just an observation

bobbygil(7)March 13, 2009

I just drove from Loganville ( Growers Outlet ) to Lexington ( Goodness Grows) and the entire 50 or so miles was covered with Bradford pear trees and seedlings. This has to be getting close to an invasive tree in Ga. bobby

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When they are blooming it is quite noticeable. I know people see that white blooming tree on the side of the road and think it is a native because it's on the side of the road, but with the exception of some native plums, there is no native tree blooming now with that shade of white (really the plums are creamier in color and don't have that upright shape).

I wish I could find a native plum of decent size - Prunus americana. I got seedlings once, but none of them made it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Sorry to say, that the ornamental pear trees you observed were not all 'Bradford'. If they were, there would be no seedlings, as it is self-sterile!
In order to correct a self-destructing flaw of the 'Bradford' pear, the acute angle at which the branches emerge from the trunk, some 50 additional cultivars have been developed, to "remedy" that flaw. When another, different cultivar is planted in close proximity to the 'Bradford', the "Tango" begins! We then have a fruiting monster that disperses seed at a disgusting rate. Birds and mammals eat the fruit, but they contain so little nutrition, that they can gorge themselves and wind up with a load of seed, with little else derived from their efforts.
The seedlings bear little resemblance to their parent, reverting to their ancestors, which is a spiny, suckering member the Rose Family, that rapidly form dense colonies and begin a stranglehold upon the native flora.
As the infestation grows, nutritional food sources for wildlife diminishes, and then, so does wildlife.
There is no impending crisis, but time is in it's favor!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 1:29AM
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Rb, what a wonderful explanation - you nailed all the points. Those seedlings are indeed thorny - no prize for anyone that gets one of those "freebies" in their yard.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:09AM
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vicki7(z7 N.Ga.)

Rb, you have perfectly described a tree in my yard that was here when we bought the house. It is a pear, don't know if it is a Bradford or not. Every house in this subdivision has at least one pear of some sort. The ONLY reason it is still here is that hubby likes it. Virtually every inch of the branches are covered with those little berry-like things which fall off all over the yard and then sprout everywhere. The sprouts never get big if in the lawn, because they will get mowed down, but the ones that land among the shrubbery or in flower beds have to be pulled or sprayed with Roundup. I really hate that tree.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 9:21AM
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Aren't we safe in saying that this invasive March cloud of white pear blossoms is a form of _Pyrus calleryana_, of which 'Bradford' is the most common nursery-disseminated cultivar? As The Bible says, "Ye have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind."

esh ga, I think I have a colony of _Prunus americana_ growing along the driveway. Is this the same as the Chickasaw Plum? The trees are of small stature, with an Oriental look. They are, however, a native species. You're welcome to one of them, but it may be better to set it out in the fall or winter.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Chickasaw Plum is Prunus angustifolia (I'd be happy to have either).

According to the book I have - Chickasaw Plum has blooms before the leaves and is thorny; leaves are 4-8 cm long. Fruit is red or yellow.

Wild Plum (P. americana)has blooms WITH the leaves and is somewhat thorny; leaves are 7-12 cm long. Fruit is red (seldom blue - yellow is not mentioned).

So, based on those two descriptions, what do you think you have?

And yes, those wild ornamental pears can't claim the name 'Bradford' since they are seedlings (and like have another parent by the name of 'Cleveland Select'). But to those that don't know the difference, calling them "bradford" gets the point across. And as seedlings, they revert to the less desirable characteristics of the species (like thorns).

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 7:43PM
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Just checked Nearly Native's website - they do carry Chickasaw Plum in 1 and 3 gallon sizes. They consider it "shrub-like". Still no P. americana.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 7:58PM
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The Chickasaw plum, Prunus angustifolia, is similar to the American plum, Prunus americana, but has smaller leaves. about half the length and more narrow. Both species are native to this area and I often see one or the other along roadsides, when in bloom.
I grew several of the Chickasaw plum about 40 years ago, but made the mistake of trying to adapt them into a specimen, landscape small tree. There was just no way that they would cooperate! They were unruly, unkept, always needed a haircut and slouched or leaned to one side, like they were trying to support an invisible wall! The fruit was tart and sour tasting and was only good for making jelly, which we really didn't prefer.
I spent several days, during one spring, after they bloomed, digging them out of what was at the time, the rear lawn. Have never regretted that move. They would probably make an ideal living hedge or divider between a woodland and cultivated area, but there are much better specimen shrubs/trees. I'm sure some wildlife would appreciate them, wherever they are!
My 2¢

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:21PM
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shooting star in KY carries Prunus americana. Shooting Star Nursery. I don't know a thing about them, but they carry some unusual items I was looking for and the native plum was listed.

The pears here are a bit much. They are everywhere, like there isn't another tree type out there to plant. strange.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:25PM
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P.S....think smell terrible also

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 8:38PM
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Rb, I will keep that in mind should I get a Chickasaw plum (and site it accordingly!). Still would prefer the P. americana if I had my choice of the two. I think I will contact Nearly Native and see if they ever have the opportunity to get them - I don't mind visiting them if I have to, although I would be bound to pick up other things while I am there ....

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 8:27AM
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Our plum colony must be the Chickasaw Plum (_Prunus angustifolia_) because it's blooming before its leaves have emerged and, as Rb said, the members of the colony are listing, or slouching, in several different directions all at once. As William Butler Yeats said in the closing lines of "The Second Coming,": And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? Yeats' prophetic words (1919) are applicable to the great Southeastern invasive pear tide.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 10:17AM
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Laylaa: I used to live in Lexington, KY and had great luck with Shooting Star. A bit expensive, but they carry hard to find plants and they are knowledgable and the plants are healthy and great. I;ve never dealt with them as a shipper, but I their customer service in person was always very good.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:50PM
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