Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Thank Goodness there's no Smell-o-vision!
One of the things which has made it particularly awful are the Bradford Pears and their only slightly better relatives, the Cleveland Pear. See all the white flowered trees? They're Bradford and Cleveland pears. The whole neighborhood is full of them. There's a mature one outside my bedroom window. Then my next door neighbor has at least three....and there's two directly across the street from me...and on it goes.
The result of so many of these trees is that there is an awful stench on my street. Most people don't realize how bad they smell....in fact my next door neighbor thought that something somewhere had urinated a particularly vile stream of something....but no..it's the sicky sweet pears....that smell more like carrion than fruit.
I detest these trees. Nurseries push them. People and developers plant them in groves. They are brittle limbed, and while the cultivar the Cleveland Pear is somewhat better, it still has a lot of the negative aspects. They seed in all over the place. They are not natives, but were introduced from Korea and China in 1963. They have little tiny fruit that birds disdain, and are not edible for humans. They sucker. They have really shallow and rampant root systems....and they stink.
In addition, their leaves are leathery and they don't decompose well. While the fall color is pretty, they hang onto their leaves until long after the last leaf pick up. Their life expectancy is about 25 years...
There are so many native trees and ones with better habit which should be planted....and yet what goes in is the stupid Pyrus calleryana. If you're looking for something different...or want to know the REAL skinny on a tree you're considering planting...I recommend Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs..anything Dirr writes is really fun and wonderfully insightful. He also has written a larger tome which covers trees in detail, as well as one for warmer climates. Another good resource for picking trees and shrubs, but much dryer than Dirr is William Cullina's Native Trees, Shrubs and Vines. It is a little more restrained than Dirr's work, especially because it doesn't have the non-natives, but it is still worthwhile checking into if you're going to plant a tree....I've been planning for when this tree falls...it's brother fell in 2008....and I'm still cutting suckers off the roots! BLECK.