Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Home to the Center for Rural Resilience and Workforce Development.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
September 23, 2017
have seen heavily storm damaged Bradford Pear trees cut off to a mere 3 or 4 foot
stump that have recovered to become an acceptable replacement for the lost tree in
three years, or so. Is there a preferred shape or profile above that of just a flat
topped stump presented to the elements? A shape more conducive to the health of the
If a tree has been that damaged, it is best to start over and either let it resprout
from the soil line or a better approach would be to plant a new tree, preferably not
a Bradford pear. Ornamental pears are becoming quite invasive in Arkansas, so I think
there are better options. While it is true that over time a storm ravaged tree does
begin to look like a tree again, there is typically so much internal decay that the
trunk is not stable and future damage is likely.
May 27, 2017
Can you stand one more Bradford pear tree question? We have a volunteer tree in our
back yard that I thought was a crabapple but it is a Bradford pear. It has 3-4 small
trunks and is about 20-25' high. I plan to have it cut down soon. After that is
done will there be little saplings come up from the roots, and if so how can I finally
kill it off?
I commend you for removing the ornamental pear tree. Once it is cut back, treat the
stump that is left with Brush-B-Gon, Brush Killer or Roundup Super Concentrate. Apply
the products undiluted for stump treatment. A cheap, 1-inch paint brush works well
for this purpose. Try to apply the herbicide as soon after you cut the tree down
to allow for as much uptake as possible.
April 15, 2017
I have been trimming Bradford Pears and gotten attacked by the numerous "1" to"2"
inch thorns on the trees. The sprouts that come up off the exposed roots are also
notoriously gifted with thorns. Have our experts on "tree genes" done us in by overstepping
nature? Also, there are lots of exposed roots resulting in lots of sprouts. Can I
feed the sprouts just a little Round-up without damaging the tree?
Bradford pears are a selection of a Callery pear called Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'.
Bradford pear trees do not normally have thorns, however their root stock the true
Callery pear does have thorns. The birds are eating the small fruits and sowing them
freely. The result is that hybrid callery seedlings are now blanketing our roadsides,
and the resulting trees are loaded with thorns and fruits of various sizes. I wish
I could tell you in good conscience to treat the sprouts attached to the mother tree
with Round-up, but it can damage the mother tree as well--which would not be a loss
in my book!
April 8, 2017
I remember you writing a piece about reasons not to plant the Bradford pear tree in
Arkansas. My husband mentioned planting one a few days ago and I was trying to remember
the reasons that you do not recommend it as having trouble remembering them. Please
refresh my memory
I am glad you asked before buying one. There are a whole host of reasons not to plant
a Bradford pear. At maturity they are larger than most people realize--growing up
to 40 feet tall and wide. They have a dense tear-drop shape which makes them susceptible
to falling apart in storms or wind. They flower beautifully but set a copious amount
of fruit. The birds eat the fruit and seedling Callery pears are blanketing our state,
making them one of the most invasive plants in Arkansas. There are much better spring
flowering trees, including fringe trees, redbuds, hawthorns, and serviceberry.
July 9, 2016
We have a Bradford Pear tree that is looking bad. It has a number of black leaves
forming in the last two weeks and some branches have less green leaves. It was planted
in the spring of 1998. I think it is dying. Is there anything I could do to help save
it or is it on its last days. The spring blossoms were normal-loaded and beautiful.
While you probably know that Bradford pears are not my favorite plant, there are many
gardeners who still love them. It sounds like your tree got hit by fire blight. By
now, the damage that is done is done. It typically stops spreading when the temperatures
warm up. The tree gets infected during bloom time. Prune out the damaged branches,
and if there a lot of dead wood, you might consider replacing it with a better tree
species. No sprays would give any control this late in the year.
May 21, 2016
My Bradford trees have fire blight. Is there any cure?
There is not really a cure for fire blight. Some years the disease pressure is worse
than others. The only times sprays are the least big effective are during blooming.
Streptomycin or Agristrep sprayed every 3-5 days while the tree is blooming can give
you a little preventative coverage. After bloom, if you see disease symptoms, sprays
are totally worthless. Your only recourse is to prune it out 6-8 inches beneath where
you see symptoms. Sterilize pruning tools in between cuts to prevent mechanical spreading
of the disease.
April 2, 2016
Can you shed some light on what has been blooming along the roadways – all the white
I have seen – I know Bradford pears but am unsure of the other that are more shrubs.
The majority of the white you saw the past few weeks were seedling Callery pears, the parent plant of the Bradford pear. As you can tell by the amount
we had, they are an extremely invasive plant. Now the redbuds are blooming along
with wild plums and cherries, and the dogwoods are too.
