Earlier this year, the Callery pear (also known as Bradford pear) was featured as a potentially problematic tree for land managers and residents alike. This ornamental pear species is escaping into the wild and potentially becoming an invasive species. This problem is occurring across the state of Illinois, even as ornamental pear species are continuing to be used as a landscape plant along streets, sidewalks, businesses, and residential lands. The need for high maintenance pruning combined with Callery pear's short life span and proneness to splitting indicates increased frequency in tree replacement and potential strain on city tree management budgets.
Many partnering organizations have united to bring awareness to these issues and establish the Illinois Stop the Spread! campaign. This campaign, adopted from Missouri's efforts, will provide a positive solution to the problem of the Callery pear by identifying and promoting available species of native trees which consumers, landscapers, and city planners may select as alternatives. These alternative native species were planted and displayed for all to see in a community demonstration area at Attucks Park and Green Earth, Inc. Pyles Fork Preserve in Carbondale, Illinois.
|Jennifer Behnken, SIU Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator welcoming volunteers|
|Demonstrating the correct|
Randy Montgomery, the grounds supervisor from Carbondale Park District, watered the trees, thanks to a watering tank donated by Nancy Garwood from the Illinois Native Plant Society. The volunteer crew set to work hauling woodchips to the trees, donated by a local tree service. A caravan of wheelbarrows traveled back and forth from the woodchip pile with Jesse Riechman, coordinator of the Southeastern Illinois Prescribed Burn Association and chair of the Illinois Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, taking the lead with his ATV and trailer. Thanks to those who photographed our event, including Karla Gage, Coordinator of the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area, and Lisa Thomas, Green Earth volunteer. Thanks also to Nathan Speagle from Green Earth, for providing a free lunch and refreshments to nourish the bodies of hard-working volunteers!
Stay tuned for the next planting installment in the fall to include more native tree and shrub species and interpretive signage implementation in May 2015. Many heartfelt thanks to those that have made this project possible! We hope it serves as a template to generate grassroots efforts towards deterring the spread of Callery (Bradford) pear trees and the beginning of a statewide awareness program. Consider alternatives to plant in your backyard and help Illinois Stop the Spread!
"Illinois Stop the Spread local partners, to date, are: Carbondale Park District, Green Earth, Inc., Illinois Forestry Association, Illinois Native Plant Society, the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan - Invasive Species Campaign, Keep Carbondale Beautiful, the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area, Shawnee Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc., Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the Society of American Foresters, and the University of Illinois Extension."