Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) - to identify and control the invasive plant species that severely impact native biodiversity

Tina Casagrand

Missouri Department of Agriculture Asks Residents to Report Unsolicited Seed Shipments

by Tina Casagrand

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received reports from residents of unsolicited seeds being delivered from foreign countries such as China and surrounding areas. Missouri’s announcement follows several states who have also reported packages of these seeds being delivered across the United States. Consistent with nationwide reports, the packages were labeled as jewelry, specifically stud earrings, bracelets and other accessories.

It is important to take steps to prevent the introduction of invasive species into Missouri to ensure safety of the environment, livestock and plants. The full risk associated with the seeds in question is unknown at this time. However, the seeds could be an invasive species that has the potential to destroy native plants and damage crops. Invasive species can also introduce diseases to plants and may be harmful to livestock.

If Missouri residents have received unsolicited seeds, the following guidance applies:

  1. Do not open the seed package.
  2. Do not plant the seeds if you have opened the package.
  3. Submit an online report to USDA verifying you have received unsolicited seeds.
  4. Do not dispose of the seeds, packages or envelopes until USDA provides further guidance.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is playing a cooperative role in USDA’s investigation; however, USDA is leading the effort from the federal level. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is also working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection to prevent the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protect U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds.

If opened, place seeds in a sealed bag and contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industries Division by phone at (573) 751-2462 or by email at [email protected].

To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.

Invasive Landscaping Plants Now Illegal to Sell in Indiana

by Tina Casagrand

Among the big headlines this month was this big piece of invasive plant news from the Indianapolis Star: “Landscaping Plants Now Illegal to Sell in Indiana.”

“Under the Terrestrial Plant Rule, these plants are prohibited from being sold, gifted, exchanged or even transported within the state.”

The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force has a vision and a strategy for how to achieve a similar result in Missouri. However, it takes time.

We welcome support for the effort as MoIP continues to pursue this goal. Please send us a message at info [at] moinvasives.org to see how your organization can be involved.

2020 Award Nominations

by Tina Casagrand

MPF President David Young presenting the 2019 MPF Dick Dawson Prairie Pioneer Award to Jon Wingo. Past awardees are listed at the MPF and Grow Native! links above.

MPF, its Grow Native! program, and the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), which MPF administers, is now accepting nominations for its  MPF awards  (prairie pioneer, prairie professional, prairie communicator, prairie volunteer, and prairie landowner);  Grow Native! awards , and the MoIP Invasive Plant Action Award .

One need not be a member of MPF to be nominated for an award. Current MPF board members are not eligible to receive an award. If you nominated someone in the past who was not selected for an award, we encourage you to renominate that individual. Nominations for the  MPF awards  and  Grow Native! awards  must be received by June 15, 2020.
Nominations for the  MoIP award  must be received by August 1, 2020.
Depending on the current public health situation, the MPF and Grow Native! Native Plant Pioneer Awards will be announced and presented at MPF’s Annual Dinner in Jefferson City, MO on August 8, 2020. We plan to present the Grow Native! Ambassador Award at the Grow Native! Professional Member Conference in November 2020. The MoIP Award will be presented at a venue of the awardee’s choice.
We appreciate and value your interest in and support of MPF, our Grow Native! program, and the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force.

What to Do with Your Callery Pears During Quarantine

by Tina Casagrand
What to Do with Your Callery Pears During Quarantine
Use flagging tape to mark your Callery pear trees while in bloom when they are easiest to identify. You can return to the tree and treat it when you are ready. Photo by Felicia Amman.

Our Callery Pear Buy-back events, both scheduled for April in St. Louis and Columbia, have been postponed indefinitely. However, we still encourage property owners to cut the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) as a means to reducing populations from spreading.

Thank you for doing your part to help slow the spread of this invasive species!

As you remove Callery pear and other invasive plants, please send us a photo to [email protected] or mention us on Twitter and Facebook @moinvasives.

