Can anyone tell my what the white trees are that are blooming now in this area? They are especially plentiful along Route 50 between Wash DC and Annapolis. Thanks.
The white trees that we see blooming now are the legacy of 3 decades of promotion of the Bradford Pear. They are volunteer seedlings properly called Callery Pear. Now we are stuck with them. See link
Here is a link that might be useful: The Coming Plague of Pears
the trees are pretty when in flower, but they become so brittle so young, and cause a lot of damage. the author of the article is GENEROUS when he says they fall apart at "20 years of age." My experience is that they begin breaking around 10-15 years along. And, they can severely damage houses and cars.
Di, yes the Callery pears are a pest as sam & ruthie say. But if you like the look, there is a new variety of ornamental pear out now that isn't invasive, and is supposedly less susceptible to wind damage. It's called Cleveland, but it has more of a spreading mound shape (like a maple but not as big) than the upright pyramid shape that Bradford/Callery pears do.
Disclaimer: I have no personal experience of this, just what I've read.
Thanks all for the info. They certainly are pretty now but I see that it isn't something I should consider planting. Thanks again.
Sorry to disagree with something, but the information two posts up needs to be corrected. "Cleveland" pear is just another cultivar of Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana). (1140 Google links to the phrase "Pyrus calleryana Cleveland" proves the point.) In fact, it is precisely the planting of multiple Pyrus calleryana cultivars, which then cross-pollinate amd produce fertile seeds, that has led to this tree becoming an invasive pest in our region.
I believe that all "ornamental" pears, regardless of the specific cultivar name, are Pyrus calleryana.
"Real" pear trees, that produce plump, juicy pears for eating, are a different species (Common pear, Pyrus communis) and are not invasive.
If you like the all-white look of the ornamental pears, why not consider a REAL fruit tree of some sort?
I have a GORGEOUS yellow plum tree that flowers with flowers just as white and beautiful as the others. (In fact, I think mines even more gorgeous.) And those yellow plums.....yum!
Consider a serviceberry instead of an ornamental pear. They are not invasive (witness route 50 right now the Bradford pears are taking over!). They need to send a tree crew out there to turn them to mulch (it does look cool though). I wish nurseries would stop selling them. Anyways, serviceberries start blooming usually about 2 or 3 weeks after the pears. I have 'cumulus' serviceberry which is a tree form and people sometimes think its a bradford pear, which offends me.
I was driving on 270 over the weekend from Frederick and was stunned by the sheer number of callery pears along the highway. Particularly between Germantown and the beltway. In some areas such as the Middlebrook exit, there must be 1000's of them growing in groves just inches apart from one another.
It makes me sad to see yet another alien plant dominating the landscape and displacing native species.
I made the mistake years ago planting a Bradford Pear. Since then, and as recently as a week ago, I've planted either the Cleveland Select Pear, a.k.a as Chanticleer and related upright, narrow branched cultivars even to include 'Redspire'. Also, I recently was in a nursery where they had a "New Bradford Pear" which I suspect is bred to eliminate the branching habit of the "old" Bradford Pear, that is very susceptible to wind and ice damage. I have a Cleveland Select in my backyard that is about 10 years old and it is doing great. Oh, I was at a big chain, box store the other day and I noticed they had lots of the "old" Bradford Pears for sale. I felt like putting red "Do Not Buy" tags on them, but that would have gotten me in big trouble. Perhaps, I could carry a poster outside the garden center gate with the words "DOWN WITH the BRADFORD PEAR" to voice my opposition to their sale and misleading the public.