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Health, Science & Environment

Bradford Pear trees make Ohio's invasive species list

 The Bradford Tree in full bloom
Davey Tree
The Bradford Tree in full bloom

Beginning in September 2023, the Bradford Pear tree will go on the no-grow list in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has added it to its list of invasive plant species, meaning it will be illegal to plant or sell them.

The ornamental tree was brought over from Asia by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1960’s. It was valued for its beauty and size compared to native species.

However, the Bradford Pear has spread like wildfire throughout the state. The tree was originally bred to not produce seedlings, but that changed after it came into contact with other pear varieties.

Mike Hogan is an associate professor of agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University. He says the tree is able to survive even in the harshest conditions

"They will grow, you know, in between the cracks in the sidewalk type of thing. They do not require high level fertility or high level of soil quality, unlike some other plants. They just grow anywhere," Hogan said.

Although the tree can grow in harsh conditions, it is still very brittle and can be split in half by strong wind or ice storms. Dave Herms is the vice president of research and development at Davey Tree.

“If you have a large Bradford pear, you know there is a risk of the tree breaking. And so depending on the location, the tree could fall on something that’s near your driveway, it could split and fall in your car, for example,” Herms said.

Ohio will be the second state to ban the Bradford Pear tree. Pennsylvania banned it earlier this year.

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Health, Science & Environment invasive speciesinvasive plants
Ben Weaver