Bradford pear was banned in South Carolina in 2024

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The ban affects the Bradford pear and any other tree grown from the Pyrus calleryana rootstock. State lawmakers and the state’s Crop Pest Commission approved the ban after an advisory panel added the tree to the State Plant Pest List. The Bradford pear was introduced to the United States in the 1950s. Though technically sterile, its fruit can cross pollinate with any other variety of pear tree and produce Callery pear trees, said David Coyle, assistant professor of Forest Health and Invasive Species at Clemson. He has started a program to encourage people to cut down and replace Bradford pears.

Starting on Oct. 1, 2024, nurseries in South Carolina will be prohibited from selling Bradford Pear and Callery pear trees, according to the Post and Courier. The trees are known for their early spring white flowers. But they also are known as one of the weakest structural trees in existence, with branches that commonly break after 10 to 15 years and a short life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. “Bradford pears became popular, for one, because they’re so cheap, but we knew early on that they had structural problems and were dangerous,” said Durant Ashmore, a landscaper for 40 years who owns Durant Ashmore Landscape Nursery.

Ashmore said the fast-growing, early-flowering trees have begun to choke out the natural landscape in fields across the state and country.

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