Can you start a new tree from a cutting?

bigbadbenMay 15, 2007

This may be a dumb question, but Im no Horticulturalist. Im a newby, so if this is dumb, take it easy on me.

I have several types of trees on my property, Oaks, Maples, Cleveland & Bradford Pears, Black Locust, Pecan, etc.....

A few of the younger trees have these new sprouts that shoot up from near the root ball, I cut them off just to clean up the appearance of the tree. Is there any way to get those cutting to root & start a new tree? Or does it just go into the brush pile as usual?

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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

You can certainly grow trees from cuttings just like any plant but it depends on the species. Those you mentioned sound fine if a little slow,especially the oak. You say they have shoots coming from the base,near the rootball? They sound like suckers to me,but on a young plant? Some species do sucker a lot but many are grafted onto other related trees for extra vigour,and the suckers then produced are parts of the original tree that a plant was grafted onto,rather than the part that we want,but it all depends on what trees you have.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 10:26AM
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The Bradford & Cleveland Pears are doing it more than the others. They are all under 5 years old, and have been doing it since the year I planted them.

I wasnt going to fool with the Oaks, they are so slow growing, and I have a ton of them anyway. The Black locusts are shooting suckers up all over the place. I wont mess with them since they seems to multiply on their own very well.

I will probably just try it with the Pears since they are decorative. (I know a lot of folks hate them, but we like them)

What is the best process to get the clippings to start roots? Remember, Im a rookie, so use laymans terms!!! :-)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 10:40AM
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On many trees you can take cuttings and grow them with varying degrees of success. However most trees are not propagated this way. Varieties of trees are grafted onto rootstock of another tree most of the time. Trying to root cuttings is a pain in the rump. Requires a good deal of expense to get set up. It is much easier with other types of plants in the garden. And some trees can be easily grown from seed. Black locust is one example and oaks can be grown from acorns.

Please do not propagate or plant bradford or cleveland pears. Besides many of those trees from the garden centers may be patented.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 11:19AM
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"Please do not propagate or plant bradford or cleveland pears."

As I stated, I know some of dont like Decorative Pears. Your preference in trees is not the context of this thread, and will not change my opinion of the tree.

I like them and Im asking how to propagate them from cuttings. If someone knows and has advice, I would truly appreciate it, but no need in trying to convince me to dislike them.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 3:10PM
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The pears are an invasive species in many states and if not too many people are giving you free advice that is to your liking, it is probably because nobody wants to aid and abet the proliferation of Pyrus. $250 Billion in damage is caused annually in the US alone by invasives. We need more Pyrus calleryana like we need more japanese beetles.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 3:40PM
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Somone has an awfully big soap box.

I think I will swing by the nursery today to pick up a half dozen Bradford Pears and plant them in your honor.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 3:54PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

If the trees in question are named varieties, it may be that they have been patented. This means that one person, or a university or company, holds the rights to growing that tree, and other people can do so only by permission. While doing so for yourself isn't really infringing on the patent, I would double check to see if there is a patent on either of the trees.

