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Pungent. Malodorous. Stank. Funky. Smelly. Foul. Putrid. Blech!
Do you recognize this tree? While my example is completely overgrown (yes, this tree belongs to the same neighbor with overgrown bamboo – surprise surprise, right?), many of you may be able to spot the telltale features of the Bradford pear tree. These fast-growing trees (native from China and Korea, thankyouGooglesearch) are used quite often in the south. They bloom early in the spring with clusters of dense, beautiful white flowers and last for several weeks. In the summer, the leaves are a healthy, glossy green. In the fall, the densely packed leaves can turn yellow, orange, red, or maroon, making them a great autumnal tree, too. They are available, affordable, fast-growing, tough to kill, and have a lot of curb appeal – hence their widespread use for new subdivisions and commercial landscaping.
When they bloom, they draw bees like hippies to Burning Man. They usually don’t last more than 25 to 30 years before splitting (hello impending project pit, my house is 29!). And, perhaps the most noticeable, every spring, they STINK.
The answer to the obvious question, well, what do they smell like? will depend on who you ask. So far, the descriptions I’ve heard are: rancid peanut butter, something burning, dog poo, tuna, grilling “mystery” meat, a women’s locker room, body odor, skunk, wet dog, and “just plain funky.” But the description I’ve heard the most often is, well… awkward for me to even write. People hint at it, try to describe it in the most tasteful way possible… but the fact is, you simply can’t describe the smell without blushing. I won’t admit to having any reference for the smell myself, but there are folks out there unashamed enough to admit that they recognize it. I’ll let this link do the referencing for me. I’m too busy giggling.
However you choose to describe it, I have a stinky tree outside my front door. A tree that I really do not want houseguests to associate with my home. And one which, in time, may pose a hazard if it splits (but thank goodness it’s on the garage side and not the side of the primary bedroom). There’s not much I can do about it since it’s not on my property, so I simply have to suck it up and deal with the foul odor until I sell. Until then, you’ll find me each spring with my nose scrunched and holding my breath until I can get inside.
So, there you have it. Nearly 500 words on one humiliating, foul-smelling tree. Does anyone out there have stinky-spring-tree-itis like I do? Anyone willing to admit that they agree with the above embarrassing descriptions? You’re braver than I!