Bradford Pears were planted in our neighborhood in all the front lawns and along the side yards on the corners. The development is about 10-15 years old, it was built in stages. You can tell how old the house is by looking at the Bradford Pear trees. Stage One:still pretty and looking fine, a relatively new house. Stage Two: really large but not yet broken trees, been there awhile. Stage Three: broken stumps or unsightly half trees, one of the older houses. Stage Four: gone, oldest houses or home owner decided enough is enough and had them cut down!
We are starting to progress from Stage Two to Stage Three at our house. We have the suckers coming up. Fortunately for us, we use a professional lawn service whose lawn mower can handle them.
You might try having an arborist thin out the branches to avoid the top-heaviness that takes the tree down.
To get rid of the suckers look for a product called Suckr Stopper. I got it at a local nursery that was closing out their retail products to concentrate on corporate landscaping. I'm not sure where else to get it, but a computer search would probably tell you.
Thinning only delays the inevitable. Suckr Stopper only sort of works. It did nothing to stop our Ornamental Crabapple from suckering. Our now deceased Bradford Pear did almost no suckering so Suckr Stopper (which we got at Earl May) wasn't even necessary to try.
DitchLily206, I hear ya! We were at stage 4 late last fall. Cut it down before disaster struck.
We are now in Stage 4. Both Bradford Pear trees in our front yard have died/been removed.
One was removed after we realized it had died over the winter of 2009. It had lost several branches and never recovered.
The other one lasted until October of 2010. We did remove several branches when we had the other tree taken down, but it still bit the dust in a big wind storm right before Halloween. A huge branch broke, creating a good sized split in the trunk. The branch was totally blocking the sidewalk and it was the Thursday before Halloween. Could not have it blocking either the sidewalk or the street for the Trick Or Treaters. (Our neighborhood always gets more than our share because we have sidewalks and many of the other areas do not.) We just had a tree service come and take the whole tree down. They cut it down, ground the stump and carted away all the debris, on a Saturday morning no less!
We are trying to decide if we want to put other trees in their place or just leave it in grass.