Bradford Pear

Bradford Pear

Although Bradford pear trees have a weak branch structure that limits their life span to 20 years at the most, gardeners continue to plant them for ornamental effect. In early spring, the tree's white flowers bloom and are followed by brown pears that attract birds to your garden. In autumn, the Bradford pear tree's foliage turns into an attractive red hue.
Location

·  Bradford pear trees require full sun daily to perform their best. However, they will tolerate some shade. According to the University of Florida, Bradford pears develop in tight areas, such as containers, parking lot islands, medians and sidewalk tree pits. These trees also tolerate urban pollution and salinity, and they are somewhat resistant to fire blight. In regions where the winter temperature stays above 0 degrees Fahrenheit, Bradford pears should go in the ground in the fall. In addition, find a planting site that is sheltered from the wind, as the branches of the Bradford pear easily break. These top-heavy trees have been known to snap completely in half in a moderate wind or ice storm. Finally, consider how close you want the Bradford pear tree to any windows that may be opened to spring breezes in your home. Unfortunately, the tree's beautiful white blossoms have a very unpleasant fragrance.

Soil

·  Bradford pear trees seem to grow in any soil. They adapt to clay and sand, whether it's acidic or alkaline, and tolerate both wet and dry conditions. These trees are most comfortable, however, in well-drained soil amended with organic matter, such as compost or manure. Their planting hole needs to be 2 feet wider than the root ball and 6 inches deeper. The extra depth has to be back filled and firmed before placing the tree in the hole. The final depth should be equal to the height of the root ball.

Water

·  Despite the Bradford's drought tolerance, it does better when you irrigate it once a week, especially while it's still young. Established trees older than two years thrive with rainfall only, needing supplemental water when the region experiences unusual drought. A layer of mulch applied around the base of the tree reduces water evaporation.

Fertilizer

·  In general, Bradford pear trees that grow in soil rich in organic matter don't require supplemental fertilization. If the tree shows signs of poor nutrition, such as slow wood development and pale or small leaves, it requires 1 pound of a general-purpose garden-and-lawn fertilizer for each inch of its trunk diameter. This treatment also benefits transplanted trees after they've begun growing in their new site. The fertilizer should not touch the tree's trunk.

Pruning

·  Bradford pear trees grow with an upright habit, branches close to the trunk. This makes them susceptible to breakage, especially in strong winter winds. Pruning, starting at planting time, is necessary to keep the branches from growing 30 feet in one direction and crowding around the trunk. At planting, one trunk in the center of the tree needs to be designated as the tree's central leader. All other branches growing upright parallel to the leader are then pruned by half their height. In addition, any two branches growing around the central leader within 15 inches of one another have to be thinned to one stem. This tree's structure also benefits when branches that touch or cross within 6 inches of bigger ones are cut off.
 Planting

Use a shovel to dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball of the Bradford pear, but only as deep. Keep the roots of the sapling moist by placing them in a bucket of water while you are preparing the hole. After you dig the hole, loosen the soil around the edges of the hole. This makes it easier for the roots to spread out. Place the tree in the hole, making sure it is centered and straight. Then, back fill the hole and tamp down the soil to remove any air pockets that might have formed near the roots, which can dry them out.

Early Care

Water your Bradford pear immediately after planting. Create a basin around the tree by mounding up the dirt, and fill the basin with water. This will allow the water to seep slowly into the ground rather than quickly running off. Add a one-inch thick layer of mulch in a circle around the tree, but do not let it touch the trunk. If your Bradford pear sapling is very young, plant a tree stake next to the trunk and tie it to the stake. This will support the tree through its first growing season. Do not fertilize the Bradford pear tree during its first month or so of growth, as this can damage the fragile roots.

Light: Sun,Part Sun

Zones: 5-8

Plant Type: Tree

Plant Height: 25-40 feet tall

Plant Width: 15-20 feet wide

Landscape Uses: Containers,Beds & Borders,Slopes

Special Features: Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Tolerates Wet Soil,Easy to Grow


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