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How the Bradford Pear "Went Viral"

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

The first released cultivar of the flowering callery pear was named Bradford and it was easy to grow, pest free, flowered profusely and best of all could not fertilize itself and make viable seeds. But then other cultivars were released into the market resulting in viable pollen being produced and transferred all over the place by insects drawn to those flowers. Thousands of fertile seeds could be produced on a single tree. Birds gobbled them up and spread them across surrounding environment. Some of the resulting seedlings grew into trees armed with strong thorns up to three inches long that puncture tractor tires and can injure horses and cattle. In October of two thousand and twenty four it will be illegal to sell these plants in South Carolina. It will not be illegal to have them growing in your yard.

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