The covenants that required the developer of each parcel in Columbia to plant flowering trees resulted in hundreds of Bradford Pear trees being planted all over town. The Bradford Pear is fast growing, relatively inexpensive, and produces a very nice early spring blossom. Consequently they have been planted with abandon all throughout Columbia and Ellicott City.
What’s not to like about this explosion of color which heralds in our Howard County spring?
They are not a tree for the long haul. According to this article by Deb Magnes on the Dave’s Garden website;
“They split easily, they grow suckers, and they have a very shallow root system. As they grow taller, much stress is put on the lower and larger joints of the tree, which invariably causes splitting. The suckers grow almost as fast as the grass around them, and cannot be mowed without damaging a typical lawn mower. It is difficult to plant anything around them except grass, because when digging the holes for new plants a shallow root can be struck with every other hole. There are very few of these that make it to 30 years old without splitting. The split trees are beginning to line our street, a few at a time. Adding one more element to their negative proclivities. That is, the hazard of falling on something or someone.”
I spotted this Bradford meltdown today on Oakland Mills Road. I hope it didn’t fall on anyone.