The Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP), in partnership with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), will host a Callery pear “buy-back” program in locations around the state on April 26.
Participants must register with EventBrite by visiting https://moinvasives.org/2022/03/10/callery-pear-buy-back-event-4-26-22/, choose their location, select a replacement tree species, and upload at least one photo of each Callery pear tree they cut down. Free replacement trees will be provided to registered participants at the selected location on the day of the event, April 26, from 3–6 p.m. (Note: Kansas City has two event dates.)
Native to China, Callery pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) include 26 cultivars that present significant ecological concerns in Missouri. Some of the most common cultivars offered commercially include Aristocrat, Autumn Blaze, Bradford, Capital, Cleveland, Chanticleer, Red-spire, and Whitehouse.
Callery pear limbs generally grow vertically, forming a pyramid or egg shape. Typically in early April, very dense clusters of white flowers cover the tree before leaves form. In maturity, they reach heights of 30 to 40 feet. Property owners should cut trees during spring, when they are easy to identify, as a means to reduce populations from spreading in unwanted areas.
Individual cultivars generally do not produce fertile seeds on their own. However, insect pollination of flowers with other cultivars on nearby properties can produce fertile seeds, carried by birds, that sprout and establish wherever they are dispersed. Each year, older trees in urban landscapes produce viable seeds that contribute to growing infestations. Breaking this cycle begins with choosing native/non-invasive alternatives for future plantings and controlling existing invasive populations.
“Many people have enjoyed Callery pear trees for years,” said MoIP member and MDC Community Forester Ann Koenig. “However, besides the fact that these trees often break apart in storms, and that they have foul-smelling flowers, it turns out these trees are spreading throughout fields and forests, causing problems in more natural areas, along roadsides, commercial areas, private landowner property, and other locations. We are excited to work with our partners to provide great, native trees to those who are ready to replace them.”
Participants will receive potted replacement trees, donated by Forest ReLeaf and Forrest Keeling Nursery, in 3-gallon containers that stand between 4- and 5-feet tall.
To be eligible for a free replacement tree, participants must submit a photo of themselves next to their cut-down Callery pear at moinvasives.org/pear-photo-submission/.
For local media contacts, reach out to the designated contact person per location listed below:
Forest ReLeaf of Missouri is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring volunteer efforts in planting and caring for our trees and forests, particularly those in our cities and towns. Since 1993, the organization has provided over 200,000 native trees for plantings throughout the region. www.moreleaf.org.