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Bradford Pear Trees Will Be Added to the State Plant Pest List in 2024

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

It is not and will not be illegal to have Bradford pears growing in your yard. However, they are now on the State Plant Pest list and beginning October first, two thousand twenty-four, nurseries will no longer sell Bradford pears or any other cultivar of the invasive flowering pear, Pyrus calleryanna. Seeds from China were originally brought to the United States to serve as rootstock to help the edible pear industry survive a terrible tree disease. Fields with mature trees from these seeds just sat around for decades until someone noticed that one particular tree flowered profusely, had beautiful fall color, perfect round shape, no thorns, and grew like a weed. This tree was named Bradford Pear and it was self-infertile so produced no viable seeds. Sadly, the story does not stop there.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.