Here’s a quick overview on:

  • how to control Callery pears on your property
  • what to do if you currently don’t have the means to remove these invasive trees, and
  • how to spread awareness about invasive plants beyond your backyard.

Callery Pear invading roadside near Highway 50. Photo by Bill Ruppert.

What’s the problem with Callery pears?

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is a popular ornamental tree native to China. Several cultivars of the tree are offered commercially, including ‘Aristocrat’, ‘Autumn Blaze’, ‘Bradford’ (which is the commonly planted “Bradford pear”), ‘Capital’, ‘Cleveland,’ ‘Chanticleer’, ‘Redspire’, and ‘Whitehouse’.

When cultivars in the “Callery pear” family cross-pollinate, their fertile seeds sprout up and aggressively take over areas where they aren’t wanted. Escaped Callery pear can grow densely along roadsides, unmowed fields/meadows, open woods, or any other open areas. Emerging seedlings will require up to 3 years to be noticeable from a distance, and up to 5 years before trees begin to flower. 

We define an invasive plant species as “an aggressive, non-native species whose presence causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health.” These species grow and reproduce rapidly. 

MoIP is most concerned with invasive species because of their direct negative impacts. Callery pear, for instance, is costly to remove and devastating to the habitats where they crowd out native vegetation that is nutritious for local wildlife.

We are encouraging property owners to identify the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) and remove them from your property as a means to prevent populations from spreading.

OK, I see I can help by removing Callery pears from my own property. What’s the best way to do that?

Use flagging tape to mark your Callery pear trees while in bloom when they are easiest to identify. You can return to the tree and treat it when you are ready. Photo by Felicia Amman.

The following advice comes from Dr. Reid Smeda, University of Missouri Extension, for the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force:

Control of trees is easier when they are small.

Do not mow seedlings or small trees, as single stem trees will re-emerge as multiple stem trees.

To control trees from seedlings to about 6 feet tall, leaves can be treated with some formulation of glyphosate. An effective rate is 2-4 quarts per acre of a concentrated form (not the Ready-To-Use formulation) of glyphosate. If you want to mix only one total gallon of spray solution, add 4-8 ounces of concentrated glyphosate to 1 gallon of water. Mix the herbicide in water and add a small amount of surfactant (0.5% of final volume). Spray the solution on pear leaves and be sure to cover the entire tree. Be careful to avoid spraying adjacent desirable vegetation, because glyphosate can damage that also. Trees can be treated once leaves come out in the spring until leaves turn color in the fall. Damage symptoms are slow to develop (30 days) and complete control of treated plants can take up to 7 months.

An alternative to treating Callery pear leaves is to treat the base of the tree. Optimum timing for this technique is fall through early winter. Pour a small amount of a concentrated form of glyphosate into a small open-mouth jar. Identify a small, 1 inch diameter, disposable paint brush. Add a small amount of food coloring to the jar and stir to dissolve the food coloring (I like red or blue). No surfactant is needed. Using a chain saw or other saw, cut the Callery pear tree down and make the final cut across the base of the trunk until only a short (about 1 inch) stump is visible. Within 20 minutes of the final cut, paint the top of the stump with a thick coating of the red-colored glyphosate. If control is effective, you will not see any shoots come from the base of the stump.

Be sure to wear gloves and all proper protective equipment as described on the glyphosate label.

Let’s help our native trees and get rid of Callery pear!

I don’t have a chainsaw or other control methods available right now. Is there anything I can do now to stop the invasion of Callery pear trees?

Yes! We encourage you to identify the trees in April while they are flowering and mark the tree with flagging tape or another secure, visible marker. You can go back and control the tree whenever you are ready.

Use flagging tape to mark your Callery pear trees while in bloom when they are easiest to identify. You can return to the tree and treat it when you are ready. Photo by Felicia Amman.

Please make sure you are identifying Callery pear properly. Callery pear limbs generally grow vertically, forming a pyramid or egg shape. In early April, very dense clusters of white flowers cover the tree before leaves form. In maturity, they reach heights of 30 to 40 feet.

