CREVE COEUR, Mo. – The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force will host a buy-back program for Bradford pear trees on April 20. You must first register for the event and upload at least one photo of each Callery Pear Tree you cut down. You can then select replacement tree species and a time slot for the pick-up of their replacement tree.
Free replacement trees will be provided to registered participants at the Forest Releaf Communitree Gardens in Creve Coeur.
The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force is partnering with Forest Releaf and BiodivereseCity of St. Louis
The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and participants must register online to pick a time to pick up the free tree.
Participants can pick from 12 different trees. The supplies are limited and only 160 trees will be given out.
The only proof you’ll need is in the picture.
“We’re asking that people submit photos of the tree they cut down as evidence, so you don’t have to bring a whole tree in, we’ll just trust your photo,” Tina Casagrand with the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force said. “In exchange, we will give them a free, native, non-invasive, ecologically beneficial tree.”
“Twenty years ago, we were encouraging people to plant them because they have a lovely shape, they have a lovely flower,” Meridith Perkins, the executive director for Forest Releaf of Missouri said. But, the feelings toward the non-native tree have changed because it’s been able to reproduce and cross-pollinate in areas it’s not wanted because it’s taking up space for native trees.
When cultivars in the “Callery pear” family cross-pollinate, their fertile seeds sprout up and aggressively take over areas where they aren’t wanted,” according to the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force. “Escaped Callery pear can grow densely along roadsides, unmowed fields/meadows, open woods, or any other open areas.”
The seeds can spread and create an invasive kind of pear tree that is different from the original. This is what you may see on the highway corridors in the St. Louis area.
“All of the new trees that are popping up are taking away from the landscape where a native tree could be growing, so they are outcompeting the natural habitat,” Perkins said.
There is also a specific way to chop down the tree to make sure the tree does not grow back, which can be found on the website below.