For some trees, throwing up root suckers is a sign of stress. I don't know if flowering pears do so or not, but you might want to look into that also.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 7:46PM
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If you like Bradford and Cleveland Pears you are Unamerican. My Dad, sisters, and brother bought a 6-foot Bradford Pear as as a present for our first born daughter. We planted it together as a family and each year on our daughter's birthday we take a picture of her standing next to the tree. It has horrible white flowers in the Spring. Everything seemed great at first....until it took over our entire property. Soon we had Bradford Pears sprouting everywhere, being that it was an invasive species and all. It cost us over $200,000 just to get rid of them. Ok...just kidding. Except that we like them too. Hey, it's a tree, and shouldn't we just relax a bit? I think it's great that you planted them and enjoy them. I know the particular species has it's ups and downs but please fellow forum members, chill out. I see too much of the term "invasive" being thrown around. They are NOT invasive. Maybe a bit overplanted (ok they are)and I know they are prown to ice damage and not super long lived and you see them in every sub and mall area and maybe they aren't native(?) but to each his/her own. At least people care enough to plant a tree. Birds nest in them, the little "pears" are eaten by wildlife, and frankly, I like ours and don't care what people think. When was the last time you saw a crazy field of Bradford Pears? To respond to your post, you can get root hormone from your local garden center (read the bottle, the hormone levels are not all the same for a tree (versus a hydrangea or plant cutting). Take about a 2-8" cutting just below a node or leaf. Lightly wet it and dip it into the hormone powder(slightly rough the stem a bit). The roots will grow where the powder covers, hopefully). Place the cutting into a mixture of sand and peat potting soil, making sure the hole is large enough so the powder isn't rubbed off when planting. Keep soil moist until roots are formed. I agree with other members that it's a bit of a pain in the butt and it takes a long time. And please I am not an expert and would like to learn more about this also so experts please advise! Regardless, it's fun....enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 12:26AM
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That is the info I was looking for, and you did it in a non-invasive way. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:01AM
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Smallmouth, actually they are invasive. Maybe not volunteering in your yard but they are taking over natural areas unbeknownst to those planting them.

The last time I saw a "field of bradford pears" was yesterday when I drove down interstate 85.

Bigbadben, if you insist on planting pears, I assure you that you will eventually regret it. And I ask you nicely once more please don't do it. Be a responsible gardener and a good steward of the land. Why not grow something far more desirable that people might actually pay you a lot of money for instead of something they can get at K-mart for $9.99?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:17AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Being in the UK we dont see Bradford Pears and I would like a cutting of one to grow as a bonsai.(Or a seed) When you say theyre invasive, do you mean they set seed everywhere? I cant see that happening with an ornamental so do they uproot themselves and climb over peoples fences?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:33AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Larry, what they do is set a LOT of little inedible-to-people pears, that birds eat. The birds then spread the seeds far and wide. When the tree was first sold, it was thought to be sterile. After it had been in production for a few years, and a few other flowering pear varieties were released, they found that with cross-pollination it is NOT sterile. So, yes, you do see fields of seedlings as you drive along the road.

And I don't think you would like it as a bonsai - the flowers stink. From a distance, for about 2 weeks, it is a cloud of white, but the rest of the year, I personally don't like the shape of it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 11:01AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Some people refuse to be educated. When the subject matter is something that affects only themselves, that's fine. But the pear situation is a real one. It not only makes no sense to plant this smelly, short-lived, non shade providing tree, but it is irresponsible.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 1:19PM
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Okay, you want to educate. What are your credentials? Show me some documented proof. Give me links to case studies.

What scientific evidence do you have to support this theory?

Its funny that we have all these liberal tree huggers yelling "save mother earth", "plant trees", "stop deforestation". Now they are being picky about which trees are planted?

I love trees, but Im far from a hugger. I also have faith that God designed this planet well enough to take care of itself.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 2:49PM
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Type callery pear invasive into google you'll get lots of links.

But here's one for you with lots of pictures.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 3:47PM
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I went to the links & read the page.

This is the only thing mentioned that is even close to saying it is invasive.

EFFECTS OF INVASION: Naturalized callery pear competes with native early successional trees in old fields and hedgerows.

Where is all the information on how it is destroying the universe? And where are the numbers backing up your claim that it is causing $250 Billion in damage per year?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:05AM
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Are you ignorant or what?

Anyone who is doing any type of tree planting or gardening should be responsible and informed of the type of invasive plants/trees they may be planting. And really we should only be planting natives. I never really knew, or for that matter cared about the flowering pears until this post. But I know one thing I would have never planted one. My neighbor planted a couple rows down their drive - they flower briefly - and then they look like an average tree. One even died and fell over - only to be replaced by another. I can name several native trees that would have been a better choice. Plus why not plant a real pear tree - that you can actually produce / pick / and eat a real pear from. We live in a culture that we hardly produce any food. Even it is simply planting some fruit trees.

Also, I have faith in God.... but I don't think God intended for us to play God. I am a beekeeper - just take a look at what happened when a scientist tried to play God - Killer Bees (Africanized bees).....

