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Tree buy-back event on tap to target invasive plant

by Layne Stracener | March 20, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Cut down your invasive tree, and get a free, eco-friendly tree in return.

To spread awareness about the invasive Callery pear tree's harm to economics and the environment, the Missouri Invasive Plant Council, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation are hosting a Callery pear tree "buy-back" event 3-6 p.m. April 26 in Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Joplin, Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield.

With their white blooms, Callery pear trees are most obvious in spring. This highly invasive tree threatens native wildlife and causes difficulties for private and public landowners, according to a news release from the Missouri Invasive Plant Council.

Homeowners are invited to cut down their Callery pears and receive a free, non-invasive tree at this event.

To participate, register at by selecting your location on the event page, choosing a replacement tree species and uploading a photo of the downed tree or cut stump, preferably with you in it.

Each registered participant will receive one potted replacement tree at the event. The trees, donated by Forest ReLeaf and Forrest Keeling Nursery, are in 3-gallon containers that stand 4-5 feet tall, according to the news release.

Native to China, Callery pear trees "include 26 cultivars that present significant ecological concerns in Missouri."

Individual cultivars generally do not produce fertile seeds on their own. However, insect pollination of flowers with other cultivars on nearby properties can produce fertile seeds, carried by birds, that sprout and establish wherever they are dispersed.

Many people have enjoyed Callery pear trees for years, but they have many disadvantages, said Ann Koenig, Missouri Invasive Plant Council member and Missouri Department of Conservation community forester, in the news release.

"Besides the fact that these trees often break apart in storms, and that they have foul-smelling flowers, it turns out these trees are spreading throughout fields and forests, causing problems in more natural areas, along roadsides, commercial areas, private landowner property, and other locations," she said. "We are excited to work with our partners to provide great, native trees to those who are ready to replace them."

Breaking the cycle of growing infestations begins with choosing native, non-invasive alternatives for future plantings and controlling existing invasive populations, according to the news release.

Property owners should cut trees during spring, when they are easy to identify, to reduce populations from spreading in unwanted areas.

The Missouri Invasive Plant Council is administered by Grow Native!, a 22-year old native plant marketing and education program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, a 56-year-old prairie conservation organization and land trust.

Forest ReLeaf of Missouri is an independent, nonprofit organization "dedicated to inspiring volunteer efforts in planting and caring for our trees and forests, particularly those in our cities and towns," according to the news release.

For more information, visit or contact Missouri Invasive Plant Council Coordinator Emily Render at [email protected] or 573-569-8659.

Print Headline: Tree buy-back event on tap to target invasive plant


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