Six Months for a Bradford Pear Tree


Something very unusual is happening in Austin lately. Yesterday, nearly 4 inches (10cm) of rain fell in downtown Austin, and the weatherman said that it would all be gone by sundown. When we awoke this morning, it was raining gently, and continued to do so for over the next 3 hours. We are so grateful for the rain, that we don’t even mind that it’s during the weekend!

Anyway, I spent the morning getting all caught up on post-processing my photos. I had some unfinished work still from several months ago. As I was going back through the last several months of photos, I noticed that I had several photos of the Bradford Pear tree in our backyard. I decided to show some of them here. I’m going to keep the words to a minimum, but I will mention the date that each of the photos was taken.

The photo above was taken on December 1, 2012. I took the photo to show the beginning of the fall colors. If you look into the shadows underneath the tree, I hope that you can see all 4 of the deer that were staring at me while I took the photo.

It wasn’t until February 3, 2013 before I find another photo of this tree.


Several varieties of trees in Austin keep their leaves all year long.

I took this next photo on the morning of February 21st, to capture the clouds as a weather front passed by our house.


Just two days later, on Feb. 23, I took these next three photos, because the Bradford Pear tree was showing signs of budding out new leaves.


Let’s get a little closer to see what’s happening here.


And let’s get even closer…


Three days later, on Feb. 26, I went out to see how things were progressing along.


Five days later, on March 03, the tree was finally starting to blossom.


Five days after that, on a drizzly March 8, it had lots of leaves, but not as many white blossoms as in a normal year. I think that is because we are about 2 and a half years into a severe draught in Texas.


Since New Year’s we have had a normal amount of rainfall for our area, but the two years of draught prior to that have left Lake Travis about 52 feet (16m) below its full level, and many of the plants have been negatively affected as well.

Two days later, on March 10, I took these next three photos.


It’s nice to see the clear blue sky again! Note that the old Cedar Elm tree that I use to frame the Bradford Pear tree hasn’t started to leaf out yet.


On a few of the lower branches, there were a few blossoms.


During most years, the entire tree is covered with these brilliant white blossoms – but not this year.

Ok, so fast forward about 4 weeks to April 7th. Spring has finally sprung!


The yard is greening-up, and even the old Cedar Elm tree has leafed-out.

I went underneath the Bradford Pear tree and took this photo looking up into its branches.


A week later, on April 13, not much has changed.


But now fast forward until just 2 days ago on May 23rd.


It’s amazing what a little yard fertilizer, a little rain, a weekly watering from the sprinkler system, and the mild temperatures that we’ve had this spring can do for a yard. That is the greenest that our yard has been in at least three years. And that photo was taken before the 4 inches (10cm) of rainfall that we’ve had in the last 24 hours!

I know that this blog post is quite a bit different than my normal posts. I didn’t really need to say anything. It would have been interesting to see what sort of comments people would have left, if I had simply shown the date underneath each photo – and not said anything else in this post…

Thank you for visiting my blog!

7 thoughts on “Six Months for a Bradford Pear Tree”

  1. Gregg hopefully things will normalize for you guys down there.

    Part of the problem with lackluster trees is stress. And sometimes it’s a manmade problem, like when crazy people in Las Vegas trying to plant green lawns.

    I swear sometimes grass only really grows where it wants to. When I was in downstate NY, a friend of mine down there had tried year after year after year to get a front lawn to grow. The ground would have none of it. Every time he planted, it would just die after about 3 months. This even with religious watering. I have a similar patch here in the yard. A few years ago I totally dug it out. I put down sod. I nurtured. It dies. It’s just bare dirt, yet the wild pansies seed themselves and grow. Just crazy. Nature is fascinating.

    Have you been over to Travis lately? I remember the pics you posted back when. So sad. Was a beautiful place when I was there many years ago.

    1. Libby, we have had a normal amount of rainfall for this year, so far. The problem is that the rain hasn’t been falling in the areas that drain into the highland lakes, including Lake Travis. The recent rains did bring up Lake Travis almost a foot, but it is still a foot below what it was when I did that photo story about the draught out at the lake over a year ago. The current level of Lake Travis is 629 feet above sea level, which is only 38% full (which is at 681 feet above sea level). That’s a very serious situation to be at as we enter the hot, dry summer.

      Yes, Lake Travis normally is a very beautiful lake, but I haven’t heard anyone call it that for nearly 3 years now…. it is very, very sad.

  2. Gregg, I really enjoyed the photos and – especially – the commentary! I’m glad you decided to not remain totally silent. Maybe this recent wonderful rain will make up a little for the drought, and I’ve loved everything about it – except the mosquitos!!! They drove me from my gardening this afternoon! Maybe they’re as excited about rain as we are, you think?

    1. Well, thank you Laurie! I am pleased that you liked my commentary.

      The rain is very welcome, but it would be great if God would put some of it back into Lake Travis.

      Yea, I’m sure that those skeeters are buzzin’ from all of the excitement of an actual rainfall around here!

  3. Hi Gregg,

    nice tree. I’m in Sydney Australia and I planted a Bradford Pear out the front of my house this afternoon. It’s about 2 metres tall and in the last week has started showing leaves but no flowers.

    How old is yours and what is the best way and time to fertilize?

    Thanks. Jeremy

    1. Jeremy, our Bradford Pear tree is about 11 1/2 years old now. I don’t think that it flowered for the first couple of springs, but has every year since then.

      It seems to thrive just fine with the composition of the natural soil here in Austin, so we don’t give it any fertilizer other than the same fertilizer that we just put over our entire yard twice a year.

      I hope that your tree grows strong, flowers in the spring, and turns vibrant colors in the fall like ours does. Thanks for stopping by my little blog and leaving your comment!

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