What is wrong with the Bradford Pears this year?

jmblack_nc(7)July 6, 2005

I've noticed that many of the Bradford Pear trees have tons of dead leaves on them this year (some trees have about half dead leaves) and I was wondering what is wrong with them. This is only my third summer in Charlotte, but the last 2 years I didn't notice any excessive dead leaves on these trees.

Does anyone know what the problem is, and what can be done to prevent the problem from occuring??

Thanks everyone!

I love this forum.

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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

It is rust, caused by our wet, cool spring. Nothing you can do about it at this point. It won't harm the tree, just makes it look unsightly. If you had known we would have this weather you could have sprayed but if you knew you could make a fortune as a weatherman.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 9:43AM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

There's also the possibility of Fire Blight, which will get worse unless the bad areas are pruned out.
Some of the damage could also be cicada caused if some of last year's 17 year cicadas were present.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 10:02AM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

By the way jmblack, we have two garden shows on the radio on Saturday mornings, 8-10 on WBT 1110AM and 10-12 on 106.1FM. There have been a great number of callers asking about the rust on their Bradfords this year.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 10:45AM
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Thanks everyone for the feedback! I thought it might be rust but I wasn't positive. I'm glad to know that it won't permanently damage the trees.
Thanks Dieter2NC for the tip on the Saturday morning radio show - I did not know about them.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 12:33PM
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Sounds like you are certain it is rust. If, however, it is fire blight, you will NEED to give some attention to pruning the tree because fire blight is a fungus that will spread to the entire tree (and adjoining Bradford Pear trees) and it will get worse from year to year. I learned this the hard way. If you look online, there are usually some pictures which show what fire blight looks like. If you think you do have fire blight, contact your county extension agent for information on treating the tree(s). Typically, they advise using an anti-fungal spray and/or pruning affected limbs (cleaning your blades with clorox before touching each new limb).

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 10:54PM
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I've never seen rust on a callery pear - and rarely on any of the edible pears - but have certainly seen plenty of fireblight on both types here in KY this year - and last year on the callery types, as well.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 3:51PM
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I live in Warwick, NY(approx. 50 mi. NW of NYC) and also am getting numerous dead dark brown leaves on my two side by side Bradford Pear trees. I planted these two trees about 20 yrs. ago & this is the 2nd consecutive yr. they have had this condition. Never saw this before last yr.

How can I determine if this is rust or fireblight?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 2:11PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Don, 20 years is mightly long life for a bradford pear. Perhaps it is just their time.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 11:14AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Hi Dieter and JmBlack, Y'all might want to slide over to the Carolina forum where we discussed a related problem in a different issue (yellow pollen type stuff all over someones garden plants). While the OP didn't have cedars near, she had a big bradford suffering she found was causing it.
I think we came to conclude it was a cedar-apple rust issue.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Fire Blight is common with Prunus, as are galls. Fortunately these are Bradford Pears, so a chainsaw will cure the problem.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 8:31PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

What is wrong with the Bradford Pears this year? The same that's wrong with them every year. The only thing these trees are good for is that one can plant a baby and reasonably expect to see it through it's whole short life, unlike most worthwhile trees. They almost always look like broken lollipops to me.

Not sure how Prunus got into the discussion. The latin for bradford pear is Pyrus calleryana.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 12:20PM
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Actually, the latin name for bradford pears is Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'.

Bradford is a cultivar of callery pear. There are newer cultivars that have sligthly better structural integrity and tolerances to fireblight and Southern summer heat.

For example, 'Bradford' has the most excellent red fall foliage and is highly resistant to fireblight (according to Michael Dirr). 'Capital' is susceptible to fireblight, as is 'Aristocrat', which also doesn't flower as profusely as 'Bradford'.

Chanticleer (the trademark name for 'Stone Hill' or 'Cleveland Select') isn't as fireblight resistant as 'Bradford', and doesn't show as much intense red fall color but is still a strong bloomer.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 11:08AM
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