Anyway - could go on and on.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:36AM
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I don't think I like your snotty tone. You're being rather disrespectful and worse yet is you're putting words in my mouth.
I will wrap this up by saying there are more than enough debates archived on this forum and sites on the internet to answer your questions. I'm not famous for being a patient person so maybe someone who is more teacherly will take over from here.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:39AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Get shantung maple instead. Much better than bradford pears...

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 12:49PM
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The callery pears are indeed invasive. Like QQ, I've seen those densely-populated fields/forests of callery pear seedlings along the interstate in AL, and often, on trips back home to east-central AL, at Christmas, I while away the miles/hours by counting callery pear seedlings in the highway median, next to utility pole guywires, in roadside fences, etc. - they're easy to spot, because even in late Dec/Jan, they're still sporting their fall coat of colorful leaves.
A coworker and I are walking two miles or so at lunch every day, and part of our route is around the perimeter of and alongside the parking lots & driveway of the community college across the street from my office. If not for the groundskeepers mowing the expansive lawn areas on a regular basis, it would be a veritable forest of callery pears. As we walk along, I can spot thousands of new callery pear seedlings sprouting up in the grass underneath the canopies of the mature pin oaks(thinning due to combined effects of heavy stem/branch galls and bacterial leaf scorch) and pecans. Only the mower keeps them at bay - but that's not the case elsewhere - I'm seeing them popping up with greater frequency in every ditch and untended fencerow - areas that used to be populated primarily by P.serotina, M.alba, A.negundo, and various trashy elms.
See the article linked below.

Now, as to your desire to root the suckers popping up around your pear - if you have a 'named' variety, like "Bradford", "Cleveland Select", etc., it is grafted/budded onto seedling callery pear rootstock, so what you'll likely end up with, if you're successful, is a vegetatively-propagated clone of a thorny seedling callery pear which may be inferior, in all respects, to the named-variety plant you're desiring to reproduce.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Coming Plague of Pears

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 2:13PM
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jgarzasr, Name calling? Nice. Planting a tree is playing God? Ive heard it all now. Im going to manipulate the species so they will eat children! Better watch out.

quirky, I could care less about your patients. You are a nameless faceless know it all on an internet message board. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Its really pathetic.

You made a point, I asked you to prove it and you havent. You claimed $250 Billion in damage, no proof. Don't tell me to "go look it up for yourself". I asked you to prove it and you cant.

I didnt ask YOU for your advice anyway. I even stated in my post:(I know a lot of folks hate them, but we like them)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 3:23PM
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treeguy123(AL 7b)

I think the Bradford pear is a beautiful tree in many ways, and you can plant them if you want to because itÂs your decision, but here is some thing you might want to consider before spending lots of money and time on them.

Here is the story on the Bradford Pear:

Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana). All those wonderful white flowering trees were not planted by a beautification board. So how did they come to be there?

The Bradford pear came into existence when the U.S. Department of Agriculture was looking to improve the rootstock of our commercial pear trees. They imported over one hundred pounds of Pyrus calleryana seed into the United States in 1918. From among this seed stock the Bradford pear was developed, a marvelous, fast growing and elegantly shaped tree with the added benefit that it was self-sterile and so did not produce fruit.

But things were too good to be true. The Bradford pear had one huge shortcoming: Branches form a narrow crotch with the trunk, making them extremely weak. After approximately 20 years of growth, just as a Brad-ford pear starts to reach its greatest splendor, it easily breaks apart in a thunderstorm or from a coating of ice.

To improve the Bradford pear tree and rectify this problem, a series of new callery pear trees were developed and introduced that did not suffer from this narrow crotch problem. Suddenly, the self-sterile Bradford pear was not alone! Now it could cross-pollinate with all these new callery pear trees. This previously "sterile" tree now started to produce fruit. While very small in size, the quantity of fruits made up for any lack in girth. It is these fruits, probably eaten by birds, which caused the tremendous spread of hybrid callery pears sprouting on every hillside in many areas of the U.S.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 4:46PM
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You're an internet troll.
Since so many trolls pick fights on the forums, Ivillage came out with a special forum for trolls like bigbadben to find other ways to pleasure themselves.