See below for more information on proper identification:

Where can I get help having my Callery pear professionally removed?

Please refer to the Grow Native! Resource Guide listings for Arborists and Land Care & Landscape Services to find professionals in your area who can assist with tree removal. These companies are on board with the Grow Native! mission to protect and restore biodiversity.

The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force is housed under the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program.

How can I spread more awareness about Callery pear?

We all have a role to play in educating the public about invasive species and their impact on the economy and environment in Missouri and other places we love.

  • Plant native Missouri plants on your property. Learn more at GrowNative.org
  • On social media, share your photos of cutting down your own Callery pear with the facts provided above. Please tag us @moinvasives on Twitter and Facebook, and use the hashtag #InvasivePlant so we can share in your successes!
  • Engage your neighbors, local business owners, and other connections in conversation about invasive plants.
  • Ask your political representatives at the state, local and national level to support invasive species control efforts.

Remember, email us at [email protected] with a photo of your Callery pear removal. We will stay in touch with information about future Buy-backs.

Thank you again for doing your part.

 

You Should Be Concerned When This Plant Goes Vertical

by Tina Casagrand
You Should Be Concerned When This Plant Goes Vertical
Alan Cain, groundskeeper at STLCC Meramec, saws and treats the roots of a dense stand of Euonymus fortunei `Coloratus’ (wintercreeper euonymus). The plant had completely surrounded the trunk of a sycamore on campus.

St. Louis Community College-Meramec takes action to remove an aggressive, exotic vine that is invading St. Louis and Missouri.

The sycamore tree was so smothered by a dense vine that its white trunk appeared green. The campus of St. Louis Community College-Meramec (STLCC) had been invaded by Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’ (commonly known as wintercreeper euonymus or Climbing Euonymus), and if the facilities department didn’t do something soon, the problem would get worse. They tasked groundskeeper Alan Cain to liberate the sycamore and 32 other trees.

“This will be an ongoing effort as we work to remove the Euonymus fortunei on the campus,” says Kelly Crandall, building and grounds supervisor for the campus. “Hopefully we will be able to remove individual plants as we recognize them once we have established control.”

How did this plant become such a problem? According to a fact sheet developed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, wintercreeper euonymus—a broadleaf semi-evergreen creeping vine—“was chosen for cultivation because it grows rapidly, even under harsh conditions. Found in a variety of habitats, wintercreeper euonymus can tolerate full sun, heavy shade and moist soil conditions.” 

It establishes easily in disturbed or neglected soil, so many places where humans have altered the landscape are prime ground for wintercreeper colonies. The vine’s aggressive growth robs native plants of their chance to grow, preventing them from being vital food and nectar sources for beneficial wildlife such as pollinating insects. 

Wintercreeper euonymus has been a mainstay non-native horticultural ground cover used for many years, to cover, as a turf alternative, landscape areas with poor soils, soil moisture limitations, and challenging exposure extremes, including extreme deep shade. As a horizontal ground cover, wintercreeper euonymus bears no fruit/seed, but its vertical vining form produces copious volumes of fruit that is favored by birds. Birds ultimately spread the seeds to landscape and garden areas where wintercreeper euonymus may not be intended nor desired and considered a weedy pest. Once established, wintercreeper euonymus can dominate the woodland floor, thus eliminating a diversity of wildflowers and other understory plants.


Grounds staff removed Euonymus fortunei vines from 32 tree trunks on campus. The vine’s aggressive growth robs native plants of their chance to grow, preventing them from being vital food and nectar sources for beneficial wildlife such as pollinating insects.

Beyond the ground level impact, the vertical vining growth of wintercreeper euonymus can impose structural damage, potentially inflicting death to trees and shrubs.

