Southern Living magazine hates Bradford Pear trees

I really appreciate the entire rest of your post, but I’m old enough to remember the horror when 3/4 of elm trees in the U.S. were afflicted with Dutch elm disease and had to be cut down. I’ve also experienced the cathedral-like expanse of an elm-lined block. Cutting down a healthy elm would be unfathomable to me.

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You’d better hope they aren’t seeking out the water main!

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How have I made it to today-years-old without having ever seen that before?

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Because Palm trees are a bit scarce around Chicago?

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100% agreed.

I am very grateful you appreciate trees and I thank you for standing up for them. :heart:

I wish all of humanity would recognize the value of healthy tree(s), healthy canopies, and leave healthy trees alone, to the fullest extent feasible–I did have to cut one down that had started falling on our house.

(and now, with apologies for my treehugger soapboxing; and this is not directed at you because I think you get it already…)

Over the years, I have gotten into so much conflict re planting trees, protecting trees, mulching-watering-pruning-feeding-caging-staking-of-trees and more in my neighborhood. Having not been called before my property owners association in nearly two months, I know the clock is merely ticking seconds away from my next helping of reprimands, threats, etc.

The cathedral of trees you mention has always been the only church I belong to.

Cutting down any healthy trees, anywhere, has always been gut-repugnant to me. I have felt this way for as long as I can remember being alive, even as a kid. It bothers me more now because the world is hotter, we need more shade, more CO2 sequestration, more fresh air, more evapotranspiration, more beauty and living things in “the built environment” etc.

The lack of respect that [human] tree-killers have for living beings that are often tens or hundreds of years older than the chainsaw-wielding human in question is more proof to me that we as a species have left the path of reason quite some time ago.

Planting trees is and has been my only redress when I despair of humanity’s endless stupidity.1

That said, the whole “here’s a thumb in your eye” jack move from these school administrators who chose to kill off food-providing mature shade-makers…

… is, to me, even more perverse. Far more perverse.2 I have been to apple orchards with apple trees upwards of 100 years old. So I can completely sympathize with and feel the righteous anger of @moortaktheundea.

Human choices have generational consequences far beyond the one year the action is taken. The messaging too, from those school admins, is one of ignorance, blindness, laziness, short-sightedness, majorly-missed opportunities, and a real stab in the back for pollinators. So many learning opportunities missed. Fresh apple juice. Insect life-cycles. For pete’s sake, it’s possible to make a whole dang curriculum out of the apple trees they cut down.

Imagine the takeaway, stated and unstated, the students there learn from the school admin’s actions and mindsets. “Screw you, next generations!” would be one, IMO.

My dad worked at a food bank for years, before he died. This food bank was in a food desert, in a massive city, in the American midwest. No fresh fruit for miles, courtesy of redlining, late stage capitalism, cynical city planners, and so much more. I was just getting started with Global Re-Leaf in that city before I moved out. It would have been great to plant food-bearing trees in that city. Now I live near a town that has this and this for ongoing projects, both of which support fruit tree growing in urban areas, especially in food deserts.

In urban areas (i.e., not in a dedicated forest on so-called protected lands often logged for pennies courtesy of various governmental co-optors), trees’ services importantly include reduced crime rates, mental health benefits, and “increased property values” WTFTM.

The services all trees provide us are beyond financial and economic measure.


  1. As you may imagine, these days, I have been quite busy. Where I live now, it’s easily 2-4 hours labor to dig a hole due to the enormous rocks here in the Edwards Plateau. Watering through droughts here in Texas is not for the weak of limb or faint of heart, and every tree needs at least 2 years of weekly watering at minimum. I heartily recommend planting and caring for trees if anyone wanting an opportunity for spiritual growth.

  2. From where I stand, there are orders of magnitude re tree-killing sins. My opinions may be odd, and not widely held. Sheeesh in my own neighborhood, I know that’s true.

ETA: typos

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aka Jizz Blossom

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It always breaks my heart when i see commercial and residential development raze beautiful undeveloped land with lots of trees. I mean i get it, people have to live somewhere if an area is growing but the end result is very few if any trees end up standing once everything is said and done. Proper conservation matters, near where my parents live north of Houston there’s Woodlands/Kingwood and it is known as a wealthier area but the main thing i admire of that zone is that they put in a lot of effort to keep as many trees as they could and driving through there is wonderful. When i drive the area my parents live you do still see some big trees but they’re relatively sparse and makes everything look terribly plain.

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I have a Bradford Pear in my back yard. It is about 8 inches diameter and came with the house (bought in 2015).

The plusses + grows fast, provides lots of shade and blocks views into the neighbor’s yard, and their view into ours.
Branches are easy to cut, dry fast when cut up, and burn hot when I need a few sticks of fruitwood.

The minuses - too much shade over other plants with its reaching, so I must prune constantly.
Roots are shallow and pushing up rockwork and crowding other plants in the gardens.

Eventually this tree will get so big for our tiny yard that it will have to be cut down. The problem is that I will have nothing blocking the neighbors and our privacy will be greatly diminished in our shrinking world with everyone home all day every day. So, I’m going to put off cutting it down as long as possible. But it’s not a “must keep” tree.

