Missouri Department of Conservation offers tree exchange for a chopped Bradford pear tree

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:31 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 8:22 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - While the white blooming flowers are nice to look at, Bradford pear trees are hardly beneficial past their beauty.

Kevin Grzybowski at Wickman’s nursey knows all about Bradford pears.

“It has a multitude of issues. It grows so fast that it chokes out the light for your native trees and ends up overtaking the whole native ecosystem,” Grzybowski said.

In the 1950s and 60s, the trees were imported from China with the promise of a fast-growing, beautifully blooming tree. This came with a slew of issues down the road.

“They have a very fast growth rate. And for people that are just starting out with trees, that can be very desirable. Unfortunately, the faster the growth rate, the weaker the tree. So as they get big, as they have more mass to the top of the tree, a strong wind can just split the tree right down the middle, which can be very costly in terms of removal, and repair things of that nature,” Grzybowski explained.

That’s why the Missouri Department of Conservation is offering an exchange.

You have to register ahead of time and prove to them you cut down the tree, or trees, with a photo.

Remember, no matter how many trees you remove, only one tree is given in exchange per household. Make sure your tree is the correct species with these key features:

“They flower very early. It’s one of your first spring flowering trees. Those are usually a creamy kind of white flower. They’re going to have clusters of them. That’s going to be mid to late March, typically flowering season. They have a stench to them. That is unpleasant. Typically, there are certain cultivars of the callery family that have different structures to them. But more often than not, they are a nice big, bushy, almost equal as tall and wide,” Grzybowski said.

If you are uncertain if the tree in your yard is a Bradford pear, call MDC with any questions.

You can only cut down your Bradford pear tree. You are not permitted to cut them on public property or on someone else’s land without their permission.

While registering, you can pick out the tree you’d like to plant if supplies last. Your choices are River Birch, Buttonbush, Burr Oak, Fringetree, or Swamp White. This event is free to register and participate in.

A link to register can be found here.

Call a professional tree removal service if you are uncomfortable removing the tree alone.

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