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Cleveland vs. Bradford Pear?

August 15, 2009

I live in southcentral Pennsylvnia and we planted 2 Bradford Pears and 6 Cleveland Pears. I definitely see a difference in them as far as the shape,however what are the pros and cons of each cultivar? Thanks for any tips...please post pics if you have any...

Comments (112)

  • brandon7 TN_zone


    Yes, unfortunately, some nurserymen do sometimes recommend COMPLETELY HORRID stuff. It's hard to know if they are really that unfamiliar with the product they are selling or if they just don't care and are trying to push their junk out to make a buck.

    As can be confirmed by countless reliable sources, Cleveland Pears have all the problems that Bradfords do. Some negatives may be SLIGHTLY less than for Bradfords, but trash is trash! They are just as invasive in most of their possible growing range, in this country. They still stink horribly. They may not be quite as bad to break apart, but they still do. And, they still die at an early age. I would no sooner plant a Cleveland pear than I would a Bradford, and I wouldn't think of planting either.

    If I were you, I'd look for a better nurseryman.

  • Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis

    " Strange all the negative comments. My nursery man highly recommended the Cleaveland. They don't die early unless you think 50 or 60 years is early. LOL! And they don't break like the Bradford Pear."

    Oh Maggie, this was a salesman making money in tough times :(

    Do not believe everything any salesman tells you.

    Look, I can legitimately tell you your new Cleveland will probably last a decade or so and if invasiveness does not bother you then go for it. BUT you lose the right to complain if I plant bamboo on your property line or about any derelict cars and busses your neighbors have.

    Ug, salesmen.

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  • Brandon Smith

    Well as a salesman (a car salesman too, the absolute worst, right?) the above comments somewhat bother me. Not every salesman is a liying dirt bag committed only to insidiously miss-represent anything/everything to you in hopes of coersing his helpless victems into making the absolute worst decision one could make both functionally and even better financially too! In actual reality though let's say maybe 1% of salesmen/women are the ones that give honest folks a bad name. Those salesman who earn a successful carrer and are true professionals learned something very early on, the most detrimemtal practice to partake in is liying. About anything, not just the product you represent or to hain the upper hand during the process. Roughly 40% of my business is repeat and referral business. Even the most daft of the mentally weak know that you will not get someone's hard earned income (much less a loyal client base that happily sends you their friends/family only to reduce their financial holdings as well!) if someone even remotely thinks your being dishonest, much less knows it for sure/can prove it.

    How about this scenario. The salesman Maggie worked with just happened to like pears and maybe even has them at his home. What if not everyone hated pears with the same amount of gusto you happen posses? Difference of opinion are what I believe make life interesting and some of us that have this belief view opposing thoughts as a chance to see things from a new/different view. This alternate position can lend itself to edification on one but hopefull both parts which is unbelievably satisfying to speak lay. heres one that might as well be grouped with other fantastic tales like Tron/Alice in wonderland or works from Homer such as Iliad/Odyssey....... Maggie told her sales associate that she wanted a quick growing tree that wasn't that picky, didnt require much extra care, was medium sized, was a mostly pest resistant tree and not only was pretty in spring during bloom (unfortunately i dont believe it's possible to be sarcastically factual in relation to that awful smell these trees produce when flowering!) but also beautiful fall aesthetics to behold that IMO and area; can hang with all but the very, very best. I would say a pear would fit that bill quite nicely and again, if this were the what transpired that day, one might be compelled to say her salesperson knocked it out of the park!

