EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — An invasive and smelly pear tree is called a noxious weed by some.
The tree will soon be on the banned list for nurseries and landscapers across the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has decided to place a ban on the Callery Pear.
“The Callery Pear tree is originally from southeast Asia. It was first introduced into the U.S. in the early 1900s. Because it’s a hardy tree, they hoped could correct some of the problems they were having with pear breeding,” Wilkes University Biology Professor William Terzaghi said.
Problems that did not stop with tree breeding.
“It would help other varieties of pear trees bear more fruit. So it was developed with good intent but without knowing what the long-term impact may be. They found that with time, it spreads, it naturalizes and spreads. It takes over wooded borders and areas surrounding agricultural fields,” Shannon Powers of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said.
The flowers are known to have an awful smell when blooming and have multiple ways to create more Callery Pear trees.
“It’s a tough plant to eradicate because it not only disperses by seed but it also disperses vegetatively. So if you break off little bits of it, it will sprout again,” Terzaghi said.
The tree is quite popular and can still be found in some stores and nurseries.
“That’s part of the reason we have phased in the ban. To give nurseries a chance to eliminate the plant from their stock and to develop alternatives. That nursery and owner can give them an alternative that’s not invasive and native. And will have benefits to our environment and not detrimental,” Powers said.
The ban will go into Phase 1 next week as nurseries are asked to reduce their inventory of the tree.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recommends going to a Penn State University extension if you have any questions about native vs invasive species in your own yard.
Chicago’s Morton Abororitum, a scientific leader in trees, states that the Callery Pear’s aggressive growth can quickly overwhelm other natural species of plants.
For more information regarding noxious, controlled, and poisonous plants, head to the Department of Agriculture website.