A statewide assessment organized by the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) found wintercreeper euonymus expanding its range at a moderate increase around St. Louis and causing moderate to severe environmental degradation in all regions of the state where data were reported. The abundance of escaped populations is particularly high the ecoregion that includes St. Louis. More than two dozen field experts assessed 142 invasive species for this assessment. The data were released in early 2019.

An inter-agency and inter-organizational resource of the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program, MoIP has the principal goal of making early detection and control of invasive plants a higher statewide priority. The MoIP website offers resources on how to control highly invasive species such as wintercreeper. “In addition to encouraging landowners to keep invasive species from spreading,” said Carol Davit, Executive Director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the nonprofit land trust that runs the Grow Native! Program and MoIP, “We also want to teach people how to plant beneficial native species in place of invasive plants.” 

Alternative native, ground covers include golden groundsel (Packera obovatus) wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), three-leaved stonecrop (Sedum ternatum), wild ginger (Asarum canadense), calamint (Clinopodium arkansanum) and pussytoes (Antennaria parlinii). This web page from the Missouri Botanical Garden offers photos of native plants for comparison, as well as links to instructions on how to manage invasive plants on your property. The Grow Native! Native Plant Database offers hundreds of native plants with customizable search options to choose other alternatives.

Wintercreeper euonymus can be identified by its dense groundcover up to three feet in height. Its thick, glossy leaves are oval-shaped, no more than 1 inch in length, and easily identifiable by silvery white veins. Smooth, pinkish fruits mature in the fall. 

“Since the vertical growth of this highly aggressive  ground cover produces the seed producing fruit responsible for unintended  landscape invasion, STLCC’s removal efforts are a valuable asset for both the campus grounds and the surrounding residential neighborhoods,” says Bill Ruppert, Kirkwood resident who spearheaded the establishment of MoIP. The grounds staff began cutting vertical vines June 2019. In most cases, the vines are cut, treated and left on the tree to fall off on their own accord thereby eliminating bark damage. The staff completed the initial cutting and removal in July and will return after the first freeze this winter to remove or recut and treat vine stumps. (For details on how to treat cut stumps with herbicide, visit moinvasives.org.)

“I think this action demonstrates that STLCC is a  responsible college that is concerned with the spread of invasive plants in the community,” says Jerry Pence, Program Coordinator/Assistant Professor in the horticulture department at STLCC-Meramec. 

The results of disconnecting the vines from their roots. Note the new green growth at the base of the tree, indicating the need for post-cut treatment to prevent new vertical growth.

MoIP’s website offers guidelines on how to manage invasive plants.. For information on landscape services, including professionals specializing in removal of invasive plants, and who sell native plants and seed, please visit grownative.org.

# # #

About the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force

The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!—a 19-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native! is administratively housed by the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org, email [email protected] or call 417-299-1794; for more on the Grow Native! program at grownative.org or for more on the Missouri Prairie Foundation visit moprairie.org.

About St. Louis Community College

Established in 1962, St. Louis Community College is the largest community college district in Missouri and one of the largest in the United States. STLCC has four campuses: Florissant Valley, Forest Park, Meramec and Wildwood. The College annually serves more than 50,000 students through credit courses, continuing education, and workforce development programs. For more information about STLCC, visit stlcc.edu

Sudden Oak Death confirmed in Missouri

Consumers should properly dispose of infected rhododendrons and lilac plants

[link to release]

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Agriculture, in coordination with USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service, has detected ramorum blight on rhododendron plants shipped to some retail nurseries in Missouri. The disease is more commonly known as Sudden Oak Death when it infects oak trees. The rhododendrons were shipped to Wal-Mart and Rural King stores throughout Missouri, as well as the Springfield Home Depot, Stark Bros. Nursery Garden Center and Fort Leonard Wood PX.  

Consumers who purchased rhododendrons or lilac plants of the known infected varieties labeled Park Hill Plants from these stores between March and June of this year should dispose of the plants immediately. Consumers who are unsure of their plant’s variety should look for wilting or browning leaves, leaf spots and twig dieback. If consumers notice these symptoms, they should contact the Department’s Plant Pest Control team at (573) 751-5505 and begin the disposal process.    

