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Bradford Pear Trees
Old 08-24-2017, 02:25 PM   #1
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Bradford Pear Trees

I have two in the front yard that are roughly 24 years old. Research on the web indicates a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. I've had three tree arborists take a look and currently they are in decent health for there age but no solid estimates on future health. Pruning estimates from $350 to remove the big, low branches to $750 to also bring in the bucket truck and due a full prune. Cost to cut down and grind stumps $1,250. As a species, they are prone to split in heavy ice and wind. I've taken care of them over time so haven't had this issue but feels like it's just a matter of time. Any one have any experience with Bradford Pears ? Any sharing of actual experience would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:27 PM   #2
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We have one in the back yard that was put in back around 1997, so 20 years old. It looks to me like it has at least another 20 years in it. Great condition.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:52 PM   #3
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We have a number of Bradford pears on our lot and throughout the neighborhood, all about 24 years old. Ours are looking better than most because DH brutally prunes/trims them every couple of years. As in, taking a 20-foot tall tree down to about 10 feet.

If yours have been allowed to get big and straggly, it's only a matter of time before they start breaking and splitting. It's happening around the neighborhood.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:07 PM   #4
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As you stated, the problem is the narrow angle split of the branches, which leads to the branches breaking off in high load or winds. Are the bigger lower branches in the way? I would probably just leave it if they are healthy and wait until mother nature or age becomes a bigger issue.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:24 PM   #5
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Any one have any experience with Bradford Pears ? Any sharing of actual experience would be greatly appreciated.
Former logger. Bradford pears give trees a bad name. Seriously find the best estimates and have them removed. Good for nothing trees, they'll cost you now or later.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:26 PM   #6
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Neighborhood trees dropping like flies. Nextdoor and one down split in storms. Other side nehiboor and others just flat out died.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:38 PM   #7
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Former logger. Bradford pears give trees a bad name. Seriously find the best estimates and have them removed. Good for nothing trees, they'll cost you now or later.
Yep. Garden club member here and I heard the same thing. They're evil. The litmus test for a good garden center is to ask if they carry Bradford Pear tress. If they do, leave immediately. Here's one article explaining why they're so evil.

The Curse of the Bradford Pear
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:48 PM   #8
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Lots of sad experience with Bradfords here. We have lost six, at the 18-20 year point where they were huge and it was very costly in labor/time to get rid of the mess. The prices you quote sound very cheap to me!

They are gorgeous trees 9 months of the year (their fall colors are glorious) but alas, prone to go down in high winds or even heavy rain. Plus they send up suckers everywhere. It's true they will regenerate from a stump, but that doesn't produce a very attractive tree.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:55 PM   #9
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Doing nothing doesn't seem like an option. Too much risk given location of trees, street, etc. Liability yadayada.
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:19 PM   #10
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My parents had Bradford pears in their front yard when I grew up. 4 of them. All 4 eventually split (they had an island, maybe 100ft long, with the pear trees like goal posts, so plenty of space). My grandparents also had 2 Bradford pears in their back yard. At least one had a splitting issue during a storm (maybe both, can't recall). Have seen other Bradford pears suffer similar fates around here in windy storms. I'm not a big fan of them.
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:11 PM   #11
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Yep. Garden club member here and I heard the same thing. They're evil. The litmus test for a good garden center is to ask if they carry Bradford Pear tress. If they do, leave immediately. Here's one article explaining why they're so evil.

The Curse of the Bradford Pear
I liked that article. I used to admire them around the Washington DC area when I lived there. They were quite lovely.
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:59 PM   #12
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Our four year old split down the middle during Ike in 2008. While I enjoyed the blooms in spring and colors in autumn I'm glad it's gone.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:23 AM   #13
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350 ea tree or total for pruning all 4. All 4 removed and stumps ground for 1250 is a bargain.

I like pears, newer cultivars are much less susceptible to the issues of the Bradfords.
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:25 AM   #14
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More bad news on Bradford pear trees splitting. Had 5 nice mature trees (7 years old), about 20 ft. high. Lost 2 in a wind storm. Left a terrible gap in our landscaping. And not our first bad experience, BTW.

We no longer plant them. Landscaper friend recommended Cleveland pear as a similar, split free, replacement. Just planted on last year. Very similar look/shape.
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Old 08-25-2017, 04:41 AM   #15
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We had a large spruce tree in our front yard start to die off. It was a shame. We had it taken out and DW wanted a flowering tree, so we went with the Cleveland pear since they are more durable than Bradford.
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Old 08-25-2017, 06:07 AM   #16
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350 ea tree or total for pruning all 4. All 4 removed and stumps ground for 1250 is a bargain.

I like pears, newer cultivars are much less susceptible to the issues of the Bradfords.
The estimate is for two trees. I don't have four. Anyway, I got three quotes all in the same price range. Tough call. Prune or take down is the decision. DGF, not a fan of taking them down. I think I'm going to try the logic of if they were dead, we'd take em down, right? They are suffering it's inhumane. Need to put em out of their misery
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Old 08-25-2017, 07:11 AM   #17
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Former logger. Bradford pears give trees a bad name. Seriously find the best estimates and have them removed. Good for nothing trees, they'll cost you now or later.
+1 on the BP trees. My best home improvement was removing the two in our front yard. Also, when they are in bloom, the give off and obnoxious stench.
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:10 AM   #18
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We have an Arizona ash in our front yard which has some of the same issues (fast growing, so was popular with builders back in the day, short life span). It has lost two large branches this year and the arborist said it is in decline. We had it severely pruned this spring and in the fall (when it's cooler) we will plant a replacement tree nearby so that when it finally does need to come down, the bare spot in the front yard won't be as big.
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Old 08-25-2017, 10:26 AM   #19
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If you live in the south, consider native Dogwoods as alternatives.

Our neighborhood was built during the Bradford craze (late 70s). In the late 80s, spring was beautiful. This sweet spot lasted a few years. By '95 it all started to unravel. There were none left by 2005, and nobody has replanted any either.
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Old 08-25-2017, 12:55 PM   #20
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Also, Bradford Pear is considered an invasive and the seeds cast by birds grow up into small trees unlike the original tree. The invasive trees have large thorns and grow in large spreading clumps. Believe me...they will puncture your tractor tires pushing them down.

Like what JoeWras mentioned...Dogwoods are great. I am also partial to Vitex trees. http://www.shademakertrees.com/pdfs/SH%20FACT%20SHEET%20Vitex%20and%20'Shoal's%20Creek '%20cultivar.pdf
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