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growth of bradford pear trees

Posted by cjducote 8 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 22, 08 at 23:03

we just bought 5 bradford pear trees and plan on buying 4 more but anyway i was wondering how fast do they grow... they are about 4 and a half foot right now... does anyone know how much they will grow in a year? Oh and i don't want to know your comments about disliking this type of tree all i would like is my question answered. Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Since you sound like a pleasant person Ill help you out. But I wont answer your question.

Its not a good time to ask after you bought 5 and plan on more. My personal preference is to think about things like that before I buy them. Consider that before your next purchase. Good luck clown puncher.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

averbisadverbera:: ok see you are useless just like your comment... don't worry about how many i've bought or going to buy... ok... oh and by the way name caller do you know how childish that is. PLEASE don't even bother answering my questions again


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

They'll grow fast (60-90cm/year) for a few years, and then disintegrate, leaving an expensive clear-up job (possibly including damaged buildings and/or dead people underneath them). Make sure you are prepared for the future costs by investing in suitable insurance now!

Oh, they'll also seed themselves all over the place, creating a nasty thorny thicket. And the flowers smell of a mix of vomit and rotten fish.

Resin


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

ditto what Resin said.

Or, instead of the insurance policy, you could just cut 'em off right below the first branch and graft on some good quality fruiting pears. Then you'll get blossoms and useful, tasty fruit, and they'll probably live longer than you, instead of self-destructing in about 10 years.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

I beg to differ. I usually chime in on the B Pear threads to remind that all gardening answers areultimately "local".

Bradford pears are "bad" trees in many places, but, not all. The odds are the original poster lives in an area where there are better choices. But, out here on the high, dry plains where I live they are NOT invasive. And, probably because they, like most trees, have to grow slower here than in tree growing regions like the east coast and England, they don't have much of a problem with splitting and "dissolving". In thirty years here, I've never seen a wild one, no spreading/invasiveness issue here. And, I can't remember seeing one split here.

Here is a picture I took a couple of days ago of 2 I planted in front of my first house in 1985 as far as how fast they grow:
Photobucket

And here is one in front a downtown building that is probably a little younger.
Photobucket

Lucky and Pineresin are very knowledgeable posters and usually give great answers. The pests that B Pear can be most places seems to have gotten them to speak maybe a little too broadly about good ol' Bradford Pears.

The other guy might want to consider its easy to think you know more than you do.

And, fwiw, if the original poster does live out this way, the biggest problem here with them is they get chlorotic in our highly alkaline soils and need extra iron to do their best.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Bradford pears may not be as bad as advertised. I've lived in this house for 11 years, and my neighbors had Bradford pears that were small - ?8' tall - when we moved in, but now they're huge, for a BP, that is. I'll make a picture of one some time today and post it - you wouldn't know they could get this big or live this long in apparent good health from what you read here.
Sherry


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

One that is 11 to 13 years old likely break apart in a thunderstorm winds within 5 to 12 year. They can take some strong wind when they are small to medium but after that they self destruct in the next medium strength thunderstorm when they reach a larger size some times just a medium size (Or a weak hurricane or a strong tropical storm down there Sherry). Bradford Pear very susceptible to storm damage where snowfall is heavy or when ice storms occur, or during the high winds of severe thunderstorms. Because of this, and the relatively short lifespan that results typically less than 25 years, (max age usually 30 to 35 years, if one can avoid a strong storm for 10 years straight, but will likely come down eventually). They break apart because they have weak branch crotch angles and they can Not support them selfs in a storm when they get a larger size.

Here is a picture of typical medium strength storm damage (that I've seen everywhere here) after 15 to 25 years of growth:
Typical damage picture

There flowers do stink awful, and really smell like a mix of vomit and rotten fish. And the flowers don't last that long in the spring. There are much better tree choices that bloom white in the spring.

The Callery Pear is proving to be an invasive species in some areas of North America, pushing out native American plants and trees. Seedling plants often differ from the selected cultivars in less regular shape, and also in frequently being densely thorny. They are spread by birds that eat the mini pears. I see being invasive in the area where I am.

Picture Link
Picture Link
Picture Link

Be sure to read these interesting links cjducote:
Info Link
Info Link
Info Link


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Here is one I took down the street from my house this morning. These, judging by the neighborhood (its a little older than the one where my old house was) are probably about 30 years old.

