Bradford Pear tree Retirement

Posted by Jill Lind on Sep 13, 2018

What and Why:

Some Trophy Club residents will be saddened over the Town’s upcoming removal and retirement of fourteen Bradford Pear trees in the community’s median on Indian Creek between Heritage and Hill Court.  These trees were donated to the town approximately 18 years ago and have served the community well as a visual grace along the street. 

Tony Jaramillo, the town’s Director of Parks & Recreation, said a TC resident on Indian Creek contacted the town about the health and safety of the trees. He said these particular Bradford Pears were planted in the town median in the early 2000’s, but the trees are nearing the end of their lifespan.

They are known for their white flowers in the spring, as well as their unpleasant smell when they are blooming. They are not native to the United States, but rather hail from China.

“They were the go-to street trees,” Jaramillo said. “But they are within their 15-20 year life expectancy range, and they are now falling apart. They are naturally weak-wooded. The wood is very heavy and they grow to a point where they can’t support themselves.”

Life Expectancy of a Bradford Pear:

Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana "Bradford") made a big splash in the mid-20th century when it became a nearly universal tree selection in residential and commercial landscapes. "Bradford," a callery pear cultivar, is favored for its picturesque, dense, round canopy. Growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, "Bradford" grows quickly to 30 to 50 feet tall. Its fast growth and dense canopy help explain its short life expectancy. Bradford pears are invasive in many locations.

Growth and Life Expectancy:

The old saying "live fast and die young" applies to "Bradford" pear. Fast tree growth, in general, results in weak structure. The dense, upright branching of the cultivar also results in narrow branch unions that are weak and prone to splitting in high winds and heavy precipitation. When the two weaknesses meet in "Bradford," the result is the ever-too-common sight of split "Bradfords" after storms. After the branches split, they allow disease, such as fireblight (Erwinia amylovora) to enter the tree. The combination of these factors usually results in "Bradford's" demise in about 15 to 20 years.

A Plan in Place:

According to Director Jaramillo, the Bradford Pear trees will be replaced by “a diverse range of ornament trees that will benefit our Trophy Club ecosystem and the appearance of our ‘Texas’ Green.” The replacements include Possam Haw (Ilex decidua), Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia), Dwarf Southern Magnolia (Vandiflora), Vitex (Castus) and Redbud (Cercis canadensis). 

It never feels good to remove trees from any landscape, but this has been done in a deliberate and calculated way because it is necessary.  So be ready and help up wish them well as they go out to pasture.  We look forward to seeing what the Parks & recreation Department does with this blank canvas!

For questions, please contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 682.237.2900