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Fertilizers for Bradford Pear Trees

By Michelle Hogan

The Bradford pear is a common landscape tree in the U.S., particularly in places like Tennessee and Maryland, because of its fast growth, fall color and spring blooms. However, its weak trunk angles make it a difficult tree to keep. If left uncared for, the trees eventually break, causing a huge mess, damage and leaving the tree to be used as little more than overpriced firewood. Because nitrogen promotes fast growth, it should not be used in large quantities on a Bradford pear tree, unless absolutely necessary.


Mycorrhizae are generally sold in powdered to be mixed with water. It is to be used with other fertilizers like compost teas and kelp that aid the tree in absorbing proper soil nutrients. You can inject the fertilizer into the soil near the tree roots by digging or augering small holes, or simply mix it with water and apply at the tree's base. Mycorrhizae are fungi that promote soil and tree root health.

Worm Castings

A natural fertilizer and soil conditioner, worm castings are the organic fertilizer that worms leave behind after eating their way through food scraps, manure and other organic items. Because of the way worms work their way through soil, the fertilizer is naturally aerated and helps the tree's root drain. Castings are very safe and nontoxic for almost any plant or tree. They are simple to use because they never need to be mixed or measured. There is no such thing as too much or too little. Worm castings are an ideal fertilizer for Bradford pears because they help amend the soil's nutrients.

Fertilizer Tree Spikes

Certain commercial tree spikes, available in organic formulas, are made for all outdoor trees and shrubs. The convenient spike is inserted into the ground, usually around the drip line of the tree to promote the best feeding. Because they are formed in solid spikes, the nutrients and microbes within the fertilizer are slowly released into the roots. For the Bradford pear, look for spikes that are low in nitrogen and help promote long-term soil quality.


About the Author


Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.