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Avoid Pear Trees During Spring Planting: Conservation Agent Warn - KOAM TV 7

Avoid Pear Trees During Spring Planting: Conservation Agent Warns Invasive Species Danger to Habitat

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Joplin, MO -

Spring is the time for planting and  also the time for storms when trees can be upended or split by lightning.  There's one tree nurseries and conservation agents say you should avoid.?

 A food source for birds," Gayl Navarro knows trees and explained some benefits of the  The ozark nursery owner has lots of the Japanese tree lilac. One of many  flowering trees that are  picked for residential yards and driveways of businesses. Even lining downtown Joplin.
 But that flowering tree, the  Callery pear tree also known as the Bradford pear, gets  a no vote from the experts. 

Navarro explained, "They're fast growing which equals weak wooded. For storm season, they're bound to fall apart somewhere in high winds or lightning."
Callery, or Bradford  pears are a new enemy of conservation agents, who say it
s an invasive species spreading fast.
Jon Skinner, a  forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation said,
Those produce fruit. Birds eat the fruit and  their droppings are dropping seeds all  over the place that are genetically unique and can pollinate each other so we now end  up with these large numbers of callery pear taking over fields, taking over small wood lots and what theyre doing is they're blocking out the ability of the native plants to survive. And though they may provide  a little bird food right off the callery doesnt provide anything else for the environment.


Along Interstate 49 just south of the Fairview exit to the west is an entire field of trees, mostly Callery pears. It may look like a pretty green field but Skinner said it should be native prairie and the invasive pear is disrupting the environment for butterflies, grasshoppers and crickets.

Skinner explained,  "T
he bad thing about having  more pear trees, they’re gonna depress our native landscape plants and reduce  that long term viability  of our landscape to support nature. Without some plants you lose insects. Without those insects you lose  certain animals who wont have that food anymore and it goes up the food chain  in the nature area."

Skinner added, Its a characteristic we see with a lot of invasive plants. Originally, theyre brought in by people. People  bring them in for aesthetics or something  else. They turn out to be a problem. This  is definitely human caused cause we brought it in  from Asia to the United States.  And now we're trying to let  folks know about it so they can make a choice. Something thats gonna  be less detrimental to their larger landscape not just  their individual yard.

Its not illegal to sell Callery or Bradford pear trees but Joplin Greenhouse stopped a few years ago because the trees  easily split in storms. Skinner said other blooming trees like dogwoods are better for the environment. While  Navarro pointed to some even sturdier options.

She suggested,
Cherry trees, theres the pink and white blooming cherry  trees, service berry trees which are native and a food source for birds.  I have some tulip trees which is a considerably larger tree.
So we're trying to  lean people towards trees that are indigenous to this area and  they know how to stand up to the weather." 

 

Skinner says the Callery pear is not yet on the invasive species list with the Department of Agriculture but warns if it makes it, homeowners could be forced to remove the tree. So it’s better not to plant one now.
         
 

 


 

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