Q: Hello. I have a bradford pear tree that I am trying to get to come back.
I's approximately 10 years old. The leaves that are on it are nice and green, but the tree is a lot thinner (foilage) than the other. For the past 2 years, this has went on.
We have been putting fertilizer stakes in the ground in hopes that would help, but it doesn't seem to be. Is there anything else I can do to help bring this tree back?
We lost one in a wind storm a year ago, so we really count on the two we have left for shade.
A: Niki, your tree has a Virus. It more than likely is from “fire blight,” a disease that uses our native Eastern Cedar (the evergreen you see everywhere along the four-lanes) as a host and attacks fruit trees.
Bradford Pears are grafted onto fruit-bearing root stock (mother tree) and are therefore susceptible to fire blight. The tree should never have been used for a landscape tree. However, they are cheap so contractors use them. And yes, they're beautiful in spring.
You’ve already discovered how soft the wood is, and there are other problems. So what I’m trying to convey is to bite the bullet and replace the tree. Wait for a couple of years and replace the other. I am including some pictures of a fast growing shade provider with interesting bark. It’s an elm and I can’t think of any faster grower.
Saura Farm owner and Mother Nature lover