Those of you that aren’t yet convinced that Bradford Pears are evil, spreading little thorn covered demons, I want you to take a good look at the photo above.
That stump is what remains of the biggest Bradford Pear tree I think I’ve ever seen. Now I can’t blame Pa Paw for planting this beast, because when he planted it, people were told that Bradford’s were sterile and were the perfect ornamental tree for any home landscape. It wasn’t until 20-30 years later that they realized that this was, in fact, complete and utter BS.
Bradford pears do, in fact, bear fruit. They are not sterile as once believed. This means the birds eat them and spread them EVERYWHERE. Worse yet, the trees that sprout from that fruit are not true to their original form, but true to the root stock that the Bradford’s are grown on, which is the Chinese Callery Pear. Here the Midwest, the Callery Pear is considered an invasive plant. The photo above is what happens when you try to cut down a Bradford and can’t or don’t burn out every last bit of the stump and root system along with it. Unless I want to destroy a huge patch of Paw Pa’s Surprise Lilies and Day Lilies, I will be cutting down little Callery Pears that sprout off of this root system from hell for YEARS.
Did I mention the new trees have thorns? Thorns that are as big and sharp as those on Honey Locust (which we also have here). These lovely trees have been known to grow in thickets so dense and so covered in thorns that they will shred tractor tires or bulldozer treads of the machinery trying to clear them from unattended land.
So once again this year, I’ll be hunting them. If I see them in the woods or our fields, they are immediately cut down. I’ll cut all these sprouts off (AGAIN) this year, I’m hoping that eventually the root system will die out and they’ll stop coming up. I may be fooling myself with wishful thinking…
My other option is to dig up all the those lilies, find them a new spot and burn the ground deep enough to destroy the Bradford’s Spawn, then let it recover. I have considered this option.
Seriously folks, don’t plant these freaking trees. They look pretty and innocuous sitting at the nursery or garden center, but they are in fact, the Children of Hell. If you’d like a pretty white tree to plant that blooms in early spring may I recommend a Service Berry or Wild Plum. These both grow nicely in the Midwest and are actual natives, so they add wildlife value to your landscape. Or grow actual pear trees, like Bartlett or Kiefer Pears, then you get fruit AND pretty flowers. Our domestic plums bloomed last week also and were beautiful. Or if you’d like a little color- Ornamental cherries are nice, Peach trees have gorgeous pinky-peach blossoms. Redbuds are amazing for color (and you can make lemonade from the flowers)!