Love Lost: Stop Planting One of the Most Recognizable Trees in the South

A tree not only common but also beloved across the south is now becoming a danger. Arborist and landscapers alike are calling on many to not only stop planting the adored 

Bradford Pear tree but also to consider removing them.

This tree has been widely misunderstood for a long time. The tree, native to China, was introduced as an ornamental by the US Department of Agriculture in 1964. It wasn’t long before the tree became popular across the south.

The tree blooms beautifully with an overall bulb shape and white flowers blooming on the branches; many neighborhoods and commercial spaces took advantage of its’ distinct beauty by planting them extensively in the 80s and 90s. The trees added values to homes and were seen as an affordable and quick growing decorative tree. It wasn’t until the trees fully grew that many began to witness what some knew would likely happen to the trees in the long run.

Despite the beauty of the tree, it is exceptionally weak with poor branch structure. Their average lifespan is just 25 years, but many trees are not even making it that long. With their weak structure, it doesn’t take all that much of a southern or midwest storm to crack or split them; a simple gust around 40 MPH can do the trick. Since they have such heavy branches, they can snap off and crush cars parked on any average street; obviously, this creates a dangerous situation. With danger looming within such a widely planted tree, many are creating their own solutions.

Tree topping has resurged as a practice for the Bradford Pear. However, this is an outdated practice that doesn’t necessarily work. Due to the structure of the tree, simply taking off the top doesn’t mitigate the risk of a branch snapping or falling.

The solution here is to stop planting Bradford Pear Trees and monitor and currently planted ones. If you are worried about a Bradford Pear Tree, please call us at 573.268.3947 and we will assess any risk and recommend the next step or offer the appropriate services to take care of it for you.