CINCINNATI (WXIX) – The Callery pear tree, which was once considered an ornamental and easy-care tree, is now on a list of invasive plants that will not be allowed to be planted in Ohio starting in January 2023.
This is the strange case of the Callery pear tree – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The Dr. Jekyll, or positives, of this tree were the fact that they were disease resistant, had decorative spring and fall colors, and grew in poor soils.
They were particularly sought after because experts noticed that trees could not self-pollinate between the same cultivars.
The cultivars are the “subtype” of the Callery pear: for example, the Bradford, Aristocrat and Cleveland Select pears are all Callery pears.
Hindsight is 20/20 as even tree experts have recommended this tree due to all the above benefits. This tree species has drawbacks, and that is why the authorities are taking action from next year.
In 2007, Dr. Theresa Culley of the University of Cincinnati published a groundbreaking scientific paper that sheds light on the problem.
Mr. Hyde’s part, or the negatives, is that the different cultivars might interbreed and generate seed and spread quickly.
Joe Boggs, assistant professor at Ohio State University Extension in Hamilton County, says, “They’re crowding out everything. It would be very difficult to grow native plants there (the forest). They will even crowd out bush honeysuckles, another very bad non-native invasive. The main problem is therefore to upset our ecosystems.
And that’s why the Callery pear tree will be added to Ohio’s invasive plant list next January, which means you won’t be allowed to buy, sell, or grow this tree.
Boggs suggests stopping planting them now if you can.
“In the long term, we’re probably going to have to face this challenge forever,” adding to the uphill battle to maintain this invasive species.
If you have these trees and plan to cut them down, plan to treat them with an herbicide or you will have regrowth and the problem will get worse.
Boggs also says that you don’t need to cut down your tree because of this issue – citing that it won’t make much of a difference to what will be a problem for a long time.
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