The Bradford deciduous pear tree is grown more for its ornamental value than fruit production. It belongs to family Rosaceae and is botanically known as Pyrus calleryana. The Bradford is the oldest pear tree and can be found with its beautiful spring flowers enlivening many landscapes.
- The tree grows up to 15 to 20 meters in height having a rounded to sub-rounded crown.
- The leaves are broad, thin, glossy, and unlobed with doubly-toothed edges.
- The fruits are without a husk and rounded with a diameter of around 1 cm.
- The bark of this tree is generally brown in color having horizontal lenticels on it.
- The foliage in summer is dark green, whereas in autumn, the leaves depict an array of colors ranging from red and pink to bronze.
- In many areas of North America, the species is not native and has been introduced for commercial means.
- Since they are always in demand for ornamental purposes, there are various cultivators of this tree where the Callery pear is grown commercially. The most well-known among all of them are Whitehouse, Cleveland Select,Bradford, Aristocrat, New Bradford, Autumn Blaze, Capital, Chanticleer, andRedspire.
Bradford Pear Tree Characteristics
- These trees are native to China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and Taiwan; they are not native to the United States.
- They are a cultivated variety of the Callery pear, grown for its ornamental value.
- All soil conditions are favorable for the growth of this tree, and while it prefers bright sunlight, it can also survive in partly shaded areas.
- Nitrogen-based fertilizers are apt for the healthy growth of these trees. Organic fertilizers, such as worm castings are extremely helpful as they improve the soil quality.
- This tree flowers early, often before the leaves, and is famous for its branching in a dense and broad manner.
- Bradford trees produce a sticky pollen, which is not easily blown away by the winds. Due to their sticky nature, they often attract greater number of flies than bees for pollination.
- However, if not pruned at the right stage, the tree forks out in a weak and uneven manner cramping the neighboring trees, or area. They also crowd the existing native plants when planted in regions they are not native to, thus directly affecting the biodiversity of that particular area.
- The weak outgrowths make this tree vulnerable to heavy snowstorms, or thunderstorms. Thus, it cannot be planted on higher altitudes. Moreover, the average lifespan of this tree is also short -- usually 25 years.
- Bradford tree is quite pest-resistant, but there are a few diseases that can infect it. Blackening of leaves, especially on its underside, is a type of leaf scorch that results from root stress problems.
- New cultivations of Bradford are mostly fire blight-resistant, but your pear tree still needs to be guarded from it. Fire blight is a disease caused by a bacterium that blackens the ends of twigs and leaves, and can spread to the flowers and fruits as well.
- A type of fungus,Entomosporium Leaf Spot, is also contracted by the tree especially during fall and spring. One of the most earliest symptoms is when young leaves start showing reddish-colored spots on their surfaces and the base. This is followed by the mature leaves depicting gray spots. These gray spots later develop into black blotches affecting the entire leaf. The fungal growth can be controlled by using appropriate and adequate amount of fungicide.
- It is, thus, always advised that one should look for better options with other cultivators while opting for a Callery pear tree.
No doubt a Bradford pear tree captivates you with its ornamental nature; however, carry out thorough research before you zero in on your choice.