Varieties that have been infected should be disposed of immediately to prevent further spread of the disease. Plants may be destroyed by burning, deep burial or by double-bagging the plant with its root ball in heavy duty trash bags for disposal into a sanitary landfill (where allowable). Consumers should not mulch, compost or dispose of the plant material in municipal yard waste. Garden tools used to dig up any affected plants should also be sanitized before they are used again.

Sudden Oak Death is a form of ramorum blight and is caused by a fungus-like pathogen known as Phytophthora ramorum. Since the 1990s, the plant disease has caused mortality in some types of oak trees in California and Oregon, but it has not established itself in the Midwest. The disease has a host list of more than 100 species of trees and shrubs, including rhododendrons.

Since early June, the Department has worked alongside USDA-APHIS to visit more than 113 retail locations to collect samples and place potential host plants under quarantine. USDA-APHIS has worked with Wal-Mart to organize a voluntary recall of the impacted plants, while other locations have isolated or destroyed affected plants. Any remaining plants confirmed with ramorum blight, and any host species comingled with the confirmed positive plants, will be destroyed.

Shipment of these rhododendrons has been successfully traced back to Park Hills Plants in Oklahoma and may have originated from nurseries in Washington State and Canada. Plant varieties identified during the investigation, which is still partially ongoing, were shipped to at least 18 states.      

Specific varieties of rhododendrons that have tested positive in destination states include:

  • Cat Cunningham Blush
  • Firestorm
  • Holden
  • Nova Zembla
  • Percy Wiseman
  • Roseum Elegans
  • Wojnars Purple.

Specific varieties of lilac that have tested positive in destination states include:

  • Common Purple
  • Persian Lime

To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture or its programs, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.

Nominations Open for Invasive Plant Action Awards

Contact: Tina Casagrand, [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New awards program of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force to recognize exemplary work in invasive plant early detection and control.

Weblink

JEFFERSON CITY (May 13, 2019)—As public awareness grows about the harmful effects of invasive plants, the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) seeks to recognize individuals and groups performing outstanding work controlling invasive plant species on property in Missouri. Nominations for Invasive Plant Action awards are open now through July 1, 2019.

Nomination categories are for individual landowners, group collaborators, and researchers. Self-nomination is welcome; a recommendation by a natural resource professional is required to be eligible.

“There are many individuals and groups carrying out impressive invasive species control in every corner of the state,” says Carol Davit, chair of MoIP and executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. “We want to recognize those doing exemplary work and present them with an aware at an event of the awardee’s choice to be honored in front of their peers.”

By definition, invasive plants are those not native to a region whose abundance and/or rapid spread  harm economic and environmental resources. The Action Awards seek to demonstrate how control the spread of  invasive plants on Missouri farms, forests, woodlands, prairies, , gardens, roadsides and along waterways is wise stewardship.

Members of MoIP will evaluate nominations. MoIP is a resource of the Grow Native! program and the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

For more information and to submit nominations, please visit http://moinvasives.org/moip-invasive-plant-action-awards/

# # #

The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!—a 19-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native! is administratively housed by the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org or call 417-299-1794; for more on the Grow Native! program at grownative.org or for more on the Missouri Prairie Foundation visit moprairie.org.

Callery Pear Buy-back Event in St. Louis, MO — April 26, 2019

Do your part to reduce this highly invasive tree that threatens native wildlife and causes difficulties for private and public landowners, and receive a free native tree!

Jefferson City, MO (April 15, 2019)—Homeowners with an invasive tree in their yard can celebrate Arbor Day in a special way this year: by cutting it down.

