Decorative. Decorative. Beautiful. Here are a few words that are often associated with the Bradford pear.

In other words – invasive.

A popular fruit tree with white flowers can be found on the streets of Lancaster and in the suburbs throughout the county – as well as in fields and forests and almost everywhere trees can grow in Lancaster County.

In late December 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture added the Bradford pear to its list of harmful plants and announced a two-year ban on the sale and cultivation of the tree. The ban came into force on February 9, 2022.

The Bradford pear, also known as the Cholera pear, was brought from Asia to Maryland in 1918 and became the second most popular tree in America until the 1980s, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conversations and Natural Resources.

Japanese barberry, an ornamental shrub that produces red berries, has also been added to the state list of harmful plants.

According to the Penn State Extension website, invasive species, including plants, cost the U.S. more than $ 138 billion annually due to impacts on agriculture, forestry, wildlife and ornamental landscapes. The Penn State Extension also says environmentalists attribute the invasion of plants as well as other animals and pathogens to a second threat to local biodiversity, right after habitat loss.

Cody Kiefer, who recently took up the post of Lancaster City Forester, is responsible for removing and replacing pears in Bradford on a case-by-case basis. He says the city has not implemented a policy of full removal.

Kiefer adheres to this mantra: the right tree for the right place for the right purpose. It is in the middle of a street tree inventory in Lancaster that will help determine the best strategies.

“Indeed, local trees are adapted to their local environment, which means they can cope with climate pressure and disease,” Kiefer says. “They serve the local wildlife through the provision of food and habitat. Local trees also contribute to the local gene bank, causing greater heterogeneity for greater overall resilience of the population. ”

Christian Fitzpatrick, a certified arborist and manager with Bartlett Tree Experts, has some tips for local local trees if you want to remove and replace problem plants.

Fitzpaty suggests replacing Bradford pears with local trees such as Serviceberry, American Dogwood or Redbud.

“There are vertical forms, there are weeping forms, there are white flowers, there are pink, so Redbud is a great choice,” says Fitzpatyk. “For a small area you want things that thrive but don’t have a lot of fruit, and are strong but not very big.”

If you want to replace a larger tree such as ginkgo, Fitzpatyk says several cities and campuses he has worked with prefer different varieties of elm or maple – although he says some maples need to be considered for some problems.

“Maple has historically been a popular choice, but with the introduction of the spotted lantern, I suspect that landscape planners would have abandoned red maple or maple altogether,” says Fitzpatyk. “And I don’t want to drop the maple because of the lanterns, but in general with maples you’ll see a lot of superficial roots.”

Another tree to avoid when considering invasive pests such as the spotted lantern, says Fitzpatrick, is the aylantus, also known as the celestial tree, which acts as the host for the lantern. The celestial tree is also included in the list of harmful weeds and invasive trees of Pennsylvania.

Fitzpatrick recommends searching the database of the International Forestry Society according to the organization website find a forester near you. The database has dozens of local certified arborists.

Choose local trees with large crowns

Kiefer recommends replacing trees with large crowns to increase ecosystem service for property owners and their communities. Additional plantings, such as small trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, can be added for greater impact, he says.

“When I think of“ replacing ”a tree, by default I’m thinking of something similar in size, environmental tolerance, and usefulness as the original, but that suggests the first tree was the appropriate site. So with this mentality, we will look for trees that mature about 40 feet in height with a broad pyramidal shape, are deciduous and can withstand full sun to partial shade. ”

Here is a list of Kiefer local trees that meet these standards:

Black birch (Betula lenta) – These trees can reach 70 feet in height. They are sensitive to compact soils and heat – both preferred conditions in urban environments.

Corya glabra – They can be difficult to find and install, but they can reach 70 feet in height.

Cabbage (Celtis occidentalis) – They can reach 60 feet in height.

Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) – These trees are particularly sensitive to damage from icicles.

Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Chestnut oak (Quercus prinus) – They can reach 60 feet in height.

Time to plant

Kiefer also has some tips on when it’s time to plant.

“Evaluating a site is crucial,” Kiefer says. He recommends thinking about what solar exposure will be in the desired location. And planters should always consider possible conflicts for each site, such as buildings, poles, or existing trees. Conflicts can be both above ground and underground. Refer to 811 before any excavations, Kiefer says.

When it comes time to prepare your site, Kiefer says planters should dig a hole the same depth as your root ball or container, and much wider than the root crop or container. Container-grown trees often have roots that swirl or girdle, which eventually suffocate and kill the tree, Kiefer says. He recommends reading them and removing everything you see when you take the wood out of the container. He adds that it is less common among bulbous and burlap trees.

Homeowners need to know that, especially with local plants, making adjustments to the soil is often not necessary, so don’t turn on fertilizer unless given to you by a specialist, Kiefer says.

Most importantly, water the tree well after planting, Kiefer says. You will need to saturate the soil. Water in the warm season for the first two or three years. The founding period is crucial and watering should be done weekly.

Other resources

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has a list of licensed nurseries and plant sellers. website.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources of Pennsylvania has a useful guide to landscaping local plants on them website.

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