Zone 7b)

March 11, 2009
8:08 PM

Post #6252624

I am wondering if your berms affect your drainage if you have a lot of rain...
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

March 11, 2009
8:13 PM

Post #6252652

clemantis. it is gorgeous. it is a look i aim to have given the time and money. i know you say it didn't cost much. and we aren't broke by any means but kids and "life" just seems to have a hold on us right now :). i do love a landscape best that can have "fences" made of plants like this and layer the heights. well done!
ClematisGuru
Delaware, OH

March 11, 2009
8:14 PM

Post #6252656

no , thanks goodness. no drainage issues. my hubbie is kind of engineer smart (translation on that you do not want to hear) and he may have put drainage tiles in them or something. but no issues.
and we do have periods with a lot of rain in my area.

the bottom tier of the shrub side is little princess spirea with french willows then the arbor v's/ the willow shrubs need a big prune back 3 x per year to stay the right height. i may have to take them out and put something else in that tier eventually. if not pruned they get too big and you lose the tidy 3 tier effect i was striving for. but i like to prune , luckily!
Lynnie6868

(Zone 5b)

March 12, 2009
3:31 PM

Post #6256135

The back looks nicer than anything in my yard! lol Is that your hideaway garden? What are those creepers, I love the color. Boy we're full of questions aren't we? Tir Na Nog maybe we can get Clematis guru to do a cross country jaunt & whip our yards into shape :)
Tir_Na_Nog
Houston
United States
(Zone 9b)

March 12, 2009
4:23 PM

Post #6256376

YES! I vote yes!

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