Providence City Officials Stop Planting Invasive "Bradford" Pear Trees

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Providence, Rhode Island, city officials' plant around 500 trees of varying types every year, but one species of pear tree is being kept off that list.

It's the Pyrus calleryana, a.k.a the Callery pear tree, and its "Bradford" cultivar that people are taking issue with. According to the Brigg's Nursery in North Attleboro, the smell of the white blossoms on Bradford trees are often compared to the scent of cat urine, chlorine, and rotting fish.

"Someone returned one that they said smelt too bad, so they brought it back," said one nursery employee.

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Though the trees are still for sale at Brigg's Nursery, Providence City Forrester Doug Still says that they've stopped using Bradfords to line city streets and sidewalks because those trees and other variants have become an invasive species.

"You can really see them this time of year, growing along roadsides. I see them on highway ramps and on sites where nothing else is growing," Still told WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe.

The Bradford pear trees are native to Asia and was brought to the United States in 1917 for hybridization with fruiting pears to improve disease resistance, officials say. The pear trees grow rapidly and outcompetes other plants for nutrients, Still said.

WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.

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