Callery Pear Invasion

By  | August 2, 2021 | Filed under: News

MONTGOMERY-Callery pear (most common variety is the Bradford Pear) is a common non-native invasive species found throughout Alabama and the United States. Native to southeastern Asia, Callery pear was imported into the U.S in the early 20th century and is now a popular ornamental tree. Callery pear is incredibly resistant to environmental stresses and grows at a rapid pace, making it one of the worst invasive tree species in Alabama. An invasive species is defined as a non-native species, not indigenous to the U.S, that negatively impacts an ecosystem, the economy, or human health. Callery pear form monocultures of dense thickets and outcompete our native species for sunlight, water, and nutrients. The tree fruits are eaten by birds and other animals and through defecation the seeds are spread far and wide. The best time of year to identify Callery pear is during the spring, when the trees are full of the white 5-petal cluster of flowers and a fowl musty rotting odor is emitted.

Management of this invasive species is critical for preserving or restoring areas for wildlife. Consider removing Callery pear from your landscaping and replacing with native species such as hawthorn, native plum, blackgum, or chalk maple. Large trees can be cut, and the stump ground down or chemically treated to control sprouts. Smaller saplings can be sprayed with an herbicide to kill the tree and monitored for new sprouts. Always read and follow all label instructions when handling herbicide. Contact your local WFF District Technical Assistance biologist for more information on controlling Callery pear.

Media Release/Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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