HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – With the spring-like temperatures over the last few weeks, you may have noticed a type of tree in our area sprouting striking white flowers. While it may be nice to look at, these trees are an invasive species that needs to managed, according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission.
As part of "National Invasive Species Awareness Week," the SCFC highlighted the Bradford pear, a tree common to our area.
The Callery or Bradford pear was introduced to the United States in 1909, and was much-planted across the southeast for its uniform shape, profuse white flowers and bright red fall foliage, according to online information from the SCFC. While sterile for years, in the 2000s, the trees began to cross-pollinate and produce abundant amounts of fruit that were spread by birds.
The Bradford pear produces abundant white flowers before it leafs out; these flowers have a pungent and unpleasant smell, the SCFC said. In fall, the foliage is bright read, and the trees often have marble-sized hard fruit on them. Birds consume the fruit after it has been softened by the frost, and spread it around the area. Bradford pears can be abundant in old fields.
The SCFC encourages residents to avoid planting the Bradford pear, and instead plant native alternatives, such as the serviceberry, fringe tree, tupelo or dogwood, among many others.
To manage the Bradford pear, trees should be cut, and the stumps should be immediately treated with herbicides to prevent sprouting, the SCFC states.
See the information sheet below for more information on the Bradford pear and how to manage it: