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Lawn & Garden

Cut Down That Bradford Pear

The over use of a non-indigenous species of plant can sometimes have catastrophic, unintended consequences to the ecosystem. The latest example of this would be the introduction of the Bradford pear. Those white flowering trees that you will see blooming everywhere in February and March is the Callery "Bradford" pear. After the farm outside of my neighborhood was abandoned, I watched its pasture, that once fed dozens of cows turn into a 15 acre Callery Pear forest in a matter of 7 years.

Image result for Bradford pear "home depot"

This tree became so popular so fast due to its ability to withstand all conditions, its fast growth rate, its tight shape and its beautiful white flowers in the spring time. This tree had secrets that would not be introduced until 14 to 20 years after it was planted.  This tree would develop weak joints and start splitting with the slightest breeze. This is where growers started looking for better alternatives and the unintended consequences started.

The Bradford pear, like other pears, had to have a pollinator to produce fruit. For so long this tree was not really producing much fruit because there were not really many popular types of pears to pollinate this tree. This changed as growers started to come up with “better” cultivars that would not develop weak joints. Varieties like ‘Cleveland Select’, ‘Aristocrat’ and ‘Chanticleer’ were the solution.

Image result for callery pear home depot

These 4 varieties are all Callery pears and therefore, these trees started cross pollinating with the millions of Bradford pears that were over used. This produced inedible fruit that birds loved to eat. The birds would then start distributing the seeds everywhere.

The Callery pear rootstock was the tree of choice when it came to grafting Bradford pears. The Callery pear itself is not so desirable as it lacks the shape that comes with the Bradford and it has long, sharp thorns. When Bradford pears were cut down they came back up, below the graft as this hideous thorny pear. The seeds from the fruit are also that of the Callery pear.

This tree is now coming up everywhere. It is taking over forests and killing off indigenous plants that other plants and animals count on for shelter and food. Its ability to deal with shade or sun makes it especially dangerous. If you see these trees coming up on your land, I would recommend cutting it down and killing the stump because the problem gets exponentially worse year after year.

Cut this tree down and apply Round Up concentrate (Glyphosate) to the stump with a brush immediately after cutting it down.

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Posted 2017-01-26T16:01:25+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL