Bradford Pear Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Dallastown, PA
Avatar for lmichaels2
Question by lmichaels2
March 6, 2006
I have been told by a local nursery that Bradford Pears are garbage and will split apart in 10-13 years because they grow too fast. I have four pear trees on my property when I bought it. How do I know if they are Bradford Pears? Are there any good pear trees? Does pruning help keep them longer?

Thank you!

Answer from NGA
March 6, 2006
I don't think I would go so far as to say they are garbage, they are really lovely ornamental trees. The problem is that they tend to be a bit weak wooded and have tight branch angles that can eventually split, for instance when they are old and large and become weighted down in a bad winter storm with wind, snow and ice. So their life span usually is not as long as we might like. Pruning can't really correct it -- especially once they have some size -- because it is just their natural overall structure. They have somewhat fallen out of favor as a result. There are some other cultivars of ornamental pear with better branching (and good disease resistance especially fireblight) that are less likely to break apart. Your local professionally trained and certified nurseryman should be able to show you these. Of course keeping the tree in overall good health will help, too. If breakage is a concern, I would suggest you plant something else with better chances of withstanding storms, possible an ornamental crabapple for example. I hope this helps.

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