(WKBN) – Callery Pear ornamental trees are popular in parking lots and front yards, especially when they bloom in the spring. But as of Jan. 7, the sale of Callery Pear trees has been outlawed in Ohio because it’s an invasive species. But as we found out today, there are more than adequate replacements.
Tim Parks owns Parks Garden Center in Canfield. He sold his last Callery Pear, Bradford Pear and Cleveland Select Pear trees last spring.
“It is an actual problem and it will be something to be reckoned with down the road. Big picture, we understand,” Parks said.
“It’s just way too invasive. It just has too much of a tendency to be invasive,” said Eric Barrett, an agent of the Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County in Canfield.
Barrett says Callery Pears were brought to the United States from China over 100 years ago to cross-pollinate with pear trees.
“A researcher brought them over because this tree is resistant to fire blight. It’s a very terrible disease of pear trees, our fruiting pears,” Barrett said.
But then, in the 1980s and 1990s, because of their shape, size and white spring flowers, landscapers started planting Callery Pears everywhere, especially in parking lots and around the interchanges of the freeways.
“The tree has just spread over and it’s just taking over a lot of naturalized areas. So it can grow and out-compete some of our smaller, native plants,” Barrett said.
“I will tell you, that was a great plant for a lot of years,” Parks said.
Parks says there are a lot of other ornamental trees to replace the Callery Pears. He recommends Royal Star Magnolias, Ivory Silk Lilacs, Amelanchier Serviceberries and flowering crabapples.
“Well, I won’t say it’s going to be exactly the same, but it’s going to serve the same purpose and yeah, will be just as good,” Parks said.
Though Callery Pear trees will no longer be sold in Ohio, there’s no law that they have to be cut down. But Barrett recommends if the limbs fall off, as they tend to do, or you’re redoing some landscaping, go ahead and cut them down.