The Bradford pear tree was introduced to North America in the 1960s from China, brought by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Soon it became the most popular ornamental tree, prized for its glorious blooms in spring and long-lasting colors in the autumn.
But its strong odor has become a problem for many and the tree creates a mess when the blooms fall. The trees choke out other plants and cost countless hours and resources to clear them from native woodlands.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced that they have added the Callery pear or the Bradford Pear to a list of noxious weeds that cannot be legally sold or cultivated in the state. The ban on sale and cultivation will come into effect from February 9, 2022. Nurseries will be given two years' time to remove the trees from their stock and find alternatives.
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said:
Callery pear is another non-native plant that was brought to this country for its beauty and rapid growth, without regard for its long-term potential to harm our environment and food supply. Banning the sale of an invasive plant is an important tool to stop its spread and is a step we take only after careful consideration of the damage it causes and it's potential for continued harm to our ecosystem and economy.
Pennsylvania will become the third state in the country to ban Bradford pear trees behind Ohio and South Carolina, where sales will cease in 2023 and 2024 respectively.
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