Decorative Tree is Beautiful, but a Threat to the Northwest’s Landscape

There’s a decorative tree that looks amazing in the spring that is wreaking havoc. As a matter of face, landscape contractor Grant Ashmore says they’re an environmental disaster that could wipe out our future forests. We’re talking about Callery Pears, or the Bradford Pear. They look absolutely stunning when they bloom in the spring, but they’re invasive and choke out other trees. They are spread by birds, who eat the small fruit they produce.  They end up in the wild, and take over the landscape.  Some states have banned them, and reputable nurseries refuse to sell them.

We talked to landscape contractor Grant Ashmore, who says he’s proud that he’s never planted a single Bradford Pear tree.  (you can hear the interview by clicking the above arrow

Now as far as the origin of the Bradford Pear, there’s a connection to Southern Oregon. A plant scientist named Frank Reimer of the the Southern Oregon Experiment Station in Talent was using a test orchard to work on fire-blight control and found that the Callery Pear, first brought to the States in 1908, was highly resistant to fire blight and might be used as a rootstock onto which varieties of the European pear could be grafted. He worked with botanists to bring back seeds from China and they were tested in Reimer’s orchards in Oregon.

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