There are some other AMAZING trees out there. Trees like a Fringe Tree.

https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=chvi3

Or a wisteria:

Or a tulip tree:

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There should definitely be some other trees that might work better for your space as far as not having shallow roots and being bushy enough to provide privacy. You might be able to reach out to plant nurseries or landscaping companies in your area by phone and chat up someone that could recommend something for you :slight_smile:

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Be careful what you wish for. Wisteria are choking vines that have pretty flowers for a few weeks. We have one on arbors in our yard and we have to trim the tendrils every few days all summer or it climbs up the neighboring trees and starts to kill them.

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Thanks for the tips, @Grey_Devil and @DukeTrout

What I would really like is a tree that does something. (Besides grow prolifically.) Either it produces fruit, or an amazing display, or pretty leaves that rustle, or a gorgeous scent. Or birds and bees love it, like the bottle brush on the other side of the yard.

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It depends pretty heavily on your local climate. We have a camellia bush that thrives and blooms all winter, so it’s nice for screening when all the deciduous trees are bare. It also provides a consistent food source for hummingbirds all winter, so they claim it and defend it as their turf from November through March.

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Camelias do grow here (below the 30th parallel) and are indeed gorgeous in January bloom. That is a great idea. I bet I could fertilize the hell out of it and get one to grow up fast.

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The ongoing and immediate story of Austin [and so many other places, yes, but where I am and what I see here now]. Do these profiteers not breathe air? Require flood-free areas? Drink water? Require their aquifers to be recharged? Seek a shaded parking space in August? Need wood products? (all services that trees provide btw) Have children? WTAF. I strain to fathom the thinking behind it all.

Scalp the land to billiard table baldness. Silt the creeks and recharge features. Build crappy fast houses. Coat the wounded land with red death fast so no one sees it, slap in a nonnative tree, take the money and run.

The increasingly rare developers who either (a) must and do adhere to strict city tree ordinances, or (b) aren’t heartless, short-sighted, late stage capitalists, will usually at minimum get it about “heritage” trees of a certain diameter or larger adding resale value. Often, only very specific trees are favored (e.g., oaks yes, junipers no, both native in CenTex).

This artificial developer-centric favoritism, unfortunately, complete screws up succession…


… resulting not merely in crashed biomes, homeless biota, etc. but this weird effect where no replacement trees means once some awful tree-pandemic like pine bark beetles or Dutch Elm Disease or oak wilt blasts through the area, it’s left looking like a bombed out war zone.

There’s an infamous case among tree nerds in ATX where a certain developer in Oak Hill simply cut down everything–much of which was measured, recorded, protected and mapped by the City of Austin–got “caught” (was reported), paid the fines, and built his damn apartment condo moneymaking thingy.

I later learned the term “budget for illegalities” and perhaps y’all have seen it lately mentioned here:

… it’s absolutely The Standard Operating Procedure for developers here, despite the City of Austin’s best efforts.

Chainsaws and the sales of them should be regulated to the nth degree, IMO.

Have been.
Can confirm.
The benediction of shade, shelter from the Texas summer sun, is miraculous.

Yes. But.
Good practices vs bad practices
People over profits
etc.

Hell yeah, I’m with you on this.
I hear you.
I really really do.

Turn up your speakers, I got something for you:

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As Duke mentioned, the climate of your area will be key. But if you live in an area where you can grow some variety of citrus tree my experience has been that they’re great trees to keep. I’m not much of an expert myself (or a homeowner) but whatever solution you land on i hope it’ll work for you :slight_smile:

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I put in an Arctic Frost last week. It’s been productive even in a container outside. So in the ground it went. Strongly recommended.

If the frost zaps it, it will regrow true from roots as it is a nongrafted variety.

Rated to about 10 degrees F.

Plant in a position sheltered from north winds, preferably on the south side of a wall or building for the additional thermal mass protection.


Orange Frost rated to 20 degrees F. In case anyone here feels lucky.

ETA: spelling and added Orange Frost info
ETA2: mispasted link removed

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My work has me interacting with developers/construction and they don’t have a lot of regard for trees. As you mentioned i have absolutely heard of developers razing everything and then paying the fine to not transplant or replant the native trees they took down, then putting in a handful of shitty non-native plants/trees as decoration and it never sits well with me.

I’m hoping to buy a house in the Austin area within a year or two, ideally i’d like to buy something without a HOA so i can finally have a nice garden and make a green area of my own :slight_smile: If i end up having to get something with an HOA i’m sure i can still have a garden in the back but i know they tend to be pissy about what you do with the front lawn.

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Oh wisteria! I had one, and a trumpet vine, at my old house. The birds and pollinators loved them, but they were plated 60 years earlier, and the roots started taking over parts of the garage (they were grown on trellises on the side of the garage. If you choose them, as @DukeTrout has noted, remember they spread.
Lilacs become beautiful trees and tomorrow ours* will be blooming. Two weeks of heavenly smells and pretty flowers. Another bushy thing that delights people and pollinators is honeysuckle.
Lately I’ve seen a lot of stuff about multi-graft dwarf fruit trees, and that could be interesting - many different flowers in the spring, and more kinds of fruits in a small space.
*the one behind the building we live in. I claim ownership because I love it the most.

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Our wisteria is beautiful right now, with long, cascading violet streamers of blooms. We put up with the work of keeping it under control for these 2-3 weeks in spring. It’s far away from the house next to a patio. I intentionally laid out the patio in a way that will allow me to easily adjust the pavers as the wisteria expands its domain.

It also helps to have a couple of teenagers in the household who can be assigned the task of trimming the wisteria back. I can even justify it as “good exercise” and a way to encourage them to “step away from electronics for a while” instead of just “laziness” on my part. :wink:

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