    I have one (Cleveland I believe) in my front yard that's at least as old as my house, 23. It doesn't have one injury from breakage. I live in St.Louis btw, where any and all weather phenomena can and most likely will happen. Freezing rain, check. Snow, yep! Sleet, yes. Tornadoes... were in the ally. Powerful spring thunderstorms that not only come with the chance of destructive wind but also lightening that could split even the mightiest of Oak. Am I planning on cutting it down, yes. But for reasons I find cause to do so, nothing that has been listed earlier in this thread. Chiefly, I plan to be at this home for the long haul and pears simply do not get large enough to have the impact I invision a tree in my front yard to possess. Also my pear received little to no shape pruning throughout its life. Because of this I had no choice but to trim it in a way where I just don't like the way it looks now. I had to remove many of the lowest/oldest/most substantial branches. Even if I did allow it the years it would take to hopefully regrow, I'm not confident it would ever return to a form that I would be satisfied with. It's a damn fine tree that 99/100 homeowners would be tickled to have in their yard. There is no imminent danger of structural calamity even though it wasn't cared for properly. I would bet it'd be good as it sits right now for at least another 15 years, if some simple reinforcements were made to the trunk/s (i.e. I-bolts with SS wire between them stabilizing trunks growing from only the most acute of crotches) likely would live 30 or more years with only minimal upkeep.

    So yes, pears most certainly have some negative aspects but I think everyone who visits this site would be able to glean even more from GW if folks would ask a few questions in an attempt to actually see if a pear was a good/the smart choice. If these actions did nothing but reduce the frequency of threads like this that would be progress. Over and over again it's the same hostile comments which are somewhat humorous because we're talking about a tree, unproductive suggestions and general morale deflating occur then ill consider the time this took a worthwhile effort.

  • jimbobfeeny

    From the UConn Horticulture website:

    " 'Bradford' - One of the most common and recognizable ornamental trees in the American landscape, this early-flowering tree is popular for its dense branching and broadly pyramidal habit to 50' tall and 40' wide. It grows quickly as a young tree and offers good resistance to fireblight. However, this tree has a genetic predisposition to form tight branch crotch angles that are points of weakness. Thus, unless pruned the tree will eventually split under its weight due to high winds, storms, ice, snowload, etc. It is therefore strongly recommended that other cultivars be utilized. Regardless of cultivar, Pyrus calleryana is wholly overused in the landscape, leading to monotony and boredom. The rigid habit of the plant also makes the species appear out-of-place in most situations. Other plant choices should generally be investigated when P. calleryana is called for."

    " 'Glen's Form' (Chanticleer®, also known as 'Select', 'Cleveland Select', 'Stone Hill' and 'Stonehill') - Considered perhaps the finest selection for contemporary use, this plant assumes an upright, pyramidal habit to 30' tall and 15' wide. It is much narrower than 'Bradford', and also is longer-lived and perhaps hardier. It shows good fireblight resistance and attractive red-purple fall color."

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again: There are SO MANY BETTER ALTERNATIVES than Bradford, Cleveland, Chanticleer, whatever, pears. Why waste a valuable resource (land/space) with these things?

    Plant a serviceberry, a dogwood, a crabapple, a redbud, a yellowwood, a buckeye, a hawthorn (there's a good alternative!), a magnolia, ANYTHING BUT CALLERY PEAR!!!!!

    We are not saying that all salesmen are crooks, but it seems there are quite a few that are only out to get money. (I definitely appreciate honest, helpful sales persons, which are a golden find. There are plenty out there, though).

    It helps when a person making a recommendation is qualified in their field - Most of the regulars on this forum grow trees as a hobby, for business, whatever. With years of experience with trees, you'd think recommendations made would be, for the most part, accurate.

  • brandon7 TN_zone

    After reading Bsmith's post, I'm wondering if his favorite car is the Ford Pinto. I'm sure it has some wonderful qualities. It's a small compact so probably gets better gas mileage than a tank, it's affordable, and it's well-known. I can see Bsmith out there in front of his car dealership, with his white teeth showing in a giant smile and his arms outstretched, waiting for that next victim I mean customer.

  • jimbobfeeny

    Brandon, be nice! ;)

  • jimbobfeeny

    removed double post

    This post was edited by jimbobfeeny on Sat, Mar 16, 13 at 10:04

  • brandon7 TN_zone

    Hey, you gotta admit that Bsmith's advocacy for the atrocious combined with his profession brings out a certain image. It's nothing personal (I don't know Bsmith at all, or have any idea how he sells cars), but his post still brings up that stereotypical car salesman image.

  • Annie

    I for one am not a regular on this forum, but enjoy visiting here.
    You guys have a great sense of humour besides being knowledgeable - I like that!