March 19, 2016
I am strongly considering removal of my two Bradford pear trees in my front yard.
My problem is that I cannot seem to find good information on replacement trees. My
local nursery offers a lot of suggestions until I say that I want native species.
I am committed to only planting native trees and want something that runs about the
same adult size. Can you suggest any similar trees?
I commend you for replacing your Bradford pears. The trees are blooming all across
this state right now and it is pretty upsetting how many escaped seedlings there are,
which are blotting out other plants. I think there are several options. I love the
blackgum tree (Nyssa sylvatica). It does not produce “gum balls” like our sweetgum
trees, but a small drupe or berry. It gets as tall as a Bradford pear but not as wide.
It has outstanding red fall color, but does not have showy blooms in the spring.
Other options are the American hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) which gets 40 feet tall
and 20 feet wide, similar to a Bradford pear and the Little leaf linden (Tilia cordata
February 27, 2016
I have two large Bradford Pears that need to be cut back, when is the best time to
do heavy pruning? Is February ok? They are already starting to bud already.
You probably won’t like my answer, but if they need really heavy pruning, why not
remove them entirely and plant something that fits the size of your landscape? If
I wanted to keep the Bradford pears, I would prune after bloom. The main reason people
plant the trees is for their spring blooms and their fall color. Enjoy the spring
blooms and then prune. Bradford butchering goes on all the time, and these trees
are becoming quite invasive. They also commonly fall apart in wind storms.
There are much better choices.
January 23, 2016
I enjoy reading your QA column in the paper. In a recent response to a person with
a dying Bradford pear tree you suggested the reader not plant a flowering pear next
time, but I see it as an opportunity to educate further and more strongly state the
problems associated with this and other invasive varieties. Our organization, along
with many others, spends thousands of dollars each year and thousands of volunteer
hours removing alien invasive species from our natural areas. In particular, Callery
pear trees (from the Bradford) constantly threaten a wet prairie that we steward.
You have a large following and could do a lot to help educate the public with your
Thanks for your response. I could not agree with you more about the invasiveness of
Bradford or Callery pears in our state. I have a list of the top 10 invasive species
of plants in Arkansas, and I rank the Pyrus calleryana (of which many ornamental cultivars
are available) as one of the top invasives. Unfortunately, this tree continues to
reign in popularity and is commonly sold at all nurseries across the south. It does
have several things which make it popular, including beautiful white flowers in the
spring and gorgeous fall color, but the resulting fruit are eaten by the birds, dropped
and then seedling Callery pears of all sizes emerge. Probably one of the most visible
signs of these trees is on side of the highway between Alma and Ft. Smith. It is absolutely
solid white with Callery pear blooms each spring and red fall foliage. In addition
to being invasive, they also are not strong trees, falling apart quite easily with
high winds. The other top 9 invasives on my list are: running bamboo, privet, Japanese
honeysuckle, English ivy, kudzu, mimosa, Vinca major, nandina and wisteria. Several
of these plants are commonly sold as landscape plants and are commonly in use. Other
plants have the potential to become invasive if given the right growing conditions.
January 9, 2016
I have attached two pictures of damage to a Bradford pear tree. It was not physically
hit. Is it a disease or insect problem and what can I do to fix it? The tree is
only two years old.
Your tree was wounded at some point, possibly even damaged from the limbs spreading
above the point of the wound. If you look at the bark beneath the wound, you can
tell there is damage there as well and the bark will eventually slough off. Bradford
pear trees grow quite quickly and are top-heavy. This makes them susceptible to easy
damage during storms—we see a lot of split trunks or tops broken out. With your tree,
you now have internal decay at the point of the wound which will make the trees even
more susceptible to damage. Once decay begins, there is little you can do to stop
the spread. Keeping the area cleaned out will help a bit, but as young as this tree
is, it might be a better idea to plant a new tree to take its place—preferably something
other than a blooming pear.
November 21, 2015
I have a pear tree that is about 4-5 years old. It came up between two keifer pears
but it doesn’t look like them. This year the tree had fruit but it was produced in
small clusters about the size of grapes. The coloring is like a pear and they taste
pear-like. What do you think we have?
Pears that are grown from seeds can be quite diverse. From the sound of your description,
my guess is you have a type of Callery pear—which is what all of the ornamental “Bradford”
pears are. They are pears and they do produce fruit, but the resulting fruit can
be the size of a bb up to a small crabapple. I have never thought to taste one, but
the birds sure do like them and eat them and drop the seeds, thus spreading them statewide.
They have become quite invasive. The Callery pear is a common root stock for grafting
edible and ornamental pears.
