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Publication #ENH-695

Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford': 'Bradford' Callery Pear1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2


`Bradford' is the original introduction of Callery Pear and has an inferior branching habit when compared to other cultivars which have since been developed. It has many vertical limbs with embedded bark packed closely on the trunk and grows about 40 feet high by 30 to 45 feet wide but the crown is dense and the branches long and not tapered, making it quite susceptible to wind and ice damage and other breakage. However, it does put on a gorgeous, early spring display of pure white blossoms, and the small, red/brown fruits which follow will attract quite a number of birds who find them delicious. Fruit set may be increased by planting two or more cultivars of Callery Pear together. Fall color is incredible, ranging from red and orange to dark maroon.

Figure 1. 

Young Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford': 'Bradford' Callery Pear


Ed Gilman

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Pyrus calleryana
Pronunciation: PIE-rus kal-ler-ee-AY-nuh
Common name(s): 'Bradford' Callery Pear
Family: Rosaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 5A through 9A (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: container or planter; street without sidewalk; screen; shade; specimen; parking lot island < 100 sq ft; parking lot island 100-200 sq ft; parking lot island > 200 sq ft; sidewalk cutout (tree pit); tree lawn 3-4 feet wide; tree lawn 4-6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; urban tolerant; highway median
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 30 to 40 feet
Spread: 30 to 40 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: oval, round
Crown density: dense
Growth rate: fast
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate, crenate
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: pinnate, reticulate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches, 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow, red, orange, purple
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. 


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Flower color: white/cream/gray
Flower characteristics: very showy


Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: tan, brown
Fruit characteristics: attracts birds; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: susceptible to breakage
Current year twig color: brown
Current year twig thickness: thick
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; occasionally wet; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: tolerant
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

The major problem with the `Bradford' Callery Pear has been too many upright branches growing too closely together on the trunk. Prune the trees early in their life to space lateral branches along a central trunk. This is not easy and a skilled pruning crew is needed to build a stronger tree. Even following pruning by a skilled crew, trees often look misshappen with most of the lower foliage removed and the lower portions of the multiple trunks showing. This tree probably was not meant to be pruned, but without pruning has a short life, thus `Bradford' Pear defines a Catch-22.

Callery Pear trees are shallow-rooted and will tolerate most soil types including clay and alkaline, are pest- and pollution-resistant, and tolerate soil compaction, drought and wet soil well. `Bradford' is the most fireblight-resistant cultivar of the Callery Pears. Unfortunately, as `Bradford' and some of the other cultivars approach 20 years old, they begin to fall apart in ice and snow storms due to inferior, tight branch structure. But they are certainly beautiful and grow extremely well in urban soil until then and probably will continue to be planted because of their urban toughness. As you plan downtown street tree plantings, remember that in downtown sites many other trees succumb before this one due to a variety of reasons, but the Callery Pears seem to hang on pretty well despite the problems with branch attachments and multiple trunks.

`Autumn Blaze' has wonderful fall color earlier than other cultivars.


Aphids cause distorted growth and deposits of honeydew.

Scales can be seen on `Bradford' but usually they are not serious.

Several borers may attack pear. Keep trees healthy to prevent attacks.


Slightly susceptible to fireblight when grown in the south but the damage is usually only noticed at branch tips. `Bradford' shows the best resistance to fire blight in tests conducted in the southeast of all Callery Pear cultivars tested.

Tips of fire blight-infected branches appear scorched and burnt. The leaves droop, turn brown, but remain hanging on the tree. The bacteria wash down the branch and form cankers. Bark inside the canker often shreds and peels. When a canker girdles a branch, that branch dies. The Callery Pears are resistant, but not immune to this disease and some cultivars are apparently more resistant than others. Prune out infected branches well below the infected area.



This document is ENH-695, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.