The Callery Pear Is Everywhere! And It Must Go!

Go Native!
Sunny view of Callery pear blossom in the campus of Oklahoma Christian University at Oklahoma

We need to go on a “No Callery Pear” diet. Imported originally from China in 1900 as our domestic common pear became afflicted with “fire blight,” the Callery Pear, with it’s white spring flowers and it bright orange fall leaves a favorite street tree in suburbia.

callery pear

Some do say the blooms smell of rotting fish. Depends on the cultivar perhaps.

Here is the Callery Pear in autumn. It was telling that all the clip art for Callery Pears was from real estate portfolios. “Buy this house, plant this tree!” It’s a package deal. It’s the new Japanese Maple!

callery pear

Most of the time, though, The Callery Pear looks like this:

It’s canopy overshadows everything, blocking out native plants. It is invasive.

It looks very brittle too, because it is. It is very much prone to wind and ice damage. As street trees, they will often take down power lines. They also grow very quickly under those lines, requiring constant maintenance. Their roots pull up sidewalks and they are very short lived.

They have become practically ubiquitous, and that is creating enormous environmental problems. It also as it turns out brings a very high maintenance cost as a municipal tree, whatever the initial cost.

That is why from now on, we need a No Callery Pear Diet on Long Island. As we can easily see this time of year, this tree with its telltale white flowers is invading our woods, crowding out native foliage. Their seeds are carried by birds and by the wind, wreaking havoc on what is left of our woodlands.

Replace the Callery Pears with native trees as part of a municipal street plan. Prioritize what trees need to be planted and removed in successive years. Our street tree lists for all our municipalities should include only native. It’s the right decision for our environment, and with the right native trees we can lower upkeep costs for communities and home owners. Native is always less expensive.

P.S. – This is Japanese Knotweed growing in Central Park yesterday. We are losing the war badly on a number of fronts — bamboo, of course, but this one is the very worst.


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