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Kentucky Color - Bradford Pear

The Urban Forest: Writer has no love for Bradford Pear, but admits that the colors of the leaves can be magnificent. Click on headline for story plus photo(s)
Next previous Kentucky Color: I, We A poem, a tribute to the true oneness, the team spirit of the Adair County Marching Band

By Billy Joe Fudge, Retired District Forester
Kentucky Division of Forestry


Bradford pear is a great urban tree that has upward growth which allows it to fit into tight urban spaces and just about no kind of pollution seems to affect it. It has beautiful white flowers in the spring and about every color leaves imaginable in the fall.

However, it is proving to be another blight from the Orient, China to be specific. After the tree reaches the ripe old age of about 15 it starts to split from wind, snow, ice, and maybe even sunshine. If you have planted Bradford pear be prepared to replace it between 15 and 25 years of age.


The problem with splitting and limb breakage is so severe that many municipalities in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeastern states are banning the planting of the species.

Yes, you can prune them but it is very difficult to make it look presentable. Even after pruning it still has the inherent problem of weak, upright limb attachments and in addition all limbs are in close proximity to each other further weakening the limb attachments.

I have no love for Bradford pear but the colors of these leaves found at Angel Manor are magnificent. -Billy Joe Fudge


This story was posted on 2010-10-27 06:07:04
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Kentucky Color: Bradford Pear has magnificent color



2010-10-27 - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Angel Manor, Columbia, KY
Retired State Forester Billy Joe Fudge says he has no love for the fragile tree which he calls a blight from the Orient, but he does say that colors of these leaves found at Angel Manor in Columbia, KY, are magnificent.

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