What’s Wrong with Ornamental Pears?

Pear seedlings behind Applebee’s

Callery pears, including ‘Aristrocrat’, ‘Bradford’, ‘Redspire’ and ‘Chanticleer’ were introduced in 1960 and quickly became popular due to their form, flowers, fall color and lack of fruit. By the 1990s, it was obvious that the cultivars could interbreed and produce fertile fruit. The fruit is eaten by birds that disperse the seeds in open areas. Many of these areas are being overtaken by pear seedlings (most with big thorns) that displace native plant communities and increase the cost to maintain the property.

Pear seedlings off of Kalberer

Please help protect our parks and open areas by not planting ornamental pears. Consider another species like serviceberry, tree lilac, yellowwood or hawthorn instead.

For the Missouri Department of Conservation’s handout on invasive pears, see http://mdc.mo.gov/sites/default/files/resources/2012/05/callerypearinvasive

See West Lafayette’s Tree Manual and Guide to the West Lafayette Landscape Ordinance, which includes options to pears (see Table 2).