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The Invasive Bradford Pear

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

There’s a lot of chatter about the news that Bradford pears and other cultivars won’t be sold after October of two thousand twenty four. But truthfully, we should thank the committee which researched and worked hard to have these trees put on the plant pest list. Their seedlings often have truly dangerous thorns -- up to three inches long – which makes working around or removing these plants difficult – the thorns can shred tractor tires! These trees are pest free, and the seeds have great germination rates – resulting in large stands of them taking over fallow fields and roadsides. They crowd out plants that would provide nectar and pollen to a greater variety of beneficial insects over a longer period of time. However, it will still be perfectly legal to have and keep existing trees growing on your property.

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.