GREENVILLE, SC (Fox Carolina) – Nursery owners are working to clear out their stock of Bradford pear trees before 2024 when they were officially banned in South Carolina. Experts also encourage homeowners to replace Bradford pear trees on their property with native trees if possible.
“It’s a pesky tree, it’s hard to get rid of completely,” said Davis Sanders, who works at South Pleasantburg Nursery. “The pollen is very sensitive and smells very bad. There is nothing really good about that tree.”
Bradford pear trees are considered invasive but are widely planted across the Southeast. But experts said they are structurally weak, threatening native trees and creating food deserts for local wildlife.
“It’s not native here, so a lot of our bugs don’t feed on it,” said David Jenkins, director of the Forestry Health Program at the SC Forest. “And our birds feed on insects, so the effect is cascading and the Bradford tree is formed from a native tree that would support a large number of native insects and then birds.”
The trees have spines that make them difficult to remove, Jenkins said. Clemson University recommends hiring a licensed deforestation expert 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 garden — it cannot be bought or sold in the state after 2024.
“If you have one in your garden, it would be better to replace it with something local that supports our native ecosystem,” Jenkins said.
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