Bradford Pear Bounty Program

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For the benefit our urban tree canopy, the City of Frostburg has instituted a Bradford Pear Bounty Program. By removing a Bradford Pear on private property within city limits, the City will provide the property owner with a native tree species to replace the Bradford Pear. You can choose an Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, or Red Maple. All replacement trees will be at least 4 feet tall with a 1/2 inch wide trunk. City residents that would like to participate in the program must complete the application (page 2) and submit photos of the tree. You will be notified once the tree identification has been confirmed by the Shade Tree Commission. This program is limited to the first 25 qualified applicants.

Tree removal is the responsibility of the property owner. After removal by the property owner, documentation will need to be provided. Once removal has been verified, the selected tree species will be made available for pick-up near the Frostburg Pool on, or around, April 3, 2020. Planting of the new tree is the responsibility of the property owner. Planting guidelines and recommendations will be provided.

The Bradford Pear Tree originated in China and was introduced in 1964 by the US Department of Agriculture as an ornamental tree. The tree was supposed to be the perfect street tree, with an early bloom, a restricted pyramidal shape, a good fall color, and unable to reproduce. Many landscapers, urban planners, and homeowners agreed. So much so, that today it can be found almost everywhere.

• As time went on and the trees grew, it was realized that the Bradford is very susceptible to wind and ice damage. It's rare to see an old planting that doesn't have at least one tree missing a substantial chunk of its limbs and trunk. The angle of the Bradford's branches growing from the trunk is generally too narrow, and as the tightly-crowded branches grow in girth, the tree begins to push itself apart. At the first strong wind or heavy ice storm, the tree self-destructs sending large branches and/or portions of the trunk to come crashing down. Obviously, street trees that self-destruct are much more likely to damage property or injure people than trees that don't, considering their proximity to vehicles, fences, front porches, etc.

• A major concern with Bradford pears is their ability to cross-pollinate and proliferate, quickly choking out native trees and plants which can adversely affect other native species as well including mammals, birds, and insects.

• Although they’re sterile and can’t pollinate other Bradford Pears, they can cross-pollinate other pear trees such as Callery pears which have 4-inch long thorns that can shred tractor tires and can’t be mowed down by the usual tractor. The trees typically need to be removed by tracked dozers, decreasing the value of agricultural or forest land to the tune of up to $3,000 per acre.

• Some people also object to the somewhat rank odor of the Bradford's flowers, and the modest mess created by its fruit.

• All of the reasons above have led to the Bradford Pear being listed as an invasive species and some cities (Pittsburgh) going so far as to ban them from being planted.