GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Plant nursery owners are working to clear their stock of Bradford pear trees by 2024 when they are officially banned in South Carolina. Experts are also encouraging homeowners to replace Bradford pear trees on their property with native plants where possible.
“They’re a nuisance plant that’s difficult to get rid of,” said Davis Sanders, who works at South Pleasantburg Nursery. “Pollen is very allergenic and has a very bad smell. There’s really nothing good about that tree.”
Bradford pear trees are invasive but have been widely planted throughout the Southeast. But experts say they are structurally weak, threatening native trees and creating food deserts for local wildlife.
“It doesn’t come from here so a lot of our insects don’t eat it,” says David Jenkins, Forest Health Program Manager for the SC Forestry Commission. “And our birds eat insects, so it’s a stratification effect, and the Bradford tree is displacing a native tree that will support a large number of our native insects and subsequently the birds.”
These plants have thorns, which are difficult to remove, says Jenkins. Clemson University recommends hiring a licensed tree removal professional to deal with a Bradford pear you no longer want on your property.
Under the ban, you can still have a Bradford pear tree in your yard – they just can’t be bought or sold in the state after 2024.
“If you have one in your yard, it’s better to replace it with something native that will support our native ecosystem,” says Jenkins.
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