Advise - tree to replace our Bradford Pear

piscesgirlFebruary 23, 2014

We have a 30+ year old Bradford Pear (approx 30-35' tall) that unfortunately took a severe hit in the Philadelphia area ice storm and lost a major limb and is split to the base of the trunk. Several tree arborists have advised us to remove it (only one told us to save it with cabling).

After much debate we have decided to remove the tree and would love some advise on what would be the best tree to replace it based on our location and needs.

Here are the facts and what we are looking for:
-Zone 6 (7a if you look at the new zone map)

-Tree is located on southeast corner of house and gets partial sun due to the south end of our lot being against woods.

-Prefer a flowering tree (or at the very least a visually interesting tree) since that side of the house is near the woods and everything else is just a sea of green in the background.

-Tree is located next to our back wood deck and also could overhang our front flagstone porch so we would prefer a tree that isn't messy or drops any staining fruit.

-A plus would be a fragrant tree but don't want to attract too many bees (again near deck where our dining table is) or birds (don't want bird poo stains on deck or porch). Some ok...just don't want swarms of bees or birds.

-Tree is approx 9' from house. Can't really place it any further from house due to slopped lot. Need a tree that doesn't get too wide. As it was our Bradford Pear had to be constantly trimmed away from our house

--Lot slopes at that end of house, deck is 8'+ high at the top of the railing. Would like a tree that is tall and offers us privacy so when we sit on our deck we don't see our neighbors. Thinking we are needing at least 20' tall.

- Would like a fast grower that will offer us privacy soon, but also want a tree that is going to last a long time (so disease resistant and storm resistant). good thing is the house does provide a great deal of shelter to the tree.

-House is red brick, 2 story tall colonial

Thinking we need a narrow, upright, columnar or pyramidal tree. Debating whether we replace with another stronger sturdier pear like Chanticlear or Cleveland. Any other suggestions?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

please stay away from any pear ....

a pear... is a pear.. is a pear.. is a pear ... get the theme ...

i read all your words.. any chance at a pic...

and why cant you plant a tree on a slope.. to get it further away??? .. there is just one or two tricks to do such ..

nothing .. FAST GROWING... will magically stop at your requested height ...

will you being doing this yourself .. or installed ...

please destroy the number of the idiot who wants you to waste your money.. cabling a pear.... crikey ... i suppose he will even come back in a few years.. and you can pay him again.. when it breaks elsewhere ... let him pay for his own boat ... blimey ...

the whole point of flower fragrance is to attract bees.. to pollinate the fruit.. . you either want fragrance.. or you dont ... and bees mind their own business ... i would take fragrance over stink [especially your pear stink] any day ... bees have business to attend to.. and unless you interfere with said business... they have tunnel vision ...

have you considered conifers???

so many questions.. a couple opinions.. and so little time ...


ps: if you can move a few feet into the slope.. you can save a lot of money on grinding out the pear stump, as long as whoever cuts down the tree... applies stump killer

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 5:44PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Perfectionist much?
Electrified artificial tree that squirts perfume on demand. Otherwise get a tarp (with flowers on it) over you deck, and build a tall fence all covered with bird netting. Those are more realistic options to meet your long list of expectations, than any living plant.


This post was edited by arktrees on Sun, Feb 23, 14 at 18:24

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 6:18PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

20' is within the size range of a medium to largeish shrub, so consider a shrub also, not just trees. Sometimes a large shrub can do the job required better than a tree that requires professional pruning to keep it under control. Many can be limbed up (if need be) and function as patio-sized trees.

As previously posted, the fastest growing plants are rarely the prettiest, most well-behaved, choicest selections. Slower growers are often worth the wait.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 6:28PM
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I second the suggestion to consider a large shrub instead of a small tree. In addition to be more appropriate in size, shrubs tend to have more of the characteristics you're looking for: nice flowers, fragrance, etc.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:22PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

What about a flowering crabapple with small, persistent fruit - you can select for leaf colour, blossom colour, fruit colour, shape(full or tall and narrow) or perhaps a mountain ash - the berries are persistent also - appeals to winter feeding birds when you`re not likely to be out on your deck.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:29PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

If everyone on your street does not have one, I vote for a Cornus kousa with white flowers for contrast with your house. Our native dogwood is prone to more issues but is not a bad choice where it does well.

The Crabapples are a great choice also. A billion varieties.

There are small tree-ish forms of Serviceberry as well. These seem to have great fall color.

If you come upon Crepe myrtles take their cold hardiness with a grain of salt. Mine have a tendency to behave more like a perennial than a large shrub or small tree. If they established enough to stand this last winter I will take that back.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 12:36AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

A number of deciduous magnolias are quite narrow and fastigiate. Rare Find nursery has a pretty good choice--and so does Fairweather Gardens, but unfortunately, the latter is closed for this year. M. 'Daybreak' might be an excellent choice--magnificent flowers with magnificent scent and quite narrow. Check it out.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:16AM
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"I have my raincoat for the resultant eggs"

While they have their draw backs, like a slightly unpleasant odor when you put your noise in the flowers, Cleveland pears meet most of your requirements. Relatively fast growing, white flowers, compact, and taller than they are wide. Etc. Being more compact they are less prone to damage than Bradfords.

Depending where you are, Apricot trees can be a very attractive addition to the yard. In this area (20 miles east of Raleigh NC) they are an early blooming tree that are relatively small. Problem they are hard to find. We have been trying to catch some at the right time in the spring for several years now to take cuttings. We are going to try again this spring.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Hmm. Maybe a cryptomeria, arborvitae or a Sweet Bay magnolia?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:54PM
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I don't know how it is where you are but Sweet Bay magnolias area hard to come by around here. I in my experience they are hard to transplant but once transplanted are hard to kill.

I like the smell and think it is a very nice tree.

We had one when we lived in Wilmington NC. It was essentially a 20' pole, with very few leaves. It took several years to realize why the tree was a pole. We were in our dinning room one day and watched a squirell, systematical cut all of the leaves on the tree and using them to build her nest. She must have liked the Sweet Bay also, as each year after she did the same thing.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Sweet bay (Mag. virginiana) is offered at most nurseries in this area. I prefer var. australis as it's more reliably evergreen.

'Henry Hicks' and 'Moonglow' are also at least semi-evergreen I believe.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 10:29AM
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Down here on the gulf coast Sweetbays get up to 60' tall, and they're all evergreen. Mostly a swamp tree.

Maybe you could use something like a Nellie Stevens holly? No flowers but it would have berries. Also, you'll need to apply herbicide to the pear stump, or else that thing will send up suckers everywhere.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 9:53PM
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