RALEIGH, North Carolina
A new program in North Carolina is placing a “bounty” on invasive Bradford pear trees as they spread through the state’s forests.
The initiative is set to begin with an April 23 event in Greensboro and may expand to other locations in the fall, according to the North Carolina State University website. This will allow people to get up to five new native trees for their gardens in exchange for cutting the same number of Bradford pears.
“We probably won’t eradicate the Bradford pear from North Carolina,” said Kelly Oten, a forestry professor at the university who is helping launch the program. “But we want to increase awareness of how this tree harms the environment, reduce the number of people planting them, and encourage people to replace their own trees with something else.”
Native to Asia, the distinctively scented white flowering tree was introduced to the United States in the early 20th century. Bradford pears can interbreed with other types of pear trees and spread into natural forests to replace native trees and create food deserts for birds, according to Oten.
Residents who cut down trees in their yard should bring before and after photos of the event in order to get new ones. A registration form is available at treebountync.com.