Non-invasive here and healthy as they can be. What is it they say in retail? Location, location, location. ;)

Photobucket


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RE: also

FWIW, NO one gets more wind than we do here. And, at least our fair share of snow and ice storms.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

I must agree with ncnaylor, in over 30 years of planting different cv.s in the park system I have yet to see a seedling from any ornamental pear--in our area, the arid high plains-- in the eastern part of the state the ornamental pear deserves all the bad press but here they have been a welcome addition. So saying, we even like boxelder and siberian elm while not planted anymore was a welcome addition to our rural forest area. Saying forest here would be defined by a half dozen trees near each other. Another welcome tree is the Norway maple and in over 55 years of planting them I have never seen a seedling.

The true tree pests here are the eastern red cedar, ailanthus and russian olive.

Last week I helped as a volunteer in a controlled burn with the forestry service that did clean out approximately 10,000 eastern red cedar that were taking over range land. Where prairie fires used to control these pests naturally in later years we have been more successful in halting these fires, now we know that fire on the prairie is normal and an act of regenerating the grasslands.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

RE: What is it they say in retail? Location, location, location. ;)

No, they say that in real estate, not retail to my knowledge :)

RE: ok see you are useless just like your comment.

Whatever. Im not so useless such that I couldnt google "bradford pear tree" and answer my own question in 16 seconds.

They grow fast and they're crappy here. And the SE if thats where you live where they are also fast growing and crappy. I see many that have outgrown their locations. Some that are damaged.

Here's a rule of thumb.. If cheap residential developers plant them all the time they are more likely than not to be cheap and fast growing. And another, if you see them at home depot or lowes and they have large bricks staked on the top of the container (to prevent blow over) they are underpotted fast growing junky trees. Pretty much anything you buy at a hardware store in quantities of five at a time are junk. Sorry. Thats why my first answer isnt useless its the best advice youve gotten. Think before you act. Fools rush in. etc. etc.

I like trees and I cant imagine planting nine of the same thing. Especially if they suck. I also cant imagine asking strangers a question in such a rude way. I prefer to save my rudeness and sarcasm for people like yourself.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

whoa, get a grip averbisadverbera...


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

And Happy Easter to you too! Sounds like the Easter Bunny skipped right past someone's house this morning.
Nothing brings our regular posters out of their long hibernation quicker than a bradford pear thread. I can speak with some authority on this topic because I live near the epicenter, Glen Dale MD, where BP was evaluated for over 40 years by the USDA. October '99 one of our extension agents edited the article which I have linked, and it has been reprinted many times.
We see fewer and fewer of them in the East because BP is being replaced by other callery cultivars. As these trees age, they are some of the ugliest trees I have ever seen. There are 52 weeks in the year, never choose a plant which is only desirable one of those weeks.
We used to have a running joke, on a Summer morning, don't slam your car door too hard, your BP will explode. The co-dominant leader causes them to split in the growing season.
Hurricane Isobel left ruined trees everywhere. The way I see it, RC Naylor's snow & ice storms don't figure into it, usually the problem happens in the growing season. Also, how are the climates of England and Eastern US similar? They are not even remotely similar.
It took a while for us to catch on too. The former mayor of Baltimore made BP the official city tree. It is now considered a discredited tree and the better nurseries have long since removed it from their inventory voluntarily. There are far too many better trees, why continue the debate over this Asian weed?
Sam
PS the flowers smell like dead fish.

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


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Based on my neighbors' BPs and the above pictures, I'd say you'll get good sized trees in 10 years. I don't know how long they live.
I don't want any myself, but for people who live in places where not much else will grow, then I'd say they're fine. I've never seen any seedlings on my property, even though my neighbors have them. Here's one of my neighbor's trees - my other neighbor (I don't have many) has them planted all along the road between the road and their front pond, but they've bloomed out, so I didn't take their picture. Most of the BPs I see are smaller than this, so they're undoubtedly not long lived.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Sherry


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Again, if folks had stayed with the old standard Bradford, we wouldn't be experiencing the invasiveness situation - but the introduction of Cleveland Select, Aristocrat, Redspire, etc. provided sources of pollen for fertilization, and the non-self fertile calleries exploded into fruit(and seed production) On trips south through TN & AL, I can count the callery seedlings easily in spring and winter, all along the interstate and highways, growing in the medians, sprouting next to utility pole guywires, in fencerows, etc. At interstate interchanges and several sites on the northern bypass around Montgomery AL, I've seen 40-acre blocks of what appear to be a near monoculture forest of callery pear seedlings - punctuated only by the occasional Albizia peeking out here and there.