    Personally,,,I think they are beautiful "looking" in Spring, but they STINK! I hate the way they smell.
    They were planted all over campus when I was attending college and EVERY spring that god-awful smell permeated the entire campus, even into the classrooms!. It literally made me sick.

    I would plant a fruiting pear (has the same flowers) and produces fruit you can eat and has a stronger trunk and branches. In fact, I did.

    I agree with the Crabapple tree as a replacement. Gorgeous pink and red flowers in spring - doesn't self-replicate all over the countryside and smells so sweet and lovely.

    Clevelands and Bradfords are invading the countryside here in central Oklahoma. They are escaping the bounds of people's well-roomed, spit-spot, manicured yards and invading every neighboring bare tract of land. and SPREADING!

    The blooms are definitely pretty to SEE in spring, but invasive, invasive, invasive.....and the flowers STINK. (vomit and rotten fish - that is EXACTLY how they smell to me too)

    We have to be responsible gardeners, just like we have to be responsible parents. Just because candy and ice cream is pretty and tasty and your kids want to eat at McDonald's every day, doesn't mean we should allow it. They become malnourished and yet they get FAT!!! and that is a killer. If we care about their health and their futures, we have to take the responsibility to see that they eat healthy foods and don't let them eat all that crap all the time.

    SO it is with us as gardeners. We have to be responsible and caring about our environment and the ecosystems around us or it will be our own doom.

    This was such a lively topic. Loved reading it. :)

    a tree-hugger

  • maries1120

    We HAD 2 Bradfords in our backyard when we bought the house. I never noticed a smell but it might have been early in the season and we weren't out that much. Anyway the wind took out both of these - different years and the wind wasn't that bad. One took our electric out with it. I'm sure these were the latest and greatest when the former owner picked them and didn't know how susceptible they are to damage. I wouldn't recommend a Bradford, I'm sure there are other beautiful options without the con of being so prone to wind damage. It is hard to start over with a new tree.

  • paulathebrat

    The passion on this forum is amazing. Thank you to jimbobfeeny for offering more than just opinion and criticism but some other good tree options for a gardening novice looking to add beauty to her landscape.

  • mghaught

    I have two Cleveland Pears planted in 1996 when they were about 8â tall. They are about 20â-25â tall now. They are on a south hill with a row of Leyland Cypress trees in front of them to the north and Crimson King Maples beside them so they are well protected from the wind. About every four to five years starting when they were about 8 years old I have them topped and remove most of the branches except the main trunk lines. The trees look pretty sad for a while the years this is done but I have never lost any branches during storms and they are 17 years old now. By the end of the summer in the years they are topped, many branches have grown back and they look fine the next year. I donât allow them to get any higher than 20-25 feet. I am in northern Virginia and we donât get a lot of snow although we have had bad years like 2010 when we had a record 52 inches. When we get snow, it is typically heavy wet snow and we get a lot of ice storms. We are subject to high winds during thunder storms, tropical storms and hurricane remnants like Irene and Sandy, and many norâeasters. If you are willing to give some thought about the where to plant these trees and follow an aggressive pruning plan, you can keep them from many years.

  • Brandon Smith

    I forgot all about this thread!

    Brandon, I'm with you and I don't take anything you've said personally. Given the reputation of car salesman and your clear disdain for the pears it makes sense.

    Over the few months since posting I have to admit that I dislike pears more now then when I made that post. Just looking at all the pears in my subdivision nearing what I would say is the end of their purposeful life's aesthetically. Most of them were planted in the early 90's making them 20-25 years old lets say. The majority of them are thinning from who knows what, suffering from blight and/or also have broken limbs making them look out of balance. Just not good looking.

    While the Ashs' in my back yard, most maples and the various oaks (mostly pin) are just hitting their stride and starting to get that maturish tree look to them.

    So I'm beginning to think that while pears do have their pluses like quick growth and pretty leaves, there are many other hardwood trees available that offer the same benefits as well as being tough enough to stay structurally sound in a storm, not stink and likely outlive the person planting it.

  • Iris GW

    If you are willing to give some thought about the where to plant these trees and follow an aggressive pruning plan, you can keep them from many years.