Enjoy your pears. I hope it costs you a fortune to have them removed when they self destruct.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:56PM
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Im not trolling for anything. Read back through this thread and evaluate everything said.

I asked for some advice about starting a tree from a cutting. Then you started criticizing me for planting this invasive tree that has caused $250 Billion in damage.

I came here looking for tips, not lectures on the type of trees I planted. You started the argument.

I dont mind being in disagreement, we all have opinions, and sharing them is what this forum is for. You stated your opinion as fact, and I asked for your qualifications and proof. You consider that picking a fight?

I repeatedly and nicely stated that I liked the Bradford Pears, and you kept hounding me about them. You picked the fight not me.

Name calling & accusations are very childish.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 9:33AM
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rokoku(z6b PA)

Much thanks to all who have contributed to this wonderful thread. bigbadben, you have not acted in any way like a troll, and if you can breed a variety that eats European starlings instead of children, all will be right with the world.
Clearly the species has no regard for rambling net discussions or patents (thank goodness) and will probably be going strong when the patent office is dust and the last spark of the web has fizzled. I'm picturing an arid and sun-scorched Earth with sparrows, starlings, rats, and other critters thanking their lucky stars they've still got hard little pears for food and lollipop trees for shade.
Funny that someone would plant a tree alone in the midst of a (non-native) lawn and fault the tree when it fails.
Funny also how plants that are useful to humans are exempt from vague morality regarding invasive species. Heck, if you want to make a difference in this world let's forget the pears and start work on criminalizing poison ivy.
Anyway, as a gardener/plant enthusiast, i think i won't get all up-tight about moving plants into new environments. That's what gardeners do, right?
On the other hand, where will all our amazing and diverse native plants grow if we don't choose to grow them here?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 11:54PM
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Ben, the I can't remember where I found the $250B figure off the top of my head. I may have book marked it but whatever the case it was from a reputable source. It takes into account all invasive species not just callery pears and not just trees. It also includes invasive insects, mammals, reptiles, agricultural weeds, you name it. Think like Ash borers and things like that. Loss of habitat for endangered endemic species of wildlife is not something you can ever repair no matter how hard you try. I would look through my bookmarks to find the source if you were not so rude.

As for my credentials, I have two eyes and I can see the invasive species everywhere and I can read the reports. This isn't some kind of propaganda.

Rokoku... Sorry but I don' really understand what you're rambling on an on about, maybe I'm too stupid. Maybe because I've been brainwashed by the propaganda put out by the department of agriculture and forest service.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 7:25PM
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Cuttings aren't easy for most species. Grow some seed and graft them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 10:49PM
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This is even too geeky for me. My God it's like a Star Trek Convention. Actually, I did learn quite a bit so thanks for all.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 11:55PM
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I was just browsing the internet to learn how to start a tree and came accross your thread. I wanted you all to know that even though a few will stubbornly ignore the information and good advice, I and many others have learned something new and will heed your advice. Thanks for caring enough to take the time to share your knowledge.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 11:02AM
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I came to this site to find out about starting trees from cuttings and now I'm not sure if I want to do that or go yank my 2 bradford pears out of the ground. I got them because they were inexpensive and said they would grow tall quickly to help with the hot west Texas sun. For all of you who apparently hate them SORRY I didn't know. So Now what

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 11:33AM
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lalea, most people who plant them are not aware of the problems, nor are most retailers. Heck, I've even purchased invasives by mistake. Growers keep growing them because it's cheap and easy, stores keep selling them and people keep planting. The wheels spin round and round.

I've been known to remove invasives just on principle alone but I like to set a good example. I'm weird. If your state lists callery pear as the highest level of invader then I suggest taking it out. If it is a big tree or not practical to remove and it is not the highest level of invasiveness I would say let it live out it's live if its not a safety hazard.
If the tree(s) are recently planted and are on your state's do-not-plant list or even if they aren't but are exhibiting invasive tendencies and escaping into natural areas, I would suggest taking the trees back to place of purchase and ask for a refund or store credit.
Once upon a time I returned some barberis shrubs for this reason and got my money back.