To spread awareness about how the invasive Callery pear causes harm to economics and environment, MoIP will partner with Forest ReLeaf and Forrest Keeling Nursery for a Callery Pear “Buy-back” offering on April 26. People who supply photos of themselves with a cut-down, in-bloom Callery pear tree in their yards will receive a free native tree to replace it. The offer is limited to one native tree per photo proof of cut-down tree. Participants are invited to pick up their trees at Forest Releaf CommuniTree Gardens Nursery, located in Creve Coeur Park (2194 Creve Coeur Mill Rd SOUTH, from Hwy 141/Maryland Heights Expressway) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last.     

“People once planted Callery pear trees for the beauty of their spring blossoms,” says Carol Davit, director of Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) and chair of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP). “We now understand that when non-native Callery pear cultivars cross pollinate, the hybrid offspring become invasive, and are already causing harm to properties across the state.”

An inter-agency and inter-organizational resource of MPF’s Grow Native! program, MoIP’s principal goal is to make early detection and control of invasive plants a higher statewide priority. The MoIP website offers resources on how to control highly invasive species; and provides resources on native alternative trees to plant instead of Callery pear. “We don’t want to merely encourage landowners to keep invasive species from spreading; we want to teach people how to plant beneficial native species in place of invasive plants,” Davit says. “We are excited to partner with Forest ReLeaf, whose mission is to restore and sustain urban forests by planting trees and enriching communities.”

Native, noninvasive trees with white flowers blooming in April include serviceberry, wild plum, and dogwoods. This web page from the City of Columbia offers photos of native trees for comparison.

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is native to China. Several cultivars of the tree are offered commercially, including ‘Aristocrat’, ‘Autumn Blaze’, ‘Bradford’ (which is the commonly planted “Bradford pear”), ‘Capital’, ‘Cleveland,’ ‘Chanticleer’, ‘Redspire’, and ‘Whitehouse’.

Callery pear limbs generally grow vertically, forming a pyramid or egg shape. In early April, very dense clusters of white flowers cover the tree before leaves form. In maturity, they reach heights of 30 to 40 feet. Property owners are encouraged to cut the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) as a means to reducing populations from spreading in unwanted areas.  (For details on how to treat cut stumps with herbicide, visit MoIP’s management page.)

Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

These cultivars are generally themselves unable to produce fertile seeds when self-pollinated, or cross-pollinated with another tree of the same cultivar. However, if different cultivars of Callery pears are grown in proximity (for instance, neighboring homes or strip malls), thanks to insect pollination, they often produce fertile seeds—carried by birds—that can sprout and establish wherever they are dispersed. Each year, older trees in urban landscapes produce viable seeds that contribute to growing infestations. Breaking this cycle begins with choosing native alternatives for future plantings, and controlling existing invasive populations.

Participants in the “Buy-back” will have the opportunity to receive one of the following trees native to Missouri: Bur Oak, Northern Red Oak, Shumard Oak, Roughleaf Dogwood, Buttonbush, and hackberry. Four hundred trees are available, each in 3-gallon containers and between 4 and 5 feet tall.

Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis and may go fast; call ahead to 417-299-1794 or 314-956-2561 to confirm availability. To be eligible for a free tree, participants must either bring a photo of themselves next to their cut-down Callery pear or email the photo ahead of time to [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I cut down my callery pear in the last year–can I still get a native tree to replace it?

A: Rules still apply: bring or email a photo of the downed tree or cut stump, preferably with you in it. Tree availability is on a first-come, first-served basis .

Q: I don’t have a chainsaw. Where can I get help having my Callery pear professionally removed?

A: Please refer to the Grow Native! Resource Guide listings for Arborists and Land Care & Landscape Services to find professionals in your area who can assist with tree removal. These companies are on board with the Grow Native! mission to protect and restore biodiversity.

Q: Can I have a voucher to pick up my tree?

A: If you email [email protected] ahead of time, we will log your photos, but we unfortunately are not equipped to keep track of orders ahead of time. Trees will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on April 26, 2019. We have 500 native trees available, but they may go fast; you may call ahead day-of to 417-299-1794 or 314-956-2561 to confirm availability.

Q:  I have 2 “Cleveland” Pear trees, would they be eligible?