Like Sam-MD's experience, self-demolition is more of a problem in the growing season, when their dense canopy tends to catch the wind and split them all to pieces.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

If there are two different cultivars of Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) such as: (Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select') the stronger branched cultivar, and the old (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford') the very weak cultivar in the same area, then those will become invasive because they can cross pollinate and they can now make seeds that are spread by birds. The more of these two cultivars there are (as well as others), the faster and the worse they will start spreading like a chain reaction. Dryness might be a factor also but it likely does not take a whole lot of moisture for them to sprout.

rcnaylor, the ones in the front yard are starting to reach the peak or fine line *Size*, (as well as the other large Bradford picture) where they are very sensitive to strong thunderstorm winds. They are very close to the breaking size that I've typical have observed on many many Bradford pears. Now it's likely a waiting game before you get that one thunderstorm probably within the next 5 to 15 years that will do them in. They have probably survived longer because of a mix of luck and dryness. Luck because there has probably been no high winds like 55 to 70 mph winds within the last 5 years, and dryness because it has kept them at a smaller size longer, compared to the wetter east and southeast. average breaking age here in the southeast: 20 to 30 years. Average breaking age in the Midwest where it is drier probably 35 to 45 years old if they are lucky.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

I think we are voicing similar ideas treeguy.

They do grow slower out here and that APPARENTLY makes them a little tougher.

One place I have to disagree with you on is the wind. We had 60 mile an hour wind here last Monday or Tuesday. Strong winds on a regular basis we have. Strong thunderstorms we have every year. Ice storm and snow storms, we have every year.

So, we get to your point, they probably are "only" good for maybe 35, 40, 45 years out here if maintained decently. Hey! Out here, that is a great ornamental tree choice.

And, fwiw, the old trees I planted were B pears, I have a Cleveland pear at my new house, so there have been plenty of chancs for them to cross here. Again, my guess is our climate is just too inhospitable for them to start surviving from seed.

Lastly, in areas where trees growing themselves is normal, I would not argue with anyone that B Pears are a good choice. But, in a large chunk of realty in this country - the plains, Rocky mountain region, inter-mountain region - my GUESS is that they are not a bad choice, and might even be one of the few that can survive, look pretty good and flower like they do.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

rcnaylor - I'd like to start a discussion about trees that will survive and thrive in areas with high winds, ice storms in winter, etc.

You live in Texas. I live in Virginia, on 5 1/2 acres on the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay. My property is in thirds - the 1.5 acres nearest the water (where the house is located) is a huge challenge. I've planted trees that people assured me will survive strong wind, either cold wind out of the N/NW, or (worse) hot winds out of the south that often go on for weeks. If I'm lucky, these trees don't die but they don't thrive either.

Fortunately, the rest of the property has some protection from the wind from a belt of pines. I think there are trees that can grow under these conditions but I haven't had much luck finding them.

I'll start a new thread on this subject in a day or two. I'm sure there are people on this forum who have experience with these conditions can help.

Many thanks,
Pam


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Yeah, I do they are very beautiful to look at the short time they do bloom in the spring, and they are resistant to disease and pest but personally I would never plant one, maybe only if I would want one for a rootstock when grafting a regular fruit pear on top. It would never be a white flowering tree choice for me because of all the many negatives definitely in the eastern U.S. And also they are way over planted in every area which makes them old to look at. It's good to mix up the types of trees in all areas to keep disease and pest from spreading like wildfire.

On the wind issue, I was meaning during the growing season when they are fully leafed out in 55 to 70 mph thunderstorm winds. The larger Bradford pears get the higher the chance of breakage and the lower the wind speed to break them becomes. Many or maybe most large Bradford pears even break in 40 to 50 mph winds (normal trees with good branch angles and roots can withstand 55mph+ winds like it was nothing during growing season). During the winter any deciduous tree can easily take very high winds because of significantly reduced air resistance when they have no leaves.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Fifteen years ago it was all the rage to plant Bradford pear trees all around my city. Today, over 80 percent of those trees have either broken and are showing very ugly damage, or have completely fallen apart right down the middle or worse and have had to be removed.

rcnaylor, in the first photo you posted above, it is easy to see that in the tree shown in the forefront, there is evidence exactly where this tree will break first. Do you see that slight canopy split just to the left of center near the top. That is evidence which reveals that one day in the unknown but not to distant future this tree will spit at the crotch which supports this part of the tree.

I know that dry conditions prevent these trees from growing heavy enough tree branches to easily break in a short time. But that does not mean they will not break once their branches do become to heavy for their narrow crotches to hold-up under the weight.

If your trees have taken a long time to get the size your photo shows, maybe the wood is much stronger than so many of the trees that have broken in my area. That can buy you time before the trees falls apart. Still there will come a time, if not now, you will be lucky if they are still standing 5 to 10 years from now.

