PlantsPears→Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford')

Common names:
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9a
Plant Height: 50 feet
Plant Spread: 40 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Flowering Tree
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Pollinators: Various insects
Miscellaneous: Goes Dormant


Top 50 Trees and ShrubsTop 50 Trees and Shrubs
By dave on July 5, 2014

Let's open Trees and Shrubs week with a list of the most popular of these woody plants in our database. There are a lot of great plants in this list!

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Posted by Meldu512 on Oct 3, 2020 2:40 PM

Use caution when planting the Bradford Pear. Our neighborhood used them extensively as street trees ten years ago. Two years ago Fireblight Disease hit the trees and our HOA has now spent over 30,000.00 to remove and replace these trees.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2013 7:10 AM

These trees are subject to breakage and are easily broken or split in very windy conditions. Almost every year a number of mature specimens are lost here.

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Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Jan 15, 2013 11:52 AM

The Bradford Pear was for years a common street tree in Boston's Fort Point Channel district. Generally thought to be low maintenance, its fairly upright habit is particularly well suited to the narrow sidewalks common throughout much of Boston while the root system creates little or no heaving of brick sidewalks. Many side streets, planted exclusively with Bradfords, create a wonderful spring display. Unfortunately over the years the very windy conditions of this harbor-side area have taken a toll and the Bradfords have fallen out of favor.

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Posted by virginiarose (Virginia - Zone 8a) on Feb 2, 2014 10:34 AM

Flowers are sterile but can cross-pollinate with other trees and produce thousands of tiny pears that produce thorny seedlings, which are invasive.

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Posted by virginiarose (Virginia - Zone 8a) on Feb 2, 2014 10:20 AM

Surface roots and deep shade make it impossible to grow grass under it.

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Posted by virginiarose (Virginia - Zone 8a) on Feb 2, 2014 10:21 AM

Spring flowers smell like fish.

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Posted by gardengus (Indiana Zone 5b) on Jun 8, 2014 3:37 PM

I take care of several of these trees at several homes. I personally think they create a beautiful display in the spring, but they smell awful. I have several problems with them: breakage from rather moderate or heavy winds, the endless suckers from shallow roots, and seedlings everywhere. They are on the invasive ''watch list'' of some states and banned in some cities.
I do not and would not own one of these trees. There are many other good choices for a small flowering tree.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 24, 2018 7:40 PM

'Bradford' was the first great cultivar of this Callery Pear from China that was released in the 1970's. It had a broad and very rounded form. It bore very little of the tiny brown pears at first, until other cultivars were planted around also and there was cross-pollination. Callery Pear is a weak, brittle-wooded tree and the 'Bradford' cultivar was especially susceptible to a lot of storm breakage. I remember a few that broke right in two in northeast Illinois back in the 80's and 90's. The nursery industry discontinued it by 2000 because of its weakness. No great loss.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Tree ID - Weed Trees? by cydiku May 15, 2021 5:52 PM 6
Is this tree a serviceberry? Apple? What is it? by JuniperAnn May 10, 2021 4:09 PM 8
white flowering tree ID by macktree8 Apr 21, 2021 10:56 AM 3
what tree is this? by urbanplantswoman Jan 29, 2021 10:54 AM 12
Is this a white dogwood tree by ColorsAlison5 Mar 21, 2020 3:01 PM 8
Is This A Shrub or Weed? by krwshl Aug 28, 2019 1:12 PM 11
Can you help identify?? by Mrsmarshall6411 Mar 27, 2019 2:02 PM 12
Purple flowering trees in San Diego by DoveSoup Aug 11, 2018 10:45 AM 26
Early spring bloomer by MISSINGROSIE Mar 8, 2018 10:35 PM 9
Tree Identification help by DieselVB Mar 3, 2018 8:27 PM 14

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