UK helps Kentuckians replace their Bradford pear trees

While they might be pretty to look at, the trees are known to cause not so pretty damage.
UK helps Kentuckians replace their Bradford pear trees
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 12:41 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Bradford pear trees are popular landscape trees throughout Kentucky due to their glossy foliage and beautiful flowers. However, experts at UK say the trees are problematic due to their weak branches, short life expectancy and invasive offspring, the Callery pear. These invasive trees have spread throughout the state, causing damage to natural habitats and pushing out native plant species.

Lexington is among the cities in Kentucky to ban Bradford pear tress. Now, they’re working to remove those that are still standing. The University of Kentucky is not only trying to help property owners remove the invasive trees, but they’re also trying to help replace them.

“Trees are so valuable but we also want those to be the right tree,” said Ellen Crocker with UK Forest Health Extension. Crocker explains that for folks in Kentucky, Bradford pears are not the right tree.

While they might be pretty to look at, the trees are known to cause not so pretty damage.

“One branch had fallen off and totaled her car and then after this windstorm march the third, another large branch came off and hit the house, said Edith Horn. Horn and her husband participated in the Bradford Pear Bounty Program on behalf of their daughter.

The Bradford Pear Bounty Program attempts to combat these intrusive trees and restore native habitats throughout the state. Property owners who cut down their Bradford pears can receive free young native replacement trees, including species such as redbud, serviceberry and dogwood. Tree experts will help landowners select the best replacement trees for their property.

Property owners must cut down their Bradford pears to participate in the program and provide a photo documenting the cut trees. The program takes place March 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT at the Franklin County extension office and is open to all Kentucky property owners. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, in partnership with the Remove Invasives Partnership of Franklin County and other local organizations, hosts the event to provide land owners an opportunity to exchange their Bradford pears for free young native replacement trees.

“Callery pear is just one of many different invasive plants and trying to make people aware of some of those invasives. Why are they a problem? The negative impact that they’re having in our natural areas but also that we can do a lot about that,” said Crocker.

That’s why the Horns participated in the program. They walked away with two new trees to replace their daughter’s Bradford pears.

“I didn’t realize they weren’t native to Kentucky. They’re everywhere. We’re so thankful that we do have some new trees for her yard,” said Horn.

Trees that aren’t invasive, are native to Kentucky and hopefully won’t cause as many issues.

To learn more about the Remove Invasives Partnership of Franklin County visit: