Bradford pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) are popular for their masses of white blooms in the spring, their neat, pyramidal shape, and their long-lasting, brilliant orange fall foliage. These ornamental pear trees do not produce any fruit fit for human consumption, but the small, hard round berries they do produce are loved by birds. While beautiful, Bradford pear trees are quite fragile. Due to their distinct shape, they tend to split and break easily, especially in stormy weather.
Bradford pear trees prefer full sun and well-drained soil, so choose a location that offers both of these things. In addition, find a planting site that is sheltered from the wind, as the branches of the Bradford pear easily break. These top-heavy trees have been known to snap completely in half in a moderate wind or ice storm. Finally, consider how close you want the Bradford pear tree to any windows that may be opened to spring breezes in your home. Unfortunately, the tree's beautiful white blossoms have a very unpleasant fragrance.
Use a shovel to dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball of the Bradford pear, but only as deep. Keep the roots of the sapling moist by placing them in a bucket of water while you are preparing the hole. After you dig the hole, loosen the soil around the edges of the hole. This makes it easier for the roots to spread out. Place the tree in the hole, making sure it is centered and straight. Then, back fill the hole and tamp down the soil to remove any air pockets that might have formed near the roots, which can dry them out.
Water your Bradford pear immediately after planting. Create a basin around the tree by mounding up the dirt, and fill the basin with water. This will allow the water to seep slowly into the ground rather than quickly running off. Add a one-inch thick layer of mulch in a circle around the tree, but do not let it touch the trunk. If your Bradford pear sapling is very young, plant a tree stake next to the trunk and tie it to the stake. This will support the tree through its first growing season. Do not fertilize the Bradford pear tree during its first month or so of growth, as this can damage the fragile roots.