The Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP), in partnership with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, will host a Callery pear “buy-back” program on April 26 in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia, Joplin, and Cape Girardeau.
Native to China, Callery pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) have 26 cultivars that present significant ecological concerns in Missouri. Some of the most common cultivars include Aristocrat, Autumn Blaze, Bradford, Capital, Cleveland, Chanticleer, Red-spire, and Whitehouse.
Callery pear limbs generally grow vertically, forming a pyramid or egg shape. Typically in early April, very dense clusters of white flowers cover the tree before leaves form. In maturity, they reach heights of 30 to 40 feet. Property owners should cut trees during spring, when they are easy to identify, to help prevent populations from spreading.
Individual cultivars generally do not produce fertile seeds on their own. However, insect pollination of flowers with other cultivars on nearby properties can produce fertile seeds, carried by birds, that sprout and establish where they are dispersed.
Breaking this cycle begins with choosing native/non-invasive alternatives for future plantings and controlling existing invasive populations. Participants will receive potted replacement trees, donated by Forest ReLeaf and Forrest Keeling Nursery, in 3-gallon containers that stand between 4- and 5-feet tall. The Pear Buy Back is financially supported by our friends at FedEx.