Bradford pear trees to be officially banned in SC by 2024

Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 2:07 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2022 at 2:15 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Plant nursery owners are working to clear out their stock of Bradford pear trees before 2024 when they are officially banned in South Carolina. Experts are also encouraging homeowners to replace Bradford pear trees on their property with native trees if possible.

“They’re a nuisance tree, very difficult to get rid of completely,” said Davis Sanders, who works with the South Pleasantburg Nursery. “The pollen is highly allergenic and it has a very foul smell. There’s really nothing good about that tree.”

Bradford pear trees are invasive but have been planted widely across the Southeast. But experts said they are structurally weak, threaten native trees and create food deserts for local wildlife.

“It’s not native here so a lot of our insects don’t feed on it,” said David Jenkins, Forest Health Program Manager of the S.C. Forestry Commission. “And our birds feed on insects so it’s a cascading effect and that Bradford tree is taking place of a native tree that would support a large population of our native insects and then onto birds.”

Jenkins said the trees have thorns that make them difficult to remove, though. Clemson University recommends hiring a licensed tree removal expert to deal with a Bradford pear you no longer want on your property.

Under the ban, you can still have a Bradford pear tree in your yard - they just can’t be bought or sold in the state after 2024.

“If you do have one in your yard it would be better to replace it with something native that is going to support our native ecosystem,” Jenkins said.