KY County says ‘no’ to invasive Bradford pears

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On a day like today (it’s currently 67 degrees and sunny), I have spring fever like no one needs. Back in high school, they called him “seniorite.”

I’m in pain and ready to hit the streets on my bike, one of my most prized possessions.

My main bike path usually takes me down Griffith Avenue – an especially beautiful hike in the spring when everything starts to bloom, like dogwoods and Bradford pears.

Photo by Johnny Brewer on Unsplash

Photo by Johnny Brewer on Unsplash

BRADFORD PEARS – THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL, BUT THAT’S ABOUT EVERYTHING

I have to admit I was not young when I learned that I had been seeing Bradford pear trees all along and just didn’t know what it was. Now yes. Besides finding out that they have NOTHING to do with fruit, I also learned that they are an invasive species.

And they are so beautiful. Never mind. Peacocks too, but they’re really mean.

WHAT A COUNTY IS DOING ABOUT INVASIVE BRADFORD PEARS

No, Bradford pears ARE invasive and since it’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week, there’s a county in Kentucky that offers a “reward”, so to speak, for their removal. Franklin County – where Frankfort is located – offers residents a free tree for every Bradford pear they cut. They seem to stink and can turn into an eyesore in no time. I never noticed either of these happening while walking down Griffith Avenue. And I’ve certainly never encountered THIS smell on my bike rides; THIS I would notice.

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The folks operating the Bradford Pear Bounty in South Carolina certainly didn’t.

Some people want them gone NOW.

Others seem to overlook the downsides.

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Listen… learning that Bradford pears aren’t native to Kentucky isn’t exactly earth-shattering; life will go on. But that’s definitely a surprise considering I’ve seen them all my life, or so I thought. They look like dogwoods and maybe that’s what I thought they were. Plus, they’re clearly undesirable just about everywhere, not just in Kentucky. To you, Louisiana…

WHY ARE BRADFORD PEARS BAD NEWS AND WHY ARE THEY HERE?

Anyway, I had to dig in and find out why these things are such bad news and why they’re there and luckily, the Columbia Daily Tribune came to my rescue.

It seems that since they grow so fast, the wood doesn’t get as hard as other trees that ALWAYS take to mature (I’m looking at you, mighty oak). This means that Bradford pears can snap easily in strong winds or if they accumulate enough snow. As for why they’re where they shouldn’t be… well, that’s for the reason I’ve mentioned before in this story: they’re beautiful.

But ornamental reasons aren’t enough when it comes to a plant that chokes out native plants that wildlife depend on for food.

And that’s why Franklin County, Ky., is taking the bull by the horns (or the Bradford pear by the stalk) and working to get rid of it. I learn something new every day.

Hmm, what’s that smell?

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