Bradford Pears Breaking Buds

Bradford Pears Breaking Buds

I bet when you read the first three words “Bradford Pears breaking” you immediately though of another kind of breaking. One of the reasons they are on my least favorite ornamental tree list is because the trees frequently break in storms. These trees grow so fast that the wood suffers and they just can’t muster the strength to hold out through heavy winds. That being said they can be very attractive, to the point of everyone having two in their front yard as they do in our neighborhood! The builders went crazy with the cheap, easy to plant, fast growing pear trees. If only they knew what they were doing!

These trees are even becoming invasive here in Tennessee. But they sure are pretty, so let’s plant them anyway. And they stink too, let’s plant more! When in bloom their blossoms reek of a rotting flesh smell that seems very attractive to the bees. At least someone enjoys them.

If you can enjoy one from a distance please do, just don’t get too close, stand downwind, or plant one in your neck of the woods!

Related Post:

Why You Shouldn’t Plant Bradford Pears But Some People Do Anyway


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. There were two in our back yard when we moved here (17 years ago). At least I think that’s what they are; do ornamental Bradfords produce fruit? We sometimes get nice pears from these two trees. I’ve not noticed an offensive odor when they flower. They’re large, 25 or 30 feet tall. I don’t trim them, and they’re far enough away from the house that I don’t have to worry about falling branches. They sit back in the yard and are protected from most high winds. I’m not too crazy about them because they don’t fruit consistently.

  2. I was going to delete my comment above but decided to leave it so that you (and others) can see what happens to one’s memory when one ages.

    Our two trees are Bartlett pear trees, not Bradford. Duh!

  3. Ha Ha, good going TC.
    Dave I’ve heard about the Bradford being so soft. It is a pretty tree but if it breaks so easily I don’t need it in my garden. So I will admire it from afar.

  4. Oh no Dave! Bradford Pears are one of my favorite trees. We have streets lined with them and living where we get hurricane force winds from time to time, don’t recall seeing many break. It’s the pines that drive me crazy. The autumn color of the Bradford’s are so nice too.

  5. TC,

    I would love a real pear tree if it fruited. Pears are great, just not the ornamental kind. They produce a cherry-sized fruit that the birds eat and spread all over. Good for the birds but not for other plants in TN.


    Definitely the best way to go! Bradford’s are way over planted anyway.


    I’m sorry if I attacked one of your favorites but around here in TN every spring they split. Pear halves come in cans not from half a pear tree ;). If they haven’t broken they have have been periodically topped. You’re right the autumn color is great but for me there are too many things not to like about them.

  6. I agree Dave – they are pretty, but sure do have some major strikes against them. We have one in our front yard that’s past its prime and planted too close to the house. Eventually it will probably need to come down. In the meantime I do enjoy the spring bloom and long-lasting fall color.

  7. Thanks for the heads-up. Actually there are a couple of reasons I’m not even considering fruit trees in my yard… shade and deer. 😉

  8. I have never smelled the stinky smell. But I’ll do my best this year. Not sure why I haven’t. We have a neighbor in Indiana who has one on a small lot. She pays to have someone pollard it each year. It is pretty and small and not dangerous at all. Good thing since it overhangs the driveway there. I think these could conceiveably be used in the right circumstances, but with its invasiveness, uh uh.

  9. Within sniff shot, there is a row of them near our house. I have never smelled a bad scent from them. My dad has one and he tops it to keep it from splitting. He had it topped last week so no blossoms for him this year. He regrets planting it…

  10. Do they ever stink! It’s a nasty smell and I don’t care how pretty their fall color may be…it can’t make up for the stink! There are many native plants that are perfect for the bees! Shadberry/amalanchier has beautiful flowers, delightful berries and great fall color! The US Arboretum removed all the Bradford pears that were in their parking lots…and we all know the US is slow to move so this is saying a lot!

  11. I get your point Dave. We also have real pear trees…love the homemade pies!!

  12. Yep I was thinking that they had gotten damaged. I had one in my yards years ago but it was destroyed during Hurricane Isabel. Such a lovely tree but not very strong when it comes to wind, rain or storms.

  13. Dave,

    I can’t stand them also. I stick to natives when I can. If you do want a pear tree for the fruit try Asian Pear, we have a small one and get huge pears 25-30 every year.

    If I had the choice to replace the bradford pear trees here, I’d piss a few people off and plant American Plum, heavenly aroma when in bloom, butterflies out the ying yang on the flowers and tasty little plums to boot.

  14. Bradford Pears are planted *everywhere* in central NC. I don’t care for them much either, but they do have beautiful fall color.

Comments are closed.

Close Menu