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.
North Carolina State University has teamed up with the NC Forest Service, NC Urban Forest Council, and NC Wildlife Federation to launch the “Bradford Pear Bounty” program, through which property owners have the opportunity to exchange up to five Bradford pear trees for an equal number of free, native, young replacement trees. The initiative is set to start with an April 23 event in Greensboro and could expand to more locations in the fall. Kelly Oten, a forestry professor at the university said:
We probably won’t eradicate Bradford pear from North Carolina. But we do want to increase awareness about how this tree is harming the environment, reduce how many people plant them, and encourage people to replace their own trees with something else.
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