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Bradford pear trees at several locations around the city of Morganton will be removed over the next few weeks as the species becomes invasive. The trees will be removed by the City of Morganton Electricity Board around the Catawba River Soccer Complex at the Morganton Greenway and at Gene Turner Field behind the Collett Street Recreation Center.
The removal process will take a few weeks. City officials are urging citizens to be aware of tree felling sites and to refrain from going near them when trees are actively being felled.
The Bradford pear tree is an invasive species that can breed with other pear tree species that produce long thorns and spread in natural forests and open country. As such, they replace native trees and create what the North Carolina State Extension Office calls a “food desert” for birds by reducing wildlife habitat.
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The North Carolina Bradford Pear Bounty website states, “Bradford pear trees are not native to the United States. These trees are cultivars of the Callery pear, which were brought to the United States from China in the early 1900’s to breed and improve disease resistance in pear trees. By 1950 the Bradford pear variety was widespread and since then other varieties have been produced.” It was believed that these trees would not be able to spread.
The invasion isn’t the only reason the city chose to cut down and replace the trees. Also, they are structurally weak and can split in high winds, snow, and ice storms.
The city will plant shade trees to replace the Bradford pears and the wood harvested from the Bradford pears will be processed into mulch. For more information on Bradford Pear Trees or the Bradford Pear Exchange, visit www.treebountync.com/ or https://bit.ly/3AaAgZ6.
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