    Why would you want to keep them for many years when you've gone to all that trouble to make them ugly by topping them?

    We have people around here that do that too. Very ugly outcome. I wonder if they are also rejoicing that they get to keep these misshapen things for many years?

    Topping is an ugly practice that is only done to trees that were poorly chosen for the spot (or in this case just poorly chosen).

  • DJ1975

    My own experiences with Cleveland Pears are they are beautiful trees, year 'round, and yes, they are fragile.
    in 1999 I planted 15 Cleveland select pears down my 500' driveway. They were wonderful trees, until the freak Halloween Storm of 2011. I lost half the trees and the other half in Superstorm Sandy , But in those years, the trees were great, Small enough to put Christmas Lights on, They had perfect winter form, Nice blooms (a little stinky, but ok), Nice dark green leaves and fantastic fall colors changing from yellow, to red to purple. After the storms, I removed the broken trees and now have 3 years supply of fire wood. It is like the book "The Giving Tree". But alas I won't plant any more. It also gave me a bad shoulder humping all that wood.

    This post was edited by DJ1975 on Mon, Sep 2, 13 at 9:40

  • Dzitmoidonc

    I guess the upshot is that if you want a tree that is good for 20 years and don't mind the fact that they reseed themselves all over the place crowding out other trees, then plant a row of these and put aside a few bucks every year for topping or removal. Prepare to give them attention just when you don't have the time (after a storm). Ignore the pleas of the backyard fruit growers who claim that Bradford Pears (catch all name) is breeding disease because of all the wild ones that nobody cares for. The wild ones breed pear psylla, fireblight and aphids, but why should the Bradford Pear grower. He/she gets a week of bloom and a few weeks of color. The neighbors are the ones who get the problems.

    Typhoid Mary didn't get typhoid, but she killed a few people who did by continuing to work at food preparation after she knew she was infective. Similar scenario with these trees. Some people will defend them even with the knowledge that overall, they are a nuisance at best, and a menace to the neighbors at times.

  • DJ1975

    Well I can attest that these trees have not reseeded themselves, causing unwanted growth. Even along fence rows where the birds poop out the seeds. Outside of the larger trunks we used for firewood, we chipped up the rest . No signs of regrowth. Perhaps they are an invasive plant; but rest assured, mother nature took out her revenge. Yeah I will not plant them again.

  • DJ1975

    And PSS. I am a land surveyor, trained to identify trees for land owners (backyard fruit tree growers) I and have never seen one in the NJ wild.
    Your analogy to Typhoid Mary shows me you are a nut job.

  • brandon7 TN_zone

    I think Dzitmoidonc's analogy is pretty good. The invasive nature of Pyrus calleryana is very well documented, including in New Jersey. The problem is not as severe, yet, in New Jersey as in some other places. But it still definitely exists!

    Your saying that you can attest to your trees not having reseeded themselves points to a lack of understanding of the problem. Unless you've thoroughly surveyed at least a square mile around your planting site, you wouldn't necessarily know the problem existed. Waves of invasive plants usually populate areas in an exponential way - very slowly at first, while they get a foot-hold in the area. When they are easily noticed, the problem has often grown to a significant amount.

  • Dzitmoidonc

    DJ1975, I am the nut job? I am not the one claiming professional status and either intentionally ignorant of the problem or completely unknowing and claiming to know what is going on. One is the definition of nut job, the other makes one question your claimed awareness. Either way, you are the one with no place to claim innocence.

    Below are some links to some sites pertaining to New Jersey. You can either click on them and gain some knowledge, or you can keep on name calling and show your lack of real awareness of what is going on under your nose.

    Your lack of seeing how it is exactly like typhoid Mary is knowing neither the typhoid Mary story nor the Pyrus problem. To keep planting these in the face of a growing problem is to deny reality. Denying reality is the hallmark of either a fool or a willing accomplice to the problem. Take your pick.

  • Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis

    Settle down. I think it sounds like DJ is not going to be planting more after wearing out his shoulder luggin around the wood of the broken trees. His points about them being orderly and having good fall color (in places with long soft falls) is on also. The man critically pointed out the flower odor and all, he is realistic.

