AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – There’s an ongoing push to remove Bradford Pear trees from South Carolina.

“Ten years ago one was just growing so big you couldn’t keep it pruned down and it started splitting and it came down,” David Secrist told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

“They were kind of universally looked at as a great thing. They were pretty in the spring, pretty in the fall, very low maintenance,” Assistant Professor of Forest Health & Invasive Species at Clemson University David Coyle added.

With the bounty program, Clemson Extension and the South Carolina Forestry Commission are offering free, native trees in exchange for up to five Bradford Pears.

“Every time you have a wind storm or an ice storm, a lot of times you’ll have branches just completely breaking off, falling down. It causes a lot of damage,” Coyle recalled.

According to Coyle, the trees can also cause invasive species in the southeast.

“Callery Pear doesn’t grow quite like a lollipop. It’s got more of a cylindrical shape, great big thorns. They can be up to three inches long and they get spread kind of all over the place when birds eat the berries and then go fly and do the things birds do,” he added.

The trees can hurt the ecosystem and create food deserts for animals.

“They have very low wildlife value. There really aren’t any insects that eat Callery Pear or Bradford Pears for that matter. So anywhere you’ve got a Bradford or Callery Pear, there really isn’t any food for birds,” Coyle shared.

To participate in the bounty program, the homeowner is responsible for removing the trees.

“There might be cases where you can’t quite get that tree out. Maybe it was too wet to get equipment in there. if you come in with that picture, we will honor that as well,” he said.

The program is open to all South Carolinians, but you must pre-register.

“I placed some kind of a maple and it grow slow and have beautiful fall foliage with the red leaves and stuff in, in Tennessee. But I haven’t been back and seen how they’re doing, but when I left they were growing well,” Secrist said.

The next event is February 25 from 8 a.m. -11 a.m. at Cold Creek Nurseries on Hitchcock Pkwy in Aiken.

Meanwhile, the ban on the sale of Bradford Pears in South Carolina begins in October 2024.

You can register by clicking HERE.

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