Key identifying features.. White flowers
in early spring.
Common name.. Bradford Pear
Scientific name.. Pyrus calleryana
Mature height.. 30 to 50 feet
Mature spread.. 20 to 35 feet
Form.. Pyramidal when immature; rounded
Fruit.. Pear nut is not edible and does
not attract squirrels or birds; inconspicuous, not messy.
Flowers.. Abundant large white, early
spring. The blossoms smell like rotten fish. Some years this is worse than other years. Some years it's so bad we can't open
the windows or go outside!
|Bradford pear leaf
Foliage.. Deciduous; green in summer,
orange to burgundy in fall. Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate.
Growth rate.. Fast; more than 2 feet
a year. See the Bradford pear growth chart.
Culture.. Adapts to many soil types,
is drought and pollution tolerant and prefers full sun.
Best time to prune.. Any time. All the
Of special note.. The tight upward angled
branches of this tree are known for breaking just when the tree reaches maturity (15 to 30 years). It is therefore, a short-lived
Julie's Comments.. Ever
seen an umbrella in the wind? Umbrellas blow away because air can't get through. Same thing happens to Bradford pear tree.
Because the branches grow so dense, air can't get through and it blows over. But that's only a small portion of this tree's
problems: those branches, because they grow at v-shaped angles, create a tree full of weak wood. The bark grows inside the
tree, like an ingrown toenail. When this happens, the tree looses strength and that's why they break so easily. Though I admit
this is a beautiful tree from spring to fall and the birds and squirrels love to nest here, I now believe the tree is overused
and too problem-prone to plant in a yard setting. Plus, unless you like the smell along the piers of South Street Seaport,
the tree often has an unpleasant odor while blossoming.
Planting date.. August
1997. Two trees in burlap ball. 1.5-inch diameter trunk. Height: 9 feet. I bought these trees on the recommendation of the
local nursery owner. I was young and naive and figured if anybody knew anything about the "right" trees to buy, it would be
the local nursery owner. Boy, was I wrong! Lesson learned: DO YOUR HOMEWORK prior to the shopping trip.
DO OVER?.. No.