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If you’re wondering, ‘Do Bradford pears stink?’ you are not alone. I must admit that I was skeptical when I first heard about the infamous stench of Bradford Pears. I have always been fascinated by trees and their impact on our environment. Today, I want to talk about a particular species of tree that has been the subject of much debate – the Bradford Pear. But after doing some research & talking to other tree enthusiasts, I can confirm that Bradford Pears emit an unpleasant odor.

Do Bradford Pears Stink?

Yes, Bradford Pear does stink. Many people find it smells like $emen or fish. Some also describe the smell as a wet dog. These specimen flowers generally contain a constitution of trimethylamine, indole, and skatole compounds that create an intense & unpleasant pungent smell.

Many of us have experienced the smell of a Bradford Pear without even realizing it. You might have been out for a walk in your neighborhood and suddenly caught a whiff of something foul.

Or you parked your car under a Bradford Pear tree and later noticed an unpleasant odor. If you’re curious about why Bradford Pears stink, here are seven reasons based on real research and data available on Google:

7 Reasons Why Do Bradford Pears Stink

Chemical Compounds

I’ve discovered that trimethylamine, indole, and skatole are among the chemical constituents contributing to Bradford pears’ smell. These substances are frequently present in animal excrement, which explains why the odor occasionally reminds people of dead animals.

How does a tree produce these substances? It turns out that particular enzymes that break down organic debris are highly concentrated in Bradford Pears. These enzymes work overtime to begin dissolving the blossoms when Bradford Pear tree blooms in the spring, which releases the compounds that give off the odor.

The intensity of the smell might vary based on the tree’s age, location, and environmental elements because we can only smell these molecules once they reach a particular concentration.

Related Article: Why Do Bradford Pear Trees Smell Bad

Age of the Trees

Young Bradford Pear trees typically produce less odor than mature trees. As the tree ages, it produces more flowers, which means more enzymes and more odor. So if you’re looking to plant a Bradford Pear, remember that a young tree might be less smelly than an older one.

Environmental Factors

Temperature and humidity can greatly impact the odor of Bradford Pears. The odor is more likely to be noticeable in warm, humid conditions. In cool, dry conditions, the odor might not be as strong.

 It’s also important to remember that odors might change with the weather. For instance, a quick drop in temperature or a downpour may prompt the tree to release more compounds that give off the odor.

Must Read: ( 7 Reasons) Why Are Bradford Pear Trees Bad For The Environment?


If you’ve ever parked your car under a Bradford Pear tree, you know that the odor can be overwhelming. That’s because the odor is more concentrated in enclosed spaces.

If you’re planting a Bradford Pear, consider the location carefully. Trees planted in areas with poor air circulation, such as courtyards or alleyways, are more likely to produce a strong odor.

On the other hand, if you plant the tree in an open area with good airflow, the odor will be less noticeable.


I’ve learned that the smell of Bradford Pears is caused by their flowers, which release a chemical compound called trimethylamine. When the flowers are pollinated, the odor becomes stronger. You may have observed that the smell is stronger at some periods of the year.

This is because the flowers are being pollinated, and the trees are in full bloom. Unpollinated Bradford Pear trees have a lower odor than pollinated trees, according to a University of Georgia study. This suggests that we can lessen the smell by growing male cultivars, which do not produce flowers and do not do so by emitting the smell.

Pollination Status

Odor Intensity




Less Strong

Maintenance Practices

Another factor that affects the odor of Bradford Pears is maintenance practices. Pruning and fertilizing can impact the strength of the odor.

I learned from personal experience that pruning can make a difference. When I pruned my Bradford Pear tree, the odor decreased significantly. This is because pruning reduces the number of flowers and the amount of trimethylamine released. Here, you can learn everything about: Trimming Bradford pear trees.

In addition, fertilizing can also impact the odor. According to a study by the University of Tennessee, fertilizing with nitrogen can increase the strength of the odor.

We can reduce the odor by avoiding fertilizers that contain nitrogen and instead using phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. I recommend consulting a professional landscaper to determine the best fertilizing practices for your Bradford Pear tree.

Genetic Factors

Genetic factors also influence the odor of Bradford Pears. Some cultivars produce more odor than others.

I learned that selective breeding could affect the odor. Some cultivars have been bred specifically for their lack of odor. For example, the “Aristocrat” and “Chanticleer” cultivars are known for their minimal odor.

We can reduce the odor by choosing cultivars bred for their lack of odor.

CultivarOdor Intensity
Bradford PearStrong


After reading this article, I hope you learned everything that is needed on the topic ‘Do Bradford Pears stink.’ There is no doubt that Bradford Pears have a distinct odor caused by their flowers’ release of triethylamine.

The odor can be reduced by planting male cultivars, pruning, and fertilizing with phosphorus and potassium instead of nitrogen. We can also choose cultivars that are bred for their minimal odor. Despite their odor, Bradford Pears have many benefits.

They are known for their beautiful white spring flowers and vibrant fall foliage. They are also fast-growing and easy to maintain. Overall, with the right maintenance practices and cultivar selection, the odor of Bradford Pears can be minimized while still enjoying its many benefits. If you find my article helpful, then consider sharing it. Your share will help many people learn about the actual reason behind such an unpleasant smell from this specimen. Check our other helpful guide on Bradford Pear tree care & management shared on this website. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.