COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) – The South Carolina Forestry Commission is urging people with these invasive trees growing on their property to cut them down and pour herbicide on the stumps to keep these trees from growing back.
The tree they’re taking aim at is the Bradford Pear, also called the Callery Pear, or its technical name, Pyrus calleryana.
Bradford pears were introduced into the United States back in 1909 and became a popular ornamental tree throughout the southeast.
The trees were sterile until the 2000s, when plant experts said they began to cross pollinate and produce abundant amounts of fruit that were then spread by the birds that fed on them.
So, why are experts urging you to cut down these beautiful trees?
There are several reasons, but most notably- they compete with, and cause damage to, native plants! Their pretty appearance hides their deadly initiative.
Bradford pears also have extremely sharp thorns. The spikes can fall off and are known to invade fields, creating a danger to both humans and animals who walk near them. Their thorns are so sharp, they've even been known to shred tractor tires.
Lastly, the Bradford pear is extremely susceptible to wind damage. The tree's branches grow straight up from the base, and stay close together. A strong gust of wind, or minor storm could easily tear a branch off, or even split the tree in half!
Experts ask people to cut down Bradford pears and instead plant native alternatives, such as serviceberry, fringe tree, tupelo, or dogwood among many others.
Read the SC Forestry Commission’s full report on Bradford pears here.
The SCFC even made a video about these invasive trees that they posted on their Facebook page.