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We do have a lot of Bradford Pear trees around the Abilene area but these trees do have a hidden danger and will eventually need to be removed.

bradford pear tree
Courtesy: USDA Bradford Pear or Callery Pear

They are quick-growing ornamental shade trees that are not native to Texas.

They get to be about 20 feet tall and are pretty when they bloom in the spring. If you have them on your property or walk by them when they are flowering for 10 to 14 days you know they really do stink.

Property owners need to be mindful that these trees have a short life of only about 20 years.

Here in West Texas their weak branches easily break off during storms or high winds as the years go by. That seems to always happen at the worst time.

The Bradford Pear also Bradford is notorious for its unpredictable growth patterns. They can grow tall quickly and then suddenly start branching out in unexpected ways, which can make them difficult to manage and maintain.

Older Bradford Pears are Dangerous

As these trees get older they pose a greater danger as their branch joints are not stable and it’s not uncommon to see these trees split apart. The branches have narrow unions (also called crotches) and grow at steep angles.

Thorntons Tree Service removing Bradford Pear
Bradford Pear Removal South Abilene

Just last week we removed an old tall Bradford Pear that was planted fairly close to a home on the south side of Abilene.  The new homeowner knew those branches hanging over the house were dangerous. Our crews made quick work of safely removing the tree which was also close to the home’s incoming electric service line.

It’s even suggested that you don’t even park your vehicle under a Bradford Pear due to the potential splitting and the dropping of branches in high winds.

Bradford Pears Being Banned

Ohio has banned their sale starting this year, and South Carolina and Pennsylvania are banning their sale starting next year citing their invasiveness. According to the USDA when these trees border roads and fields, their dense growth and in some wild varieties sharp thorns threaten equipment and livestock. They can also grow in the understory of pine plantations, where they can impede some forest management practices.

If you’re looking to plant a new shade tree on your property here in West Texas, we suggest you consider Texas or Oklahoma Red Buds, Chinese Pistache, among others.

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