Bradford pear trees
Those Bradford pears, which are blooming like ghosts in the woods right now, are an invasive specie and they "don't play nice" with others.
Birds spread the seeds from this tree, formally known as pyrus calleryana and native to China, and they take over fast.
But their limbs are weak and their lives are short, making them a very poor choice for homeowners, despite their pretty white blooms.
I wrote about Bradford pears this time last year, confessing that I was one of those homeowners who purchased one years ago.
Prized by suburban developers for their quick growth, their perfect shape, their spectacular (if stinky) blossoms in the spring and their wonderful range of leaf color in the fall, Bradford pears were a popular street tree choice after they were formally introduced in the 1960s.
But the tree proved a disappointment for two reasons. It has become invasive and it is fragile.
The fruit - more like hard little berries - that the tree produces is softened by frost in the fall and favored by birds, who have deposited the seeds everywhere you look, pushing out other native trees. You can see the evidence on your drive to work each morning.
Also, the angles of the branches off the trunk are so narrow - and the foliage so dense - that it is rare to see a Bradford pear that hasn't been split by a wind storm or shredded by an ice storm.
But my husband and I returned from the movies one weekend afternoon - a storm had broken over Annapolis and we could hear it raging from inside the theater - to find our Bradford pear split down the middle as if someone had taken a mighty meat cleaver to it.
The half of the tree that remained upright eventually filled in. But it did not survive long. Another storm took it down.
2 Green Acres recommends planting an Allegheny Serviceberry or a Green Hawthorne instead.