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 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 starts in Catawba County on April 22 and will be expanded to other counties with buyback events planned in October.
Kelly Oten, part of the NC Bradford Pear Tree Bounty, said:
So there's a lot of people who just never even knew that Bradford pears were invasive. So just getting the chance to spread the word, and hopefully, you know, turn this excess amount of Bradford pears into more of a trickle into our natural ecosystems is really what we're getting at here.
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