Northlake Removing Invasive Tree Species After Ban

The Callery Pear, or Bradford Pear tree at the Morton Arboretum. | Creative Commons 

Friday, February 18, 2022 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

The city of Northlake is taking steps to remove a once popular spring blooming tree species that municipalities across the country are now banning due to its impact on the environment. 

City officials announced earlier this month that they will remove the Callery Pear, or Bradford Pear, a tree that’s known for its beauty in spring, but has now been identified as an invasive species that’s harmful to native plants and wildlife. 

In a Feb. 7 post to the city’s Facebook page, officials said the tree was inadvertently included in the city’s list of parkway trees for 2019 and 2020. 

“Approximately 40 of these trees were planted,” officials explained, adding that the city “will remove these trees and replace it with a suitable tree. Homeowners will be advised of the removal and replanting.” 

The Northlake City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 20 in favor of an ordinance banning the Bradford Pear trees. Northlake joins municipalities and states across the country that are banning the sale of invasive Bradford Pear trees. 

A TV news station in South Carolina reported last year on that state’s effort to ban the trees due to their environmental impact. 

“Foresters say the trees spread quickly and are hard to control because of their strong and copious thorns that have been known to damage heavy-duty forestry vehicles,” WIS News 10 reported.

Sarah Vogel, a horticulture and natural resources educator with the University of Illinois at Urbana Extension program, reported last year that the Callery Pear tree is native to China and was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, becoming widely planted across the country by the 1950s. 

“Because this pear species is adapted to a wide range of environments, it easily spreads and establishes in both naturalized and disturbed areas,” Vogel wrote. 

“In addition to aggressively spreading, the Bradford Pear is notorious for its structural weaknesses. The tree’s narrow branch angles become prone to breakage in wind, snow and ice, limiting its ornamental practicality. Many cities in Illinois and other states no longer permit the planting of Bradford Pear, some states even listing it as officially invasive.” 

Some alternative options for the Bradford Pear include the redbud, the serviceberry, the American plum and flowering dogwood, Vogel reported. 

“For more information from Morton Arboretum, see this factsheet on Callery Pear,” she wrote. “For help selecting tree species, use the website Selecting Trees for your Home from Illinois Extension.”

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