DNR: Say no to ornamental pear trees while landscaping - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

DNR: Say no to ornamental pear trees while landscaping

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(WPTA21) -

The DNR is telling people to avoid one popular decorative tree while planning their landscaping. 

Ornamental pear trees, commonly known as Bradford pears, are a popular landscaping tree in Indiana. They are so popular, they are crowding out native trees. With many people taking advantage of the warmer weather by landscaping, the DNR is encouraging people to avoid such trees and replace them when possible.

“Over time different varieties of pear have cross-pollinated in our urban areas, allowing them to rapidly spread into our natural resources,” said Megan Abraham, director of the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology. 

In addition to being invasive, the DNR said these cultivars, which are known for their striking white flowers, typically don’t last long. They are structurally weaker and more easily damaged by storms than native trees. Carrie Tauscher, urban forestry coordinator with the DNR Division of Forestry, says that evidence of the trees’ rapid spread is easy to see.

“Just take a look for glossy-leaved, egg-shaped trees in highway interchanges,” Tauscher said. “It’s common to find them in unmown areas under utility lines and in lots and fields initially cleared for construction that are then left fallow.”

Stopping the spread of this invasive plant means selecting alternate trees for yards and forested property. The best tree to replace any invasive tree species is one that is native to a particular region. People should avoid these commonly available ornamental pear cultivars:

  • Bradford
  • New Bradford®
  • Cleveland select
  • autumn blaze
  • Aristocrat®
  • capitol
  • Chanticleer®
  • dozens more.

If you are looking for an alternative flowering tree for Indiana, the DNR suggests serviceberry trees, which have similar white blooms in the spring and fruits that attract wildlife, are one option. Eastern redbuds, which grow quickly, with eye-catching lavender flowers in the spring are another option.

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