In the spring of 2010 I planted four Bradford pear trees. They are growing straight
up; they don’t seem to be spreading out like I thought they should. Should I cut the
tops out of them? If so, when should I do this?
Topping a tree is a practice that should NEVER be done to a tree you want to keep
long-term. When you remove the entire top crown of a tree, you create internal decay
in the tree. It will eventually put out more branches and look like a tree, but the
damage done internally will last for a lifetime and makes the tree structurally unsound.
However, you can remove certain branches and take the top buds off of each branch
you leave, without removing the crown, and this will encourage branching. The top
bud on each branch has dominance, and left unchecked, will grow straight and taller.
Removing the top bud (or even going lower on a branch) will encourage lower buds to
grow, which should start to give your tree a fuller top. Pruning done correctly will
give you a fuller and healthier tree. Keep in mind that many ornamental pear varieties,
particularly Bradford are very susceptible to storm damage, and they often have too
many branches which cause them to resemble a lollipop on a stick and they break easily.
We live in south Pulaski county and have four Bradford pear trees clustered in a
large front yard. I discovered three of them blooming, YES blooming, this morning.
They look beautiful after turning brown during the drought of July. Thanks for letting
me share this.
We had an early spring and an early summer, so many spring blooming plants set flower
buds for next season early as well. Then we had a miserable summer, so some of these
plants went into early dormancy—thus the brown leaves. We finally got some rain and
cooler weather, so some of these plants thought they had experienced their dormancy
and have started to bloom. I have seen tulip magnolias, the ornamental pears and even
a few once a year hydrangeas with flowers again—not the re-blooming types. I would
not be surprised if this trend continues. There is nothing you can do to make it stop,
so enjoy these extra flowers.
I have 72 Bradford Pear lining my driveway, planted in 1995, have never been trimmed
except underneath so you could mow. I have had a little wind damage but so far it
has been to the inside and you couldn't tell it. But with winter close, they will
never withstand any ice and probably not much more wind. I have a tree service to
give me an estimate but this time of year won't be like trimming in the spring. Will
they survive the winter cut this late in the year?
You are fortunate to have as little damage as you have had. I am also surprised by
the sheer number you have. Pruning this late in the year shouldn't hurt a pear tree.
However, their two most showy seasons are fall foliage—which they have yet to have;
and spring blooms, whose buds are set. If you want to wait until spring to prune,
you can, but if you are worried about winter damage, then prune as the foliage sheds.
The proper way to prune is to thin out excessive branching—don’t top the trees, nor
limb them up like telephone poles. Both of those methods ruin the trees and make them
more susceptible to damage. Good luck and if you do lose a few trees, consider replacing
with a different tree. Diversity is a good thing in a landscape.
We have 3 bradford pear trees and one is now in bloom. Is this unusual for this time
of year? I have watered all three during our dry summer but this particular one had
lost most of its leaves. We are enjoying the blooms but are wondering what it will
do in the spring.
This errant blooming occurs many years when it has been dry and plants started into
an early dormancy. Before they shut down, they set flower buds for the next season.
Then we get some rain and cooler weather, then it warms up, and they are fooled into
thinking spring has arrived. We see this on some fruit trees, commonly on tulip magnolias
and occasionally on forsythia, flowering quince and azaleas. Enjoy the flowers while
you have them—there isn't anything you can do to prevent it. Normally it is only a
small percentage of the blooms and you should have more in the spring.
My neighbor recently ran into my Bradford Pear with his truck, knocking off a large
section of bark. What can I do to treat the damaged area in hopes of saving the tree?
Once a tree is wounded, the wound will always be there, but you can help by cleaning
up the wound. Cut off any lose or jagged bark and try to keep it as clean as possible.
Time will tell how deep the wound went and how much, if any damage will occur to the
top. Have you seen any signs of stress to the top of the tree that is on the side
where the damage is? Wound dressings or tree paints are ineffective, the best remedy
is a clean wound.
I have attached photos of what I believe to be some kind of pear. As you will notice,
the fruit is small about the size of a ping pong ball, but the texture and flesh very
much resemble a pear, as does the leaf and limbs. Please let me know what you think
that it is. The reason for the inquiry is that there are 3 of these trees along the
Arkansas River and the deer like to camp out around them endlessly searching for dropping
fruit. If you know what this tree is, could you possibly tell me where I could purchase
some of them or if the seed might be viable, Thanks.
You will find many seedling pears around the state. The Bradford pear and other ornamental
pears are all selections of the Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana). The fruits can run the size of a bb to a crabapple. When the birds drop the seeds,
there is a great deal of variability in the resulting seedling pear. While deer may
flock to them, and probably birds and squirrels, many of these seedling pears are
becoming a nuisance plant--quite invasive. You will also find that many of these seedlings
have thorns on them too.
