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, costing 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 Bradford pear trees for an equal number of free, native, young replacement trees. The program will be open to all southeastern N.C. residents who pre-register and take before-and-after photos of Bradford pear trees they have cut down. The replacement trees will be distributed at Legion Stadium on Nov. 4 from 9 to 11 a.m on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tara Moore, NCWF’s director of conservation partnerships, part of the NC Bradford Pear Tree Bounty, said:
Everyone initially believed Bradford pears wouldn’t spread, but they did - quickly. It wasn’t long before they escaped into our natural forests and began to outcompete native species.
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