The Bradford Pear Tree Is an Invasive Species

Mar 13, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One of our favorite guests on Making It Grow is Durant Ashmore, a landscape architect and nurseryman in Fountain Inn. If you run into Durant this time of year, he may be somewhat tight jawed as he takes personal offense at the ubiquitous and now in full bloom Bradford pears. Or perhaps I should say Pyrus calleryana (cultivar) ‘Bradford.’ Sadly, this plant is still sold by nurseries even though it is on the invasive species list in South Carolina and many other states. Selected in this country as a sterile hybrid from one of thousands of offshoots from the original Asian Callery pear, this tree was touted as the best street tree imaginable as it could withstand almost any insult once established. At that time the only problem known was its branching habit which made it susceptible ice or wind damage.