Can you tell me what the tree is that's blooming now along the roadsides. It has white
blossoms similar to the pear tree and it blooms around the same time, before dogwoods
but after the wild plums. I call it the 'popcorn' tree because that's what it reminds
me of, but I would really like to know its true name. Is it a variety of wild pear?
Someone told me a ‘popcorn’ tree has white fruit, not flowers.
I do think it is a wild pear tree that is blooming now. The ornamental ‘Bradford’
pear has been grossly overplanted in the south and seedlings are emerging everywhere.
They are all callery pear seedlings—Pyrus calleryana. Flowers are white and fruit
size varies from bb to marble or crabapple sized fruits with thorns common on the
stems. While they are attractive when in bloom, they are overtaking native vegetation
and becoming a bit of a problem in areas of the state. The ‘Popcorn’ tree you are
referring to is also considered an invasive plant but only in southern Arkansas and
other southern states. It is Sapium sebiferum, also known as Chinese Tallow tree.
It has yellowish flowers which produce a white waxy fruit in the fall which looks
like a piece of popped popcorn, thus the common name.
I have a beautiful, very large Bradford Pear in my front yard -- about 7 or 8 feet
from my house. I'm guessing it is 14 years old since the house was built in 1996.
The roots have apparently developed superpowers! They've caused a shift in the sidewalk
between the tree and the house and pushed over a brick flowerbed border! There was
no evidence of this a year ago -- but now it's significant enough that it could cause
someone to fall. Do I need to dig down and find the roots causing the problem and
chop them off? Would that kill the tree? Should I chop it down? It is my only tree.
Ornamental pear trees tend to have an abundance of surface roots which can make walking,
mowing, etc. difficult under the tree. The roots have a finite amount of space in
which to grow when planted in a home landscape and if there is a sidewalk or flower
bed in their path they fill it, sometimes causing the sidewalks to crack or the flower
beds to move. If you cut the offending roots, it may cause serious damage to the tree.
You don’t know what portion of the tree the offending roots are supporting. Even if
there is limited damage, more roots will grow back. I think you are lucky it hasn't
happened earlier, since Bradford pears are LARGE trees at maturity and should not
be planted any closer to your house than 15 - 20 feet. At 7-8 feet away, I would suspect
that the canopy is somewhat lopsided, since the branches can't extend any wider than
the house on one side. It is your call about removal. The tree is going to get larger,
and the larger the top the larger the root system. You may want to plant a new, different
species of tree away from this one, allow it a year or two to get established and
then take out the Bradford pear.
We recently had a storm that damaged our Bradford Pear tree and had to cut it down.
We are looking for a replacement tree. Can you tell us what is a good replacement
tree that is similar in height and shape? We also want it to be fast growing and provide
good shade in the summer. Also, if we completely remove the old stump, how close in
position can we safely re-plant a new tree? What is the best time to plant a new tree?
You aren't the only one needing to replace a storm damaged ornamental pear tree. They
are prone to storm damage. If you simply want the shape and would consider even a
slightly taller mature tree, consider a fastigiate hornbeam - Carpinus betulus Fastigiata. The trees have the nice tear-drop shape, but are much more stable, and
fairly fast growing. I would try to grind out the stump if you can, or the ground
will begin to settle a bit over time as the trunk decays. Planting near the site will
not be a problem. The best time to plant a new tree in my opinion, is fall. November
is ideal. The ground is still fairly warm, the plants are dormant, and they can begin
to establish roots before they need to deal with leaves and new growth. With today’s
container grown plants, we can plant year-round, but to make it easier choose fall.
I have a Bradford Pear tree that continually sends up dozens of saplings from its
roots. Why is the tree doing this and how can I discourage it from continuing?
Some trees tend to be prone to suckering more than others. Unfortunately, there isn't
much you can do to stop it. Remove any sprouts this spring, then pay attention late
in the season. If any new sprouts have emerged then, summer pruning tends to be more
dwarfing or has less potential to re-sprout than early spring pruning. Cut the saplings
slightly beneath the soil line, mulch and hope for the best.
All links to external sites open in a new window. You may return to the University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture web site by closing this window when you
are finished. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information, or the accessibility
for people with disabilities listed at any external site.
Links to commercial sites are provided for information and convenience only. Inclusion
of sites does not imply University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's approval
of their product or service to the exclusion of others that may be similar, nor does
it guarantee or warrant the standard of the products or service offered.
The mention of any commercial product in this web site does not imply its endorsement
by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture over other products not
named, nor does the omission imply that they are not satisfactory.