Bradford pears: Smelly, frail, and invasive


To the Editor:

I am writing in response to my neighbors who are objecting to my removing two Bradford pear trees on my property on Clough Lane in Vineyard Haven (this week’s edition of the MVTimes). As noted, I am building a small guest house on the property, and these trees are in front of the new construction. Over the years, I have had major problems with these fragile and malodorous trees. One was destroyed during a hurricane. Large branches have broken off and fallen, fortunately only into my yard. The Bradford pear tree is known for having a “weak woody” structure prone to breakage, and when in bloom, emitting a terrible, “rotten fish” odor. Indeed, it is considered by many as an invasive species because it hybridizes with other Callery pear varieties (NY Times, March 18, 2016; USA Today, March 30, 2016) and produces a thorny offspring.

Since these trees were well away from the main house (on Pine Street) and outdoor congregate areas, these problems did not seem to pose either health or safety issues. However, this is no longer the case. I too admire the lovely white blossoms and the fall colors, but these unstable and smelly trees are too close to the house and the outdoor gathering spaces.

I hope to continue to enjoy the blossoms and the changing colors on the two remaining trees. However, according to several articles, the trees become more fragile and prone to splitting and breakage as they age.

Carol White
Vineyard Haven