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Bradford Pear Trouble

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by jimbuck, May 22, 2008.

  1. jimbuck

    jimbuck LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 15

    I have a bradford pear I planted 5 years ago in Mass. There is no leave growth on the lower 1/3 of the tree this year. Last year I notice on bottom branch was dead but I thought that was it. Looking at the leaves it appear to have nibble marks on the ends. I will post a picture later but any ideas on common problems would be appreciated.

  2. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Is your Bradford pear situated somewhere where deer can often be seen, or at least their footprints ?

    Deer will quite often browse the limbs of trees along the edge of any given forest / hayfield border, for example.
    They can reach 'so high' with their necks when they're nibbling on the tender buds and leaves.
    And when they do this, combined with the general 'overpopulation' issues many parts of the country is now having with them, they create what's called a browse line around the forest's edge...
    (....or possibly in your case, around the circumference of this ONE lonely pear tree !)

    Read on:

    Here's some pics from the Lone Star state...of some damage to Oaks in an especially densely populated area for deer...as well as livestock contributing some.


    Have you seen any deer prints in the dirt around this tree, and/or actual teeth 'scrape' marks on the branches ??
    Have you seen any damage to the bark on the trunk itself, especially during late fall, early winter ??
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    Bradford pears are not a good choice, ever

    Pluck the sum bich out of the ground and replace it with something local and noble, poplar, beech, oak

    Bradford pears will give you years and years of heartache and then die or break into many pieces
  4. JTF40

    JTF40 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 875

    :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

    I have had four of these trees for 16 years - all over 30 ft. tall. I can count on ONE hand how many limbs have broken off after countless severe storms. :usflag:
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Go ahead and post a pic of your pear tree, jimbuck.

    If it's only 5, 6, or 7 years old, there's probably still a lot that can be done to it, pruning wise, to help prevent the type of damage down-the-road these guys have described.

    The trick with Bradfords is to keep the 'center' of the internal canopy "thinned out" as much as possible, from a very young age going forward; in order to reduce the volume of wind-drag to the upper part of the tree, especially.
    By opening up the center as described, you're creating little wind 'buffer zones' all around the top of the canopy, all of which sort of work together to prevent the "domino effect" that wind shear creates, and thus to lessen the chance of breakage greatly.

    Bradfords, and (certain) other grafted pears Achilles heel is that all the branching habitually sort of 'toes in' as it reaches up to the sky.
    But it can be corrected if addressed.

    If you start selectively pruning correctly as a Bradford is still a relatively young tree, you stand a decent chance of seeing it withstand wind / ice storms for many, many years.

    ie....We've got one in our own front yard that was planted when this house was built in 1987, so that makes the tree itself, probably, 23-24 years old...because it certainly was at least a 2" to 3" tree that came out of some nursery.
    I'd say it's 35-40 ft tall now, with an equal or slightly greater diameter drip line.

    The people who lived here before we moved in (which was Dec 2000) surely didn't know enough to do anything about this tree...nor hire anyone, for that matter.
    (Thank heavens they didn't get some idiot to 'TOP' it !!!!:cry::cry::cry:)

    Since then I've worked diligently once every winter (or so) to continuously clean out the 'unnecessary' vertical branching in the interior, w/o screwing up the 'oval' shape of the tree too much, of course.
    I'm hoping to get another 10-15 years out of it, hopefully.

    (knock ! knock ! knock!:laugh:)
  6. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 398

    Sounds like deer. Try a natural product like this: www.deerout.com Deer don't like peppermint.

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