Q: My fifteen-year old Bradford pear split down the middle during the leftovers of hurricane Frances. The half remaining is standing tall. Since these trees seem to be pretty hardy, I am going to give it a chance to recuperate. Do I paint or cover the exposed area of the trunk or do I let it heal on its own? A local nursery told me that they recommend not using anything and letting it heal itself. Your thoughts?
A: I agree with the nursery about not painting it…but I disagree with you about keeping it. I recently passed a Bradford that split six weeks ago…and then split again after Hurricane Frances. At fifteen years of age, it’s time to cut down the Bradford pear. If you simply must have this type plant, consider the ‘Aristocrat’, ‘Cleveland Select’ or ‘Autumn Blaze’ varieties. Other good substitutes include ‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry, ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud and ‘Callaway’ flowering crabapple.