A gorgeous spring morning, the day after Earth Day, with Arbor Day just around the bend…

A perfect day to take down a bunch of Bradford pear trees in bloom.


That’s what happened this morning on White Street. A Public Works crew was in the process of cutting down nine mature Bradfords along the edge of the municipal parking lot.

David Prown alerted us at about 9a to the activity, which appeared to him to be more than the usual pruning to clear utility lines.

“People’s jaws are just dropping as they go past,” he told us.

Within minutes, another resident contacted us, outraged. He said something similar had recently happened with three trees on Pearl Street.

redbankgreen headed over there. We found the crew well underway, a line of downed trunks in their wake and one section of the parking lot a blizzard of soft, white tree flowerings from severed branches.

Up above, at least three of the departed trees left limbs that had grown around and encased utility wires.

Afterward, we emailed members of the borough’s three-year-old Shade Tree Committee to find out what’s going on.

Vice chairwoman Medy Quiroz got back to us with the following:

The trees are intervening with the fire alarm wire. Normally they will only be
pruned. However, in this case the trees are in bad shape and problematic
due to the species. As a result, it was agreed that they will be removed.

The good news is that we have secured funding to replace them with new trees.
This will be done as soon as the boro arborist, Mike Olimpi, is able to procure them.

What makes them “problematic,” Quiroz told us, is that “They usually split in the middle.”

Online, we quickly found this study, which says:

‘Bradford’ pear was bred for a number of characteristics,
including disease resistance; however, the
tree tends to grow with a structural defect whereby
multiple primary branches originate from a single
point on the main stem, resulting in included bark,
multiple codominants, and large limb or whole tree
failure as the tree matures. This cultivar became a
maintenance problem in many areas…

Quiroz says that nine trees, all along the parking lot edge, are being taken down. She adds that the Pearl Street trees were also Bradford pears, but were removed for a different reason:

They were
damaged by the ice storm and were in bad shape even
before then. That ice storm did a lot of damage to RB trees.

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