    FWIW in my yard it seems the pears are not reseeding but five miles away in the woodline by my kid's daycare a couple have popped up. If I recall it has something to do with cultivar mix or if anyone ever lets the rootstock flower on theirs within so many miles or something.

  • Brandon Smith

    I have also wondered why it seems that pears grow in a more invasive manner some places but not others. I can think of a few areas whose residents have pears in their lawns and their drainage ways along heavily traveled 2/4 lane roads are just exploding with pears (and sycamores, a native species) while in other areas (my neighborhood/general area) where it seems pears are in every other yard, the drainage ways are completely devoid of pear trees.

    Any insight on this phenomenon?

  • greenthumbzdude

    invasiveness in bradford pear may have to do with how many fruit eating birds there are in your area......the seed may need to pass through the gut of a bird in order to germinate....this is called scarification............just a hypothesis

  • greenthumbzdude

    invasiveness in bradford pear may have to do with how many fruit eating birds there are in your area......the seed may need to pass through the gut of a bird in order to germinate....this is called scarification............just a hypothesis

  • Brandon Smith

    That is a thought though the areas I am speaking of are within 20 miles or less of each other and we have many species of fruit eating bird in both.

    Perhaps the soil in the effected drsinage areas is more fertile or perhaps just all around a more agreeable locale for a pear stand. Though I had thought that pears weren't the most picky trees.

  • mulchmama

    Ornamental pear trees are definitely invasive in the Kansas City metro area, so much so that most nurseries have stopped selling them. They line our street, having been planted by the developer ten years ago, and they're hideous.I pull hundreds out of the flower beds each year.

    I'm not sure which cultivar we have, but they are fastigiate and a very unattractive, and their bloom time is so short I'd say they're ugly all year round. They were hit with fireblight this past spring, but not enough to kill them, which is too bad. I'd love to get them out of here so I can plant a decent tree.

  • mulchmama

    Ornamental pear trees are definitely invasive in the Kansas City metro area, so much so that most nurseries have stopped selling them. They line our street, having been planted by the developer ten years ago, and they're hideous.I pull hundreds out of the flower beds each year.

    I'm not sure which cultivar we have, but they are fastigiate and a very unattractive, and their bloom time is so short I'd say they're ugly all year round. They were hit with fireblight this past spring, but not enough to kill them, which is too bad. I'd love to get them out of here so I can plant a decent tree.

  • marty65

    New to the forum. Many interesting posts, both pro and con, I'm learning from both. My question: what are good alternatives to the flowering pear type trees with similar characteristics i.e. fast growers, deep rooted, long lived, good shade?

  • DJ1975

    Thank You Toronado I will not replant orni pear trees.
    And I apologize to Dz for my rude behavior to him (her?). I was overly defensive (Jersey thing) And yes I do recognize the invasive nature of Ornamental pears. They should be banned. Now how about a nice game of chess...

  • leebob622

    New Poster here. In central Ohio. Trying to help a friend do some landscaping and thought the cleveland pear sounded like a good choice for her. We have 4 in our 5 acre yard in the middle of our 120 acre farm. I knew when I planted these trees that the Bradford was a troublesome tree so I planted the Cleveland which was purported not to have these problems. These trees have been in our yard for over thirty years. Two of them are on the west side of our house and are exposed to our worst winter winds each has lost one large branch in the last year. The ones on the east side are more protected and have suffered no damage. It was interesting reading the commentary but I can only speak from my experience of my own trees. One they are still going strong after 30 years, Two I have never noticed any strong smell, Three we have never had them seed anywhere on our farm. Love their upright growth, profusion of flowers and outstanding fall colors.

    Never did hear anyone offer a substitute tree

  • Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis

    Do your good deed back for North America and come get all them volunteer CleBrads from along the north side of the new MO370 ramp to Salt River. Unlike some those have decent fall color lol.

    I am kidding more or less. Well at least about any moral obligation. I have not removed the CleBrad the previous owners left me although the wind last year nearly did.

    Far as substitutes go yellow wood (which breaks apart also), Hornbeam, some serviceberries. Crabapples probably get planted in similar sights as well but despite owning one, I have doubts.

