Indiana’s Cooperative Invasive Management and Purdue University sounds alarm on invasive Bradford pear trees


The Bradford pear tree was introduced to North America in the 1960s from China and Taiwan, brought by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Soon the medium-sized landscaping tree became the most popular ornamental tree, prized for its glorious blooms in spring and long-lasting colors in 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 trees have spread in parts of Indiana and pose a significant ecological threat.

Regional Specialist for the state of Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management Amber Slaughterbeck said:

As it’s taking up that space, it's also taking up all the nutrients and not allowing other native trees and shrubs and our wildflowers to have that space. Because this tree is in full bloom and starting to put on bright green leaves, it is a really good time to identify and remove it. There’s never a bad day to cut down a Callery pear, and today is a really great day to cut down a Callery pear.

Purdue Extension Intern Danny Thomas said:

The trees easily spread to forests and parks, where it crowds out native plants at a rate that has earned them a spot on the invasive species list.Effects of Callery pear are still being studied, but one thing is clear: The caliper problem will not go away without proper management.

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