We had measurable snow at my house twice in two weeks! I picked up my camera each time to capture the beauty of the pure white frozen precipitation blanketing the bleak winter landscape. The snow quickly melted, and I’m starting to see things reawakening from their winter slumber. It’s an exciting time of the year for the most part, but there’s one reawakening I’d rather not see.
It won’t be long before patches of Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’) and their progeny spring to life. Covering fields and roadsides, some may describe their white flowers as beautiful, but the invasiveness of this once popular landscape tree thwarts any beauty that might have been. It’s hard to understand how a tree with stinky flowers and poor branch structure became one of the most planted in South Carolina subdivisions.
You might be wondering how a sterile tree could be invasive. While Bradford pears can’t reproduce with each other, they can cross with different Pyrus calleryana cultivars and produce viable fruit. Birds consume the fruit, disperse the seeds, and thickets of wild pear trees bearing sharp thorns are born before you know it.
If you have a Bradford or other Callery pear in your yard, I encourage you to remove it. You might even be able to get a free replacement tree. Supported by Clemson Extension, the Bradford Pear Bounty encourages South Carolinians to remove Callery pears by providing free native replacement trees. While removing one tree might not seem like it will make a difference, the collective efforts of citizens across the state can considerably reduce the impact of this species on our natural ecosystems.
Visit the Bradford Pear Bounty website for more information.