A: Yes, absolutely, Cleveland Select is one of 26 cultivars of the Callery pear!

Q: I cannot transport a tree to Forest ReLeaf.

A: We’re not asking that people bring in a Callery pear tree itself – a simple photo of yourself with one cut on your property will do!  

Q: I live too far from St. Louis to make the trade worth it. Are any other cities doing a Buy-back?

Our hope is that the St. Louis Callery pear Buy-back is a smashing success so we can make a case for taking the program to other parts of the state in 2020.

However, the event in St. Louis is our only pilot location for the Buy-back model. 

As a task force, we are working to get invasive plants in more conversations. Our task force chair maintains a good relationship with the Missouri Municipal League, and she will present on the Buy-back and other MoIP projects at their upcoming conference in September. We also have many members and stakeholders tasked with sharing our information in their parts of the state.

Q: I wish Missouri’s county governments and the state would cut down their invasive pear trees on road sides and government land. They are contributing more than a homeowner with 1 tree. We all need to be part of the fight to support native trees.

A: Great point! We are working to get invasive plants in more conversations and out of more land–private and public alike.

As we explore ways to have an impact statewide, a common answer from government entities is that they need to hear from more citizens themselves who are concerned with issues such as invasive plants on public land. Any advocacy you and people in your circle can do will go far.

And there is a lot of good news! For instance, in 2018 Missouri State Parks released a comprehensive invasive species management plan for each of their parks. The Army Corps of Engineers is doing a lot of invasive plant work, as is Mark Twain National Forest. That’s only naming a few.

In fact, we are compiling a web page highlighting the commitments and work different state agencies are doing to address invasive plants. We hope to have this online before our next quarterly meeting July 9, 2019. Stay tuned, and thanks for your interest!

Q: I want to remove Callery pear from my property. What is the best way to ensure it does not grow back?

A: Please see Effective Control of Callery Pear – instructions by Dr. Reid Smeda, MU Extension, for the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force

# # #

The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!—a 19-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native! is administratively housed by the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org, email info or call 417-299-1794; for more on the Grow Native! program at grownative.org or for more on the Missouri Prairie Foundation visit moprairie.org.

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. Since 1993, the organization has provided over 200,000 native trees for plantings throughout the region. www.moreleaf.org

Cut Down This Tree — Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force Encourages Replacing White-Blooming Callery Pear with Native Species & Promotes “Buy-back” Program

by Tina Casagrand
Cut Down This Tree — Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force Encourages Replacing White-Blooming Callery Pear with Native Species & Promotes “Buy-back” Program

Contact: Tina Casagrand, [email protected]

Callery pear’s white blooms most obvious this time of year. This highly invasive tree threatens native wildlife and causes difficulties for private and public landowners.

Reid Smeda leads a tutorial on best management practices for controlling Callery pear against a backdrop of hundreds of Callery pear trees that took over an empty lot in Columbia, Mo. (photo from MoIP)

Missouri (April 8, 2018)—Call it the Jekyll and Hyde street tree of Suburban America. Once a favorite tree to plant for its profusion of spring blossoms and brilliant fall foliage, the Callery pear—also referred to as Bradford pear—is now becoming known as a weak-wooded, smelly, thorny nuisance.

Callery pear limbs generally grow vertically, forming a pyramid or egg shape. In early April, very dense clusters of white flowers cover the tree before leaves form. In maturity, they reach heights of 30 to 40 feet. Property owners are encouraged to cut the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) as a means to reducing populations from spreading in unwanted areas. (Click here for details on how to treat cut stumps with herbicide.)

When non-native Callery pear cultivars cross pollinate, the hybrid offspring become invasive, meaning they are aggressive trees whose presence causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health.

“From China to our backyards and parks, Bradford pears brought white flowers and fall colors to many parts of the U.S. for decades,” said Dr. Reid Smeda, Professor in Weed Science from the University of Missouri. “Recent introduction of other cultivars led