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A huge branch of a really... #199361 - Ask Extension


A huge branch of a really... #199361

Asked July 14, 2014, 10:12 PM EDT

A huge branch of a really big pear tree split and fell today on my driveway. There was no wind or lightning at the time. It looks like it might have been invested by worms or insects. Can anyone inspect it and see if I should have the entire tree removed?

Wicomico County Maryland

Expert Response

I am so sorry that your Pear tree split and fell on the driveway.  Pears, especially the ornamental pears like Bradford and the cultivars are very susceptible to that type of damage.  Your tree may have had an insect infestation, but more likely it is just the normal growth of the pear that is at fault.  As the pear rapidly grows, the branches are often almost vertical to the main trunk, and the plant produces many branches, often too fast.  The branches actually grow together and the bark surrounds the 'group' of branches making it look like one strong branch when in reality it is many smaller, weaker branches.  Also, the physics of a vertical branch is never as stable as a more horizontal branch.    All of this, the very rapid (and weak) growth, the vertical nature of the branches with the narrow crotch angles combine to make this beautiful tree a very unstable one.  Once it has started to break apart, it is a very good idea to have a licensed and insured arborist take the tree down safely.  They have the equipment and the knowledge needed to safely cut down and remove the tree.  Please plan on replacing it with a different plant that is not a pear.  
I will be happy to look at a picture of the tree in question if you can send it to me.  email is

Ginny Rosenkranz Replied July 15, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT

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