    Much like the Kudzu or bamboo someone may be planting on the property next to you, I can not deny the Bradford does grow and does flower. My neighbor got fifteen and about twenty years out of two of his.

  • mjc_1

    Had a Bradford, smack in the middle of the front yard. Planted it twenty years ago when we first bought our house. We loved the quick growth, waxy green leaves, spring flowers and bright fall color. It lasted 8 years and poof, split in half. Replaced it with an Acer Rubrum, October Glory. No showy flowers but great fall color. Wish I would have known about the brittle pears before I first planted, wouldn't have wasted 8 growing seasons on the pear. Keep in mind if planting callery's they will break your heart, eventually.

  • Brandon Smith

    I still am a bigger fan of maples/oaks/hickory/ash but this time of the year makes a strong case for pears. While my white Ashs' are just loosing their final leaves for the season, the oaks are almost completely brown and mars are practically barren the pears still have all of their foliage. That and the orange/yellow/maroon/fire engine red leaves are quite beautiful to boot!

  • Nick424

    I have three beautiful pear trees in the front of my house and have a story to tell about their aroma but will get to my question first. I have what I thought was a pear tree in my back yard. It's looks like the ones in the front but does not flower in spring or change color in fall. The leaves remain green well into winter then suddenly fall. Does anyone know what it might be.

    For those who have the time/interest, here is my story. My five year old granddaughter and I were sitting on the curb one day, just enjoying the nice weather. I noticed her taking in slow deep breaths and looking at me in a way I've never seen before. She then asked me in her angelic voice, "Gramma, what is that smell"? I knew she was talking about the flowers from the tree and also realized what the strange look was about, but said, what smell. She then said in her sweet, angelic, innocent way, "Gramma, did you fart"?

  • Nick424

    I just compared a leaf from the one in question to the others I have and it's the same shape, just a little smaller.

    I knew nothing about these trees when I planted them except that they were pretty and didn't grow to large. Now that I've read this thread am in fear the one in my back yard might fall and damage a koi pond I have. There is a large wooded area about 40 ft west of this tree. Will this help keep the tree from falling over? I would like to remove them all but don't currently have the funds.

  • Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis

    "I have what I thought was a pear tree in my back yard. It's looks like the ones in the front but does not flower in spring or change color in fall. The leaves remain green well into winter then suddenly fall. Does anyone know what it might be."

    It is quite possible an offspring of your Bradford/Clevelands. Just them having kids and displacing natives. Consider yourself lucky if it has no thorns.

  • hairmetal4ever

    Comparing these two trees is like asking for the difference between death by firing squad or death by lethal injection.

  • Nick424

    Thanks for your reply. I'm going to remove the one in question today, weather permitting. The two in the front are a different story,,,, to big for us to do by ourselves and don't have replacements. So sad to have to get rid of them,,,,they are so pretty.

  • tiver43809

    Howdy, I did like both the bad and the good comments. We just bought 7 acres between Nashville, and Chattanooga. The previous owners thought they might make some cash and planted about 100 Cleveland pears. They were planted to close together and now they are about 8 - 10 ft high. I am planning on taking them all out. Anyway, would this be good wood for a smoker? I broke a branch that was dried and laying there and it smelled nice. Any thoughts? Even if you want to say it in a mean way I would still appreciate your comments or I wouldn't be asking. :)

  • Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis

    May as well try.

    I have burnt a half of one of my neighbor's bradfords in a bonfire pit and noticed no ill efects.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Just wanted to add this since others have posted gorgeous autumn color photos. We had a wet snow around Thanksgiving, and this home which had about 8 or 10 callery pears that were about 10 years old is now down to 2 or 3, one of which is missing a major limb. While other species of trees had some damage, these pears and a couple of tall skinny white pines which lost their tops were the only ones I saw that need to be totally removed.

  • missingtheobvious


    The golf course to the south of me has at least 2 or 3 dozen callery pears of some sort (said to have been planted about 15-18 years ago). Various folks across the street have another dozen or so.

    I have an acre of former horse pasture behind the house, which is mowed once a month during the growing season. That acre is filled (about one every foot or so) with the stumps of seedling hybrid pears. And as if that weren't enough: yes, they have thorns.

