The tree is also known as a "Callery pear."

If you don't recognize the tree by sight, you'll certainly know it for its smell!

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Not only is the Bradford pear tree "stinky" when it blossoms it's actually considered to be invasive by many U.S. states! Places like Ohio have flat-out made it illegal to plant the trees and soon South Carolina and Pennsylvania will follow suit.

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I know some states like Missouri and Indiana have introduced a "Callery bounty program" where they will buy back your invasive Bradford/Callery pear and in turn give you a free native tree in its place, but what's the status of the tree here in Michigan?

How Did They Get Here?

USA Today states the trees were first introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the mid-'60s as an "ornamental landscape tree" a.k.a. they thought they looked pretty.

The reasoning at the time was the trees were cheap and easy to transport, they grew quickly, and they were thought to be a sterile-hybrid-- meaning they wouldn't grow out of control.

They thought wrong.

The trees cannot self-pollinate, but can reproduce with another variety of the Pyrus calleryana species. The offspring are called Callery pears. The resulting hybrids are even more problematic than the original Bradford pear tree.

Why Are They A Nuisance?

Bradford pears are considered to be harmful to other trees as they "choke out" other plants with their large and shady canopy-- no sunlight can get through to reach the ground!

USA Today also explains that because Bradford pears bloom earlier than most trees they actually, "overtake resources from surrounding native species." Plus, the trees have weakened branches that break easily during storms and high winds.

Should Michigan Join The List?

I haven't found any official buyback programs from the State of Michigan and there doesn't seem to be any official word on the issue from the DNR. As of 2023 the City of Novi has banned the planting of the tree, adding:

The callery pear is not listed as an invasive species by the State of Michigan, however, and the sale, distribution, and planting of this harmful species continues in the mitten unabated. There are many native species alternates for callery pears. Flowering dogwoods, native hawthorns, and serviceberry all produce similar boastful white blooms, minus the stinky odor.

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