Monday, April 6, 2009

More reasons to eschew Bradford pear

I know I may have discussed this more than enough but I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Bradford pears are a scourge of our modern landscapes.

I get it - they are cheap and grow quickly. But the cheapness accounts for the excessive ubiquitousness of this plant, and, at least in this case, the fast growing quality means that the wood lacks structural strength and is thus susceptible to major limb loss. After that, it is not long before the whole tree begins to rot out and die off. In the meantime, I think we can all agree that trees like this,

are an eyesore. The weak wood also accounts for the tree's poor ability to withstand snow and wind loading, which can likely result in the tree ultimately looking like the specimen above.

This plant is so common that people with allergies suffer most when the tree is in bloom. And although Bradford pear is primarily used as an ornamental plant, it is increasingly seen as an invasive species, growing wild on roadsides and in wooded areas near the suburbs.

Don't use Bradford pears. For reals.

An endnote: I knew that I had used the term "dreaded Bradford pear" in a post at one point or another. But I couldn't remember which post it was, so I googled the three words, in quotes, to track down the blog entry. I was pleasantly surprised to know that I am hardly unique in using the word 'dreaded' in associate with 'Bradford pear.' In fact, it appears that 114 websites utilize the term "dreaded Bradford pear" -- it's good to know I am not alone in my opinions!


Anonymous said...

We have a Bradford Pear just like that one in our neighborhood, or close to it. It is an eyesore. Thanks for being so pro-active.

Christian said...

A great alternative to the Bradford is the Trinity pear. It's an improved cultivar with a much tighter head, and is much less susceptible to weak branches and snow damage. If you are in the market for improved pear varieties the Trinty is a much better choice.

Christian said...

Jennifer, I'd love to send you some photos of Star Magnolias we have out here in the Hamptons, as well as some comparison photos of different pyrus calleryana cultivars that exist. Please e-mail at if you have an interest. Also if you ever out east please stop by Aspatuck Gardens. Thanks

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