    Even though the mower cuts them short, I'd love to pull them out or Roundup them. But how could I hope to do that with 40,000+ little trees? Any I pull up would just be replaced by more.

    And anyway, I'm too busy pulling newbie seedlings each year in the 3/4 acre of lawn and flower beds.... (Not to mention the silver maple and cherry and poison ivy seedlings -- and this year, unexpectedly, box elder as well.)

  • lucky_p

    Apple wood is renowned for smoking meats...can't see why pear wouldn't work as well. Certainly nothing about it that would be dangerous.
    I have used pear limbs from time to time - but usually along with pecan/hickory limbs pruned from the trees here in the yard & nut grove, and anything the pear provided was probably overwhelmed by the pecan/hickory.
    Sounds like an ideal use for those undesirable pears - just be sure to do a stump treatment with an appropriate herbicide when you 'chainsaw prune' them.

  • dlbk

    Interesting thread, and as colorful as the trees in autumn. :) Years after planting a Bradford, a nursery owner told me about the bad genetics and not to expect the tree to live more than 20-25 years. The Halloween storm of 2011 (I think) took a few limbs out, and the following year, another windy storm took more. The tree had already been weakened and a crack had appeared 4' up from the base where a number of limbs joined the trunk. It was 23 years old. While the tree was pretty in spring (and ours had no offensive smell, thankfully) it never acquired a nice shape and it was only useful to provide shade for the deck and back of the house in summer. Pics are before & after the storm. While it provides some fruit for the birds, has nice spring and fall color, I wouldn't re-plant.

  • rusty_blackhaw

    Seeing this thread hanging on reminds me to go drive down a quiet commercial strip a couple miles away to see their long stretch of Bradfords in full fall color. They must have shelled out big bucks over the years to prune and remove dead limbs, but the trees still look pretty good.

    "their drainage ways along heavily traveled 2/4 lane roads are just exploding with pears"

    Doesn't it pi$$ you off when such natural reservoirs of beauty fall prey to invasive species?

  • Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis

    Yes. St Charles County along Hwy 370 has the same problem. The ppl selling (and buying) them should let me open a kudzu stand in the old south so I can make a buck.

  • Ericka Grabovsky

    'The Pros and Cons of Bradford Pears' from the Frederick Co., MD. Master Gardener Program (see duluthinbloomz4- 2009 post which includes a portion of what is below)

    "A combination of plant physiology and physics makes the Bradford very susceptible to wind and ice damage - in fact, it's rare to see an old planting that doesn't have at least one tree missing a substantial chunk of its limbs and trunk. The angle of the Bradford's branches is generally too narrow, and as the tightly-crowded branches grow in girth, the tree begins to push itself apart. At the first strong wind or heavy ice storm, the tree self-destructs.'"

    duluthinbloomz4 goes on to say "Same can be said for the Clevelands" however the same article bolsters the Cleveland. "If you basically like the tree, but are concerned about its problems (or about your friend's snide comments) you might try another cultivar called Cleveland Select, also known as Cleveland, Select, Chanticleer or Stone Hill. This cultivar is less susceptible to wind or ice damage, and it also hardens up a little earlier in the fall,making it less likely to be hurt by an early frost."

    Also, thankfully jimbobfeeny(5a IN)-2013 shares descriptions from the UConn Horticulture website about the appearance of the callery pears

  • hamburglar1

    From what I have seen in street plantings... the older Bradfords obviously had breakage problems, but they were also more attractive and had a better chance of fall coloring. The newer Cleveland versions send up more vertical sprouts than branches, and fall coloring is not as consistent. At least around here.
    I am no fan of pears. But if I were to plant one, I'd rather have the more attractive version that falls apart. Not sure if they are still available though.

  • tlbean2004

    Tornado How is your Callery Pear holding up?

  • L Clark (zone 4 WY)

    Just read this thread. It delivers for sure! lol. I'm convinced that the same person came back under 4-5 different user names to defend the honor of the callery pear.

    Seems like some aesculus with pretty flowers could be a good replacement

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