Silly Bradford Pear Tree

He's an ornamental, not supposed to bear fruit, 15 ft. tall and skinny because he doesn't get sufficient light. So this year, there are 13 good-sized pears.
Meanwhile, the 50-ft., bushy Bartlett pear tree I grew from seed in 1979, doesn't have many more pears, if any more, as far as I can tell, from ground level.
Who can figure silly flora.
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Jack W wrote:

Shortly after Hurricane Rita hit our area last year all of my fruit trees bloomed for the second time and then set fruit. None of it matured of course. The local MacDonald's has Bradford pears planted all around it for decoration and they all bloomed last fall and set fruit and then it all dropped. Made the owner mad with all that fruit on the ground, making a mess, so he had them all cut down. Flora and fauna act strangely when stressed.
George
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The Bradford was the ornamental tree of the future, developed just a few miles south of here. It was supposedly disease/insect resistant, no messy fruit, nice compact shape ...
However, as time has gone by, residents here have found that it is for the most part brittle in wind.
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Jack W wrote:

That's why we don't have any. We often get winds up to 50 mph and the Bradfords generally just snap off. Same with the ornamental plums people plant around here. Got enough trouble with the pine trees snapping off about 40 feet up and falling during hurricanes. Even oaks are brittle around here, no tap roots. Only trees that didn't blow over during Rita were those useless sweet gums.
George
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On Sat, 22 Jul 2006 15:50:47 -0500, George Shirley

I dislike the Bradford pear trees and that tree is the most popular tree planted in my town. They grow fast, spread, and easily break during storms. In bloom they look nice from a distance but the odor is horrible. I have a 60-foot sweet gum tree next to my house--gives shade, stops erosion, very strong, and virtually disease free. The "sweet gum balls" can be annoying because their are thousands of them, but I use the prickly balls in the flowerbeds on top of the mulch--cats avoid my flower beds!
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On Sat, 22 Jul 2006 15:50:47 -0500, George Shirley

HMM, a tree that survives where no other can . . . sounds pretty useful to me!
k
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Treedweller wrote:

They don't blow over because they have tap roots that go to hell. They don't break because there is no grain to the wood, it's all twisted up inside, they're a pain in your yard because of the gum balls (seed pods) they drop. Some are big as a golf ball and they've got little spikes all over them. If there was an infertile sweet gum I would agree with you that they would be a good tree to have.
George
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On Wed, 26 Jul 2006 13:03:21 -0500, George Shirley

In a suburban lawn, it is rare that trees are harvested for lumber. They are generally planted for shade (i.e., reduced energy costs in summer) and for beauty. Incidentally, they also mitgate storm runoff, saving cities money that they would spend on maintaining storm drains and processing said water. They shade lawns, reducing need/costs of irrigation (and water is going to be worth gold in coming years). Not to mention the esoteric benefits of happier communities and reduced stress in neighborhoods where trees are growing.
I don't really care why they survive; they are valuable assets to our community and our environment. Your fixation on the inconvenience of a few spiky balls is not a reason to call these trees useless. Maybe you should look for a local scout troop. You might convince them to come pick up the balls for you; they could probably come up with a nice craft project that would put them to good use.
k
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Lots of tree info here:
--
Please consider adding some links to your sites.

1. Techno Tree Biology Dictionary
  Click to see the full signature.
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Oh man, I haven't seen a sweet gum ball since 1959. Friend's family owned a shore in the midst of a sweet gum "forest" on the Patapsco. Sweet gums apparently like moist soil. That's the only place I've ever seen them.
Naturally, we spent the days in bathing suits and no shoes.
OUCH! Painful but pleasant memories from the distant past.
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Jack W wrote:

You can have the one that grows in my neighbors yard and drops it's "fruit" in my yard if you'll come and get it. Alternatively I can arrange to send you a big box of the spiked balls next time I rake them. Even the dog dislikes the damned things. <BSEG>
George
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I have a book by Shigo as well as Pirone et al. and they were very helpful in the choosing, planting, and maintaining of trees. Planted about 1,000 over an eight-year-period, mostly west and northwest for a multi-rowed windbreak.
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