With all the deforestation happening in the world today, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear experts suggest that more trees should be cut down. Despite the growing need to restore natural habitats, the South Carolina Forestry Commission is urging people to chop down trees. However, the particular trees in question are an invasive species.
Is it a good idea?
Chop down the Bradford Pear
Generally, when we hear about chopping down trees, we think of invasive construction projects and reckless deforestation. This time, however, the South Carolina Forestry Commission is recommending that people cut down the Bradford Pear. While the South Carolina Forestry Commission is also recommending putting herbicide in the tree stumps to prevent them from growing back, we recommend a more natural solution such as vinegar and rock salt. (5) Also known as the Callery Pear, or by its original name, Pyrus calleryana, these trees were first introduced to America back in 1909. It quickly became a popular ornamental tree throughout the southeastern part of the United States. (1, 2)
While the trees were once sterile, they began to cross-pollinate in the early 2000s. Soon the trees began producing large amounts of fruit, which was quickly spread by birds. The Bradford Pear fairs quite well in southeast America and has no real predators. Consequently, experts are suggesting people chop them down. (1, 2)
Chopping Down Your Callery Pear Trees
Normally if trees grow well in a certain area, that’s a good thing! We usually want our plantlife to fare well and populate our property. In the case of the Bradford Pear, however, experts suggest we keep them from spreading. One of the main reasons for this is that the Bradford Pear directly competes with other native plant species, causing damage. While their budding appearances tend to disguise their deadly initiative, the truth is that these wildly popular pear trees suck the life out of other plants. (1, 2)
Additionally, Bradford Pear trees grow sharp thorns. These commonly fall off the tree, invade fields, harm other plants, and also present a danger to nearby humans and animals. To put this in perspective, these thorns are so sharp they’ve been known to penetrate tractor tires. Not only that, but Bradford Pears are also dangerous to have in urban settings due to their susceptibility to wind damage. They are a structurally weak tree, making it much safer to remove them then wait for the next storm to take them out along with whatever else is in their path. (1, 2)
Plant More Native Trees!
Those of us who are more interested in planting trees than removing them might feel somewhat guilty when chopping down a Bradford Pear. Rest assured, you can always plant a new tree to replace your Bradford Pear! There are many trees native to America that do well as a replacement. Serviceberry, fringe trees, tupelos, or dogwoods are just a few that are equally beautiful and substantially safer. (1, 2)
If you’re wondering how to tell if a plant is native or foreign to America, consider doing a quick search to find out! Not only do native trees fare well, but they also tend to “get along” better with surrounding plant life. Additionally, they often aren’t hazardous in inclement weather.
So if you’re feeling guilty about cutting down some Bradford Pears, just be sure to replace them with some of your favorite native species!