Not to mention the trees could still be standing and may have not grown heavy enough branches that have already failed, but to be honest haven't your trees been producing flowers; in the spring, which most people detest with a passion, if they have to walk too close to these trees and smell the awful odor which originates from each flower filled canopy?


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Last spring when a severe thunderstorm blew by with the winds being over 50-60 MPH in my town (worse in nearby towns) and it was a mess. I drove around the town to see what didnt survive...

What didn't survive was the silver maples and bradford pears. The small ones did just fine but it was the larger ones that just broke apart in half. It's matter of time before that happens. Just when you got good shade from them, they break apart and you have to start over and you're already old...

Plant something else.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

those pics posted by rcnaylor are spectacular. they are also the larges bradfords i have ever seen. i dont think its normal for them to survive that long.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

They grow quite big in NC too. They are very random when they self-destruct. Most of the trees around here are big with large empty spots where the branches broke off. Beware of suckering. I had a friend who grew them in a more shady location with a terraced hill and they grew very conically and tall. Pretty amazing! During hurricane Fran they all came crashing down though.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Hey, thanks for the compliment on my pics.

And, while I doubt it will conclude anything debated on this thread, I would "conclude" by re-stating that I wouldn't say B Pears are good trees in areas where they can grow fast and weak. But, for whatever reason, in areas like mine they simply perform quite differently than the "tree" many of you have good reason to loathe. Out here, they are pretty durable, as long lasting (or longer) than many other comparable trees, and are non-invasive.

In simple terms, we are talking about two different trees. The real trick, in my humble opinion, is to know which one you are going to get where _you_ live. Any place where trees are common, probably best not to use them. Anyplace where trees all have to be treated like prized possessions, they are probably good to better. That is my two cents (and worth what you paid for it. :) )


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Ah, the "it depends" clause - so true for many things. And it should be considered, no doubt.

For that reason it is good for folks to give an indication of where they are (and some, like this post, don't do that) so that it can be taken into account.

The other part about this post that bothered me (and several other tree lovers) was the overuse of the tree. Original poster says he/she has five already and wants to get four more. There are so many good trees to plant, nine of anything is overdoing it unless you have a really big property or you are deliberately creating an allee of them. (Note: the original poster has already created a new thread asking for new trees suggestions, bravo!)

Many average folks get swept up in the idea of spring flowering trees (glad to see winter is over, I know), but don't forget summer flowering trees, nut bearing trees for wildlife (some have very insignificant flowers), trees for fall color, native trees for the tiny insects they attract which feed the birds, evergreen trees for shelter for wildlife, berry producing trees ....


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Now there is a point I can get on board with. Moderation in all things and variety. I have one (Cleveland) out of 33 trees on my lot.

9 fruit trees, 3 pecans included.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

cjducote - our neighbor planted a 5 foot Cleveland Select pear 2 years ago - it is now 18 ft. high. The growth rate would be similar to Bradford pear, I assume. And in your warmer climate it probably would grow even faster. Sue


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

RCNaylor - How big is your lot? From the pictures that you've shown us over the past couple years, it sure does not look like it can hold that many trees! Wow. I have 9 trees and neighbors thinks I'm nuts. Most neighbors have only one tree or two. Some have none at all which is crazy considering how hot it gets here. Very few have 3 or more. I'm considering adding 4 more trees to my lot! It's the darn winds and I just want trees to break up the wind. I'm growing a bunch of shantung maple from seeds and will look for something very unique (much like japanese maple) and plant them. A local grower in Ft Worth who grows and sell shantung maple for a living and he came up with very interesting varieties. Check them out at http://metromaples.com/ShanCultivars.htm.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

I have a corner lot with a curve to it Lou. Its about 8,000 square feet of yard, 2700 house. Buuut, you are right, not alot of room left to add any more trees (actually, I just remembered I left three Washington Hawthorn's out of the count above).

So, I might have to move so I can keep planting trees. (Oops, just remembered one that is about 10 feet tall I'm letting grow in a flower bed by the house that I didn't count that needs to be cut down.)


Here when I moved in in 2000
5 CP's
4 Burr oaks
3 red oaks
1 pin oak (that takes lots of extra iron here)
1 Purple robe locust

What I have added
1 burr oak
2 Morraine locusts
1 black locust that came off the purple robe root
three pecans from seedlings
5 Oriental pears
2 improved plums
1 Mexican plum
Cleveland pear
2 Dwarf Alberta Spruces
3 W Hawthorns
1 Princeton elm
1 Ash (my wife likes their fall color)- it was supposed to be a Texas ash, but my dog ate it when it was young and I don't know what came back from the root.

