I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this tree is a gardener's nightmare. Sadly, we inherited this tree when we moved into this house. Unfortunately, this tree is planted in nearly every yard in my neighborhood. Worse yet, this tree is planted along all the avenues in Northern Virginia. The tree of which I speak, is the dreaded Bradford Pear.
In my neighborhood this tree reigned as queen on the main avenue of homes a few streets over, that comprise the main entry into the neighborhood. Admittedly, they were stunning in spring, wonderfully shady (though horribly low branched) to walk under, and glorious in autumn.
However in the last few years, these trees have fallen splat in many a windstorm. Many of them fell at one time. Most of these homes are now devoid of any tree in their front yard, because this was the tree that the builder placed in their front yard. Now the avenue looks bare.
It's been a mixed bag of emotions seeing these trees fall. Fortunately no homes have been damaged. Amazingly they always seem to fall away from the house. Hope no cars have been damaged. As bleak as the landscape of this once lovely avenue looked, my kids and I must confess we don't miss the stench. The flowers of the Bradford Pear has a horribly disgusting smell. Hamlet once said, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." He may have literally meant the Bradford Pear!
For more on the woe this tree brings, read this article from Steve Bender of Southern Living. In fact, simply do a google search. There are gobs of articles written against the tree. In fact, I've read that some areas of the country have now banned the Bradford Pear because they are producing more horrid versions in the wild. When hunting for trees to add to the landscape, this is not the best choice.