Warren addresses Bradford pear removal on Third Ave.

City of Warren officials took a significant amount of blowback for three Callery, or Bradford, pear trees that were taken down this week along Third Avenue.

The trees, which were in bloom when they were taken down, have been classified as a noxious weed by the state and are unable to be sold by nurseries in the Commonwealth.

City of Warren Arborist Joe Reinke said that a contracted tree service is taking down seven trees this week in the city.

The trees along Third Avenue are in the city right-of-way.

“We made the final decision on this one,” Reinke said, explaining that the trees have required trimming under electric lines every five years and have outgrown their space.

They were “just planted in a bad spot,” he said. “In the 1970s and 1980s, Penn State Extension thought of them as the new street trees. You can’t really kill them. They spread throughout the Commonwealth way too fast.”

The Callery pear was added to the state’s noxious weed list in 2021.

“As a noxious weed, Callery pear may no longer be distributed, cultivated or propagated within the Commonwealth,” according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Adding the species to the list was just a piece of the state’s response to the invasive tree. A letter of warning was issued to plant merchants selling the tree in February 2023, setting a date in February 2024 when “any remaining inventory would be subject to a destruction order.”

Those orders were in fact issues earlier this year.

“Enforcement of the ban on sale and distribution of Callery pear will be phased in over two years to allow time for nurseries to eliminate it from their stock, find non-harmful alternatives, and develop seedless, sterile varieties,” according to the Department of Agriculture.

The state’s Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee recommended, per the Ag Department, that varieties that are sterile and seedless be granted exemptions to the law.

As for the pears on Third Avenue, Reinke said that First Lutheran Church has agreed to put three new trees in.

“We’ll plant the right species in the right spot,” he said.

Those plantings will be part of the city’s fall planting in October.


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