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Kansas, Missouri seek to phase out Callery pear trees, also known as Bradford pear trees

Stinky Pear Invasion
Posted at 1:10 PM, Mar 11, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the 2024 spring flowering season looms, officials in Kansas and Missouri are asking residents to start taking longer-term actions to help control the spread of invasive Callery and Bradford pear trees.

The trees, which flower early in the spring season and smell terrible, are an invasive species.

Last month, Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary Michael M. Beam, ordered a quarantine of Callery pear trees. As of Jan. 1, 2027, Callery pear plants will be prohibited from any movement into Kansas, as well as any movement within the state.

Beam’s order carries with it the possibility of criminal prosecution in accordance with certain state laws.

A KDA spokesperson said the goal of the quarantine is to prevent any new planting of the tree and does not require anyone to remove any of the trees.

On the other side of the state line, the Missouri Invasive Plant Council is partnering with several other organizations, including the Missouri Department of Conservation, for a Callery pear “buyback” program.

The program will allow residents a free native tree if they bring a photo of a cut down Callery pear tree on their property.

“As we prepare for spring, many Callery pear trees - also known as Bradford pears - are already beginning to bloom” MIPC chair Carol Davit said in a press release on March 6. “The profuse white blossoms of this highly invasive tree make their alarming spread especially apparent this time of year, along roadsides, in fields, parks and on private property.”

More information about the MIPC buyback program is available on their website.

In late 2023, Missouri Rep. Bruce Gassman (R - 61st District) pre-filed HB1555 that would establish a list of non-native, invasive plants and authority the Missouri Department of Agriculture to maintain and force both the list and a watchlist of potentially invasive plants. The bill was referred o the House Committee on Conservation and Natural Resources, where it remains. A hearing on the bill has not been set.