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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thank Goodness there's no Smell-o-vision!

Our crazy weather has everything blooming and fading in spades. It was well over 80 degrees F. today...and I'm taking a beating from it.

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 fact my next door neighbor thought that something somewhere had urinated a particularly vile stream of something....but'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's brother fell in 2008....and I'm still cutting suckers off the roots! BLECK.


Kathleen Loomis said...

I hate bradford pears too. For the reasons you mention, but also because they're so symmetrical. Give me a lopsided redbud any day of the week. (My husband thinks this is the most unreasonable reason to hate something that he's ever heard.)

Lisa Broberg Quintana said...

lol...then I guess you really enjoy Catalpa trees! Graham Hood, the director of the Department of Collections (antiques, not money coming in) at Colonial Williamsburg who was the head of my program called them the most oriental of trees because of their wonderful shapes, the gorgeous flowers, then the long seed pods...

I love my red buds and when I can wrestle a volunteer out of the bed where I had to cut down one, I replant it....I now have three trees here thanks to that lovely tree....and they're going to be in full bloom tomorrow I think...Usually, they wait until about April 30 here. I'm just hoping we don't get a freeze. If we do, the fruit crop is doomed. Some farmers are talking of planting corn now....hard to believe.

Vicky F said...

I wondered what those stinky flowers were! Last year a friend and I were walking to lunch and decided to sniff the flowers on the trees along the way (we thought they'd be sweet like crabapples, but for sure not!

Our redbuds are already in bloom here in West Michigan. Normally a late April, early May flower. We're worried about the fruit trees, too.
Vicky F