In some places selling certain invasives is illegal and you might insist that selling invasive weeds is not ethical nor a good way to ensure repeat business if a store credit or refund is not issued.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 12:45PM
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Where can I find my state's (California) list of plants not to plant? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 12:33AM
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Catankgirl, there's a link below with your name on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: This link's for you.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 8:56AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I always get a kick out of it when someone chooses to pursue information by asking strangers on a forum rather than by doing their own research, and then yells at people for not giving them what they want to hear.

Bigbadben, if you want to know how to start trees from cuttings, there is a multitude of books and websites on the subject that will give you the information without judging your tastes. If you want to be saved the work of consulting those sources, then you open yourself to hearing things you didn't ask.

We may all be nameless and faceless to you, but you came here willingly, knowing the terms, and asked for info. People who come here to answer questions come here for the freedom to express themselves, among other things. Listening to that is the price of admission.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 2:22PM
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"yelling at people for not giving them what they want to hear" would also include QQ's lecture on what and what not to plant (which, incidentally, is a matter of opinion and rightfully stated)...I tend to think that bigbadben was simply seeking information and/or advice on:

HOW (keyword here is HOW) to start a tree from a cutting...and not...

IF (notice how the initial inquiry changes its intent?) to start a tree from a cutting...

I do believe it was a question from a strictly horticultural perspective and not a moral debate

plant your tree bigbadben and God bless

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 1:56AM
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no wories mate, acording to the pictures when we get an ice storm all the bradfords will die ...thats why the cost is so high you have to replace them every two years .by the way, driving down the hwy seeing fields of white flowerd trees.Hmmm ,not pretty?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 5:50AM
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I'm out in dry Nevada, between mountains and desert and start my own cottonwoods and poplars as we have a lot of land to cover. Not hard at all to start trees. I put the cuttings in a bucket of water and a place with a steady temperature, like a garage. Don't let them freeze and thaw in the bucket! You'll end up with rotted pulp!

In a few weeks, leaves will bud at the same rate at new roots. That's when you move them to a container of dirt. Stake them if they're outside so that the wind doesnt move them and rub off the tiny roots. Saved myself hundreds of dollars doing it like this.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 4:40PM
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How can I get rid of tree seedlings gorwing up all over the lawn?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:25AM
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This is without question one of the most shocking threads I have ever read in a garden forum before. quirkyquercus, you are an ahole. Yes, I am name calling as there are certain people that deserve no better. Bigbadben, I hope you did not take an ounce of what that imbecile said seriously. Internet know it all's that can't back up thier BS. They are a dime a dozen these days and quirkyquercus is a perfect example of just that. 250 billion in damage, lol. Thats hilarious. Some people just have to push thier opinion on others. They simply don't know any better.

You want to worry about something, try worrying about the 78 million pounds of insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides that homeowners apply, per year, to their homes, lawns, and gardens. That doesnt include applications made by pest control or lawn care professionals. On a per acre basis, this is three times more pesticides than the amount used on agricultural crops.

complaining because someone wants to plant a Cleveland or Bradford pear tree, lol. Hilarious, absolutely hilarious. There are a million legimate things to worry about in this world before you even get close to the types of tree's people are planting. Get a grip and most importantly, stop pusing your BS opinion on others.

This post was edited by gotmyorangecrush on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 16:07

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:46PM
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"I always get a kick out of it when someone chooses to pursue information by asking strangers on a forum rather than by doing their own research, and then yells at people for not giving them what they want to hear."

Thats funny, becasue that is one of the main purposes of internet forums like these. Not too bright are you.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 4:09PM
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are you aware that you resurrected a thread from several years ago? You are addressing QQ who last posted here 7 years ago.
Am not about to get into the debate about bradford pear. Do a search on this forum and you will see it has been debated ad nauseam.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 4:34PM
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