The Greenville (SC) Times recently published interesting articles questioning whether or not Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana) trees are more trouble than they are worth.
Bradford pears can add beautiful spring color with their bountiful white blooms and conical shape. However, the article points out that the trees have a relatively short life span (approximately 20-25 years) and are frustratingly prone to breaking.
Apparently, the article was popular, as the paper quickly posted a follow-up article offering alternatives to the Bradford pear. Some of the suggestions included Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia), upright Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), Redbuds (Cercis), or Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).