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Invasive Bradford Pears

 
Cris Bessette
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I've seen a number of articles lately on how invasive Bradford pear trees are.
These are of course the "decorative" residential tree, not an actual fruiting pear.

I think I'm going to go home this afternoon and cut down the volunteer Bradford pear in my front yard.


http://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants/weeds/callery_pear.pdf

 
Spencer Vaterlaus
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
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I've been thinking the same. My church has 6+ of them and I'm going to make a proposal for removal as well as some other landscape changes.
 
William Bronson
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I think someone here on permies successfully grafted onto them.
 
John Elliott
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William Bronson wrote: I think someone here on permies successfully grafted onto them.


Maybe up north you can do that, but down here in Georgia I have had no luck with grafts. Maybe because the dormancy period is so short.

I don't like them and think they are a nuisance. They stool and sucker all over the place, and for the first few years, they can have some nasty thorns. I guess they do provide some overwintering food for wildlife, but I wouldn't call them a good permaculture tree. Much better to have a regular pear that you can harvest from.
 
Cris Bessette
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John Elliott wrote:
William Bronson wrote:

They stool and sucker all over the place, and for the first few years, they can have some nasty thorns. I guess they do provide some overwintering food for wildlife, but I wouldn't call them a good permaculture tree. Much better to have a regular pear that you can harvest from.


From what I was reading, the Bradford pear crosses with other pears, then the progeny of that mix are these wild and very thorny trees, the thorns can puncture tractor tires, so the only way to remove
them en masse is to use metal tracked tractors.

I have one that came up next to my "real" pear tree and it is covered with thorns and has many suckers coming from it.
 
Akiva Silver
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You can definitely use them as rootstocks for grafting onto. There is no reason that a southern gardener could not graft trees. You can graft while they are dormant or actively growing.
Also, pears are excellent for wildlife. Those tiny bradford pears are readily consumed by many birds and mammals. If I were to pick a list of invasive plants to 'invade' my fields, pears would be in my top 10.
I think you have something great there if you have easily established volunteer pear rootstocks.
 
Stephen Layne
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Location: NE Ga, Zone 7b/8a
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I also live in N. Ga and Bradford pears only seem to be invasive in disturbed areas where they can get enough sun. They don't colonize already wooded areas in my experience. they would be great for a rocket stove as the dry wood burns quite hot even in a normal fireplace and they do stump sprout easily. The wood decomposes quickly which makes it great for a hugel that productive in its first year.
 
Cris Bessette
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Akiva Silver wrote:You can definitely use them as rootstocks for grafting onto. There is no reason that a southern gardener could not graft trees. You can graft while they are dormant or actively growing.
Also, pears are excellent for wildlife. Those tiny bradford pears are readily consumed by many birds and mammals. If I were to pick a list of invasive plants to 'invade' my fields, pears would be in my top 10.
I think you have something great there if you have easily established volunteer pear rootstocks.


I'm not aware that there is a great need for rootstocks for pear trees. Don't they grow readily enough on their own roots in this region?
As for food for wildlife, the one real pear tree I have is absolutely covered with pears every year, and 80% end up going to the wildlife anyways.

Given the short lifespan and easily damaged structure of these Bradford pears (and their thorny offspring) , seems to me much better to have regular pear trees.
 
John Wolfram
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Cris Bessette wrote:I'm not aware that there is a great need for rootstocks for pear trees. Don't they grow readily enough on their own roots in this region?

At least in my area, there's definitely a need for any pear root stock that might impart some fire blight resistance to the tree, and this is especially true for people who would rather not spray their trees with powerful antibiotics like streptomycin.
 
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