Bradford Pear – Excessive Sprouts Underneath

Q: I have a major problem with sprouts from the roots of a ‘Bradford’ pear. They are growing both inside and outside of the perimeter of the bed in my front yard. I have landscape cloth under the mulch; however, it now has many holes in it from my pruning of the excessive sprouts.

A: Ethepon (click for sources) might work but it is expensive to buy and hard work to apply….and it’s not a permanent solution.

It’s available locally at Cooper Seeds in Lawrenceville.

In general, trees send up root sprouts when they are stressed. Your pear has shallow roots due to growing in hard, dry soil. In addition, since I can’t see the flare where the trunk turns into roots, it looks to be planted too deeply. All of these are stressors which could lead to root sprouts.

I don’t have a good solution for you. The landscape cloth will not prevent sprouts from growing through it, as you have learned. About the best you can do is mow the sprouts as they occur or consider removing the tree.