The Bradford Pear Bounty program allows people to remove trees in exchange for a native tree

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SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – There is continued pressure to remove Bradford pear trees from South Carolina. Over the next few weeks, people will be able to trade in their Bradford pears in their yard for a native tree.

“They’re one of the first trees you’ll see blooming in the spring with the big white flowers,” said Blake Pulley, the store manager at Gunter’s Garden in Spartanburg.

Some have said it’s a pretty tree, but its negative impacts outweigh its benefits.

“They’re also going to have a kind of stinky smell,” Pulley said.

Bradford pears are common throughout South Carolina, but some are working to change that.

“They’re very loosely structured, they will eventually break up with snow and ice storms, and there are many better options when it comes to trees that could also be native trees,” Pulley said.

Through the bounty program, supported by Clemson Extension and the South Carolina Forestry Commission, owners can remove up to five Bradford pears from their garden and exchange them for free native trees.

“The point of this program is to educate people and encourage them to plant native things because native plants and native trees, they’re not going to take over areas,” said David Coyle, assistant professor of human health. forests and invasive species in Clemson. University.

Coyle said the tree also contributes to the Callery pear, an invasive species in the Southeast.

“When they settle in a natural area, they kind of crowd out everything else and you have this big grove of Callery pears,” Coyle said.

He said trees do not help the ecosystem and also create food deserts for some animals.

“They really don’t tolerate any insects, and insects are a major food source for many spring-feeding birds,” Coyle said.

Coyle said the trees are so invasive that soon people won’t be able to buy them. A sales ban begins in October 2024 in South Carolina.

“The benefits you get from looking great by no means outweigh the negative it has over everything else,” Coyle said.

Homeowners who want to take advantage of this program are responsible for removing trees from their yard. The program is open to anyone living in South Carolina, but they must register first.

The events will take place Feb. 26 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, March 5 from 8 a.m. to noon at 200 Laurel St. in Conway, and March 19 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Nettles Park in Clemson.

People will be required to show a photo of themselves with their cut tree at the event.

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