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The fragile Bradford Pear

Just say no… to Bradford Pear trees! They might grow quickly, and might be full and lush, but that comes at a price: They are are as fragile as glass (a slight exaggeration). With the strong winds we have been having the past few days provide a perfect example.  This picture of a split Bradford Pear on Texas, near Gravois Avenue, is a snapshot of the eventual fate of most of these trees when the stress becomes to much. As they grow bigger and more bushy, they become more and more susceptible to this affect. Things get even worse during the all too common freezing rain sessions we see during Missouri winters.  These trees simple can’t stand up to the elements.

There are appropriate venues and purposes for the Bradford Pear, but for most of us horticultural laymen, its probably best to just stay away from them altogether. They are, at best, a temporary tree and will not stand the test of time. Subdivision develops are fond of them because of the quick greenery they provide, but for most of us, the desired results are a little more long-term. Whether you’re a landlord, a rehabber or a homeowner; fight the temptation to use this tree. If you do, its just going to be a matter of time until the breakup. Something more permanent might not satisfy the need for immediate satisfaction as well, but everyone involved will be better for it.

And did I mention that the flowers really stink. STAY AWAY!

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3 Responses to The fragile Bradford Pear

  1. Brian S. March 25, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    I totally agree. They make horrible street trees too – their foliage is way too dense and blocks out the buildings behind it. Cherokee Street, for example, would look way better with some new trees.

  2. Nathan April 5, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    I am a city planner and I am advocating the use of redwoods in urban landscaping. The tree tops are high enough that they do not obscure views except from the tallest buildings and logging after several thousand years would generate huge profits for the city. If planted correctly they could be used as giant demolition tools in blighted neighborhoods creating a huge savings during eminent domain landgrabs for the construction of Super Walmarts.

    • Matt Kastner April 6, 2009 at 11:12 am #

      Thank you for your insightful, and though provoking comment. I would expect nothing less from you. I’ve passed on your suggestion to Mayor Slay’s office and I am told that a press release to unveil “Project Redwood” is forthcoming. St. Louis could use more bright minds like yours. Kudos.

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