Sale of popular pear tree to be banned in 2023

The popular Callery pear tree, more commonly known as the Bradford pear and soon to be in full bloom in Ohio, will go the way of the common barberry and Japanese honeysuckle in 2023 — identified as invasive and banned from sale or distribution in the state.

The tree was put on Ohio’s invasive species list in 2018 by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, but it was given a five-year grace period before sale or distribution had to stop, said Dan Kenny, the department’s plant health division chief.

“Because in some cases businesses may have invested considerable time and resources into growing some of these plants, these rules include a grace period for the prohibition to take effect for some species,” said Kenny. “This will allow businesses time to transition toward alternative plants to market as replacements.”

The state’s Department of Agriculture was given exclusive authority to regulate invasive plant species by the Ohio General Assembly in September 2014, and was charged with developing rules to regulate invasive plant species in Ohio. So far, 38 plant species have been identified. A complete list of plants that are considered invasive in Ohio is available on the department’s website at www.agri.ohio.gov

Property owners with Callery pear trees, as well as other invasive species, at not required to destroy them, but their sale or distribution is prohibited.

Loved for its quick-growing nature and profusion of white blossoms in early spring, the pear tree is native to China and Vietnam. It has been declared invasive by several American states for its ability to spread profusely via seedlings. The seedlings then create dense thickets that crowd out native species and can be very difficult and costly to remove, Kenny said.

Findlay City Councilman Brian Bauman, R-5, said the Findlay Shade Tree Commission is reevaluating its list of shade trees recommended for both public and residential properties.

“As a part of this process, we are also actively discussing trees that would not be recommended on the local level, like the Callery pear,” said Bauman, who is serving as commission chairman.

Bauman said other flowering trees — including the many redbud varieties, the spring snow crabapple (no fruit) and the ivory silk lilac — might appeal to property owners who admire the Callery pear.

The Findlay Shade Tree Commission was created in 1978 by Findlay City Council. There are 11 members of the commission, including employees of both the city engineering and public works departments, along with six others who are appointed by the mayor for three-year terms. Members serve on a voluntary basis.

The commission provides guidance in the selection, planting and care of trees planted in public areas like street rights of way, parks, cemeteries and other city property, as well as the removal of hazardous trees.

The commission can also advise residents, businesses and local organizations interested in planting and caring for trees.

City Council voted in 2016 to update the rules governing the commission and tree regulations. The new rules are meant to give public trees a little more room to grow, without creating problems with utilities or obstructions for motorists.

Public trees can be planted up to 20 feet onto private property. The definitions of small, medium and large trees have been adjusted, and tree lawn requirements for each size of tree are also greater.

The distance allowed between a tree and a street corner or utility has also been increased. There are also setback requirements for curbs, streetlights and crosswalks.

While homeowners are responsible for maintaining their tree lawn, the commission has rules for the types of trees that can be planted, and must approve the removal and replacement of trees.

The commission also maintains a list of trees that are prohibited from being planted in the city’s tree lawns or other public places. Trees that are weak, like the silver maple, or invasive, like the Russian olive, are prohibited. The list is updated regularly.

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