Tree Services of Omaha - Omaha, Nebraska
by David Steg on 04/12/16
Oh No! Not Another Bradford Pear
Winter is over and the brown landscape is turning green and colorful. One of the first colors we see are the beautiful white trees blooming all around the city. As you drive down the interstate and streets, you can’t go 20 feet without seeing one. Boy, these trees are pretty but arborists will tell you that these trees are disastrous. Let’s breakdown the bradford pear and see what all the talk is about.
The Bradford pear has been a staple in our landscape since the mid 80’s. Contractors had used these trees for commercial and residential properties, due to their flowering capacity and ornamental shape. These tree’s are able to grow rather quickly without getting too big, which is great in newly developed areas. This was one reason why the Bradford pears had been so common. Now, lets travel into the future and see what has happened to these trees.
Splitting Factors for the Bradford pear
Everything looks to be going great in the first few years of planting a pear, but then all of a sudden things start crashing down. It appears that these trees are falling apart, causing homeowners a lot of money.
The branch structure is the main issue with this tree’s ability to stay intact. The branches of the pear grow in an upward direction. As the branches grow, the seams will fuse together rather quickly to facilitate quick growth of the tree. This is very different to other native tree species, who have a slower interlocking process. The branch structure does not support large gusts of wind. This is why a lot of pears will be split after a significant amount of wind hits the metro area.
I am not saying that every pear needs to be eradicated, but we have entirely too many in our landscape. It is important to properly care for these trees to prevent further damage. It is best to remove any weak branches and help take off additional weight. I suggest having an arborist assess these trees and follow proper pruning techniques, because more harm can be done to a tree if it’s not done correctly.
Other Factors for Planting a Bradford pear
The Bradford pear has a very dense branch structure which will promote shade. Usually, pears will suffocate the grass from getting enough light and it will eventually die. I never suggest plating a Bradford pear on a slope, since the soil can easily wash away after the grass dies off.
The Bradford pear was originally introduced as a sterile tree that would not invade our natural landscape, but this has proven to be false. These trees have been cross pollinating, which is evident in the seed production. These tree’s are starting to become an invasive pest and are taking out some of our long lived native trees. There are other ways to add color to your yard, but I do not urge any homeowner to specifically plant a Bradford pear. We need to keep the diversity in our landscape to keep our urban forests healthy.