Erik Gould, Every Bradford Pear Tree along Freeborn Ave., East Providence, RI , 2003 (Detail: 7 of 48 panels), Toned gelatin silver prints, Rhode Island Photographic Survey Archives, Erik Gould photographer

The Bradford Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana) has long been popular with urban arborists. According to Better Homes and Gardens, the tree is popular for "its uniform, oval shape and beautiful (though foul-smelling) white spring flowers" and for its ability to thrive in an automobile-centered environment. These trees seem unaffected by air pollution, and according to a city tree specialist we spoke with in Providence, "they tend to grow around wires." One other feature makes them popular with the Department of Public Works: they tend to self-destruct when they reach 20-30 feet in height. Because the mature wood is brittle and the branch angles are weak, the tree is prone to split apart in storms. They are replaced long before roots start breaking up sidewalks or they become so large that they impair a driver's visibility. These 48 trees are planted as a screen above I-195 on Freeborn Ave. in East Providence, RI.

Copyright © 2002, Photographic Resource Center, Inc.