|Wild Ripe Persimmons which are native to Georgia|
Bradford Pear is a cultivar loaded with white blossoms and leaves that turned lovely reds, oranges and purples each fall. Add to that it grew quickly, who could complain. Each fall it would be loaded with tiny, woody pears that softened with freezing temperatures. Birds ate freely and there was no worry about an unwanted invasive species. The seeds were sterile.
Then the soft wood cracked in the winter time and a beautifully shaped tree became misshapen. People trimmed them so that it did not branch so much from the base. The tree still rarely lives more than 25 years. Large oaks grace the neighborhood I grew up. An adjoining neighborhood smiles with dogwoods and azaleas every spring.
You don't see old Bradford Pears in neighborhoods. The rumors that they grow into stately trees one day is just a myth. However, you go by unused fields and you see sprigs of white flowers of volunteer Bradfords. Wait, they are supposed to be sterile.
It gets worse, they revert to Callory Pears which grow into thick thickets like wild plums that are native to North America. Callory Pears are native to China. These thickets of trees have four inch thorns that will easily puncture the tire of a tractor. It takes a tractor with steel tread to travel over a thicket and destroy them.
Pears are not native to North America. Peach trees are not native. We grow a lot of plants that are not native. The problem is whether they become invasive. Fireblight attacks Pear trees in the humid East. So commercially, they are grown in the Northwest. Callory Pear roots are used to produced many grafted varieties of Pears.
I'll be cutting my Pear trees down in the backyard. I was slack and I allowed a few suckers to grow. They actually did better than the original tree. The original trees were destroyed by blight. One tree is one side small knotty Bradford pears and the other nice large eating Pears. We enjoy watching the deer eat them. And this is why I will cut them down. Those small pears mate with the large pears. The deer eat the large pears. Everywhere they defecate, more Callory Pear trees will eventually grow. It might take ten years for enough generations to turn over to Callory; but, they will be there.
If you grow a Bradford in proximity to a European or Asian Fruit Pear tree, you are producing viable seed that will eventually revert to the original Callery Pear. It is an invasive species which is as bad as Chinese Privet and Kudzu.
So those old opinions to grow a native plant or something you can eat is something to heed. I have planted some more Pear trees. I'll watch for suckers this time. With the blight attacking the other trees, I don't have much hope for the new trees. Fortunately, I have planted many Apple trees. You don't want the deer to go hungry. They also enjoy the Persimmons and other native plant fruits.
I plan to plant some common pear trees that are not invasive.
Links for further study.
Article merely warns people that Bradford Pear is not a reliable ornamental tree and suggests a Native plant.
Picture of Callery Pear fruit.
University of Florida discussion of Bradford Pear without mention of invasive tendencies.
Clemson University in South Carolina discusses invasive problems of Callery Pear.
University of Georgia publication warning of the Bradford Pear's invasiveness
Greenville, South Carolina article by Durant Ashmore discussing the future problems of Bradford Pears