Monday, November 15, 2010
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Bradford Pear leaf color in The Boyd front yard
'Bradford' pear is hard to beat for early spring flowers and spectacular autumn color. It is tolerant of urban conditions, pollution and poor soils. It can be transplanted at any size. It grows fast. For a quick screen or ornamental tree along a driveway, in a parking lot, or along a street, 'Bradford' pear is a good (if not original) choice.
It's like having two landscape trees in one: Callery pear is a spectacularly showy tree in spring when it is covered with clusters of white flowers and again in fall when its leaves turn bright yellow, mahogany and red.
This is a pear tree grown for its flowers and fall foliage, and not for an edible fruit. The deciduous leaves are oval, 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm) long, leathery and lustrous green, turning shades of yellow, orange, purple and red in fall. They persist on the tree into early winter after most deciduous trees have shed their leaves.
The flowers are about 1 in (2.5 cm) across and arranged in clusters of a dozen or so, each cluster about 3 in (7.6 cm) across. They appear before and with the leaves in early spring, and completely cover the tree so that all you see is white. The flowers are not pleasantly scented and the pollen is bothersome to those with allergies. The fruits are spherical brown pomes about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) in diameter. They are neither ornamental nor edible. Some callery pear cultivars are very thorny, and some are prone to break at their narrow branch angles.
Most cultivars will reach 30-50 ft (9-15.2 m) in height.
There are a couple dozen named cultivars. 'Bradford' is the most popular; it has a very symmetrical, conical shape with dense, thornless branches, and dependable autumn color.
Photo by Joe Dan Boyd.
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