A Callery Pear tree. Photo by Ryan Armbrust, Kansas Forest Service, Bugwood.org via invasive.org.
A flowering fruit tree will join a list of more than two-dozen banned plants in the commonwealth in February, the state Department of Agriculture announced late last month.
The offending tree, the Callery Pear or Bradford Pear, will join the list of Class B noxious weeds, and be banned from sale or cultivation in Pennsylvania beginning Feb. 9, according to the department.
The Callery Pear is an invasive species first introduced in the United States in the early 1900s to boost the fruit production of less resilient and blight-vulnerable European pear trees.
“Callery pear is another non-native plant that was brought to this country for its beauty and rapid growth, without regard for its long-term potential to harm our environment and food supply,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a statement announcing the ban. “Banning the sale of an invasive plant is an important tool to stop its spread and is a step we take only after careful consideration of the damage it causes and its potential for continued harm to our ecosystem and economy.”
The Class B designation is attributed to weeds that “are so prolific they cannot realistically be eradicated,” according to a statement from the department.
The prohibition of sales of the Callery Pear is the first phase of the ban’s two-year rollout. Beginning next month, nurseries and landscaping businesses in the commonwealth will receive notice from the state Department of Agriculture to decrease their inventory of Callery Pear trees.
By February 2023, nurseries or businesses still selling or utilizing the invasive species will be issued a warning. Beginning in February 2024, the department says it will issue “stop sale” and “destruction orders” to those selling or distributing Callery Pear trees.
The department is encouraging Pennsylvanians with Callery Pear on their property to “consider native alternatives.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recommends three native, non-invasive Callery Pear alternatives – the Allegheny Serviceberry, White Fringetree and Sourwood tree.
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