1 Oklahoma red bud
a group of sour cherries
I forget what you call that thing in the flower bed

Amazingly, they all fit pretty well, except I think one of the M locusts by a pecan will have to go sometime in the future. And, 15 years from now, the Burr oak and A elm may shade out the ash (if bugs don't get it before then.)


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RE: oh, also

Golden Raintree in the flower bed. Bad location all the way around, I just haven't had the heart to remove it, and as you can see, I don't have much room to transplant it to a better location.

And, the four B oaks here when I moved in may have to be thinned in another 10 years or so (but, hey, I didn't plant them).


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Wow... I live on a corner lot like you. My house with the garage is about 2700 sqft coverage. The size of the lot is .199 acres so around 8k sqft. I'm scratching my head on how you managed to fit all the trees in there!

Here's what I have...

5 Shantung maples
1 bur oak
1 Mexican white oak (I may replace it with New Mexico Montezuma cypress - just too cool not to plant one!)
1 shumard oak
1 Big Tooth maple
5 crape myrtles (do they count?)

I still have more room 6x120 feet strip between street and sidewalk and the area between my house and next door. Trying to figure out what to plant between the houses is the hardest part. I didn't want to end up with dispute over it if the branches crosses their property line but it would provide a lot of shade on their house and our A/C units outside. I'm thinking about planting that Montezumaxbald cypress hybrid 'Nanjing Beauty' since it tend to grow more like bald cypress, grows tall but not too wide. More SM trees in the strip area from whatever I pick out of hundreds of seeds... It may take a couple years to decide which one I like the best. I'm really hoping for dwarf type so I can fit more trees on my lot! LOL. Rest of the SM, I'd sell to neighbors at low price. Maybe offer to plant them at low price too. I just want more trees in the neighborhood to break up winds! ;)


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Well, I haven't ever computed mine on the lot lines. But just added up the size of the yards around the house and added them up. So mine is 8000 not counting house, drive way, and four sidewalks and two patios.

I'd love to have a big tooth oak. I hear they are nice trees and have nice fall color. I planted two trees that were supposed to be shantung maples, but, they turned out to be mis-labled Norway maples and simply did not do well in my climate (plus their fall color was bad instead of the nice color I hear Shantungs generally have.)

My three red oaks are all slightly different. I think one might be a Mexican or white oak, I just haven't ever been able to tell for sure.

And, alas, with too much shade (go figure) I've killed 3 crepe myrtles. I really wanted a couple of those. Three lilacs are surviving but not flourishing for the same reason. They only get about a half day because I was finally able to get my Pin oak to take off.

Also, in a few years I expect one of my burr oaks and one of my red oaks to conspire with a neighbors pecan tree to make my Cleveland pear to feel crowded.

But, up here our trees generally grow smaller (even the "big" ones) and slower. So, its much different than in tree growing areas where many of the trees I have will get HUGE and do so fairly quickly. Our weather often thins out our trees for us.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

It appears the invasiveness is limited by winter cold, lack of chill, and drier climates, and encouraged by humid, moderate climates.

The BP is very invasive here in Maryland, where we (normally) have plenty of rainfall year round, humid, hot summers, and winters cold enough for plenty of chill but mild enough to avoid winterkill.

In Ohio, my native state, there are lots of these planted and yeah, they do grow fast and split, but I saw few if any naturalized, the rainfall and summers are similar, so it must be the colder winters that keep them at bay, even though I've never seen a winterkilled BP.

Further west, I imagine established trees with good root systems do fine in the drier climate, but the drier climate either causes sprouted seedlings to die with their small, shallow root system, or many seeds just don't sprout in the first place.


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

Wow, I'm new to this site and was reading the comment by Averbisadverbera to cjducote..why are you calling ppl names?

I thought that was uncalled for, If you couldn't (or wouldn't) answer the question posted, why reply in such a rude manner?

Shame shame shame


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

I don't think Averbisadverbera was name-calling inappropriately. The original poster made an inflammatory, provocative post. Anybody who does any research, here, or anywhere, (before they buy the trees) knows its not a very good tree. Sure, the tree takes an okay photo in late March. But for every decent BP there is probably 25 that have made awful misery for the owner and hurt the eyes of everybody else.
Photobucket

Here is a link that might be useful: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v243/w4i0a/broken Bradford Pears/


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RE: growth of bradford pear trees

I live in Austin. Bradford pears do fine here. However, they grow towards the sun, which was a huge problem since the former owners of my house planted them under a large oak tree in the front yard--and they grew sideways. I cut them down. The 2 Bradford pears in my neighbors yard look beautiful. Personally, if I were planning to live in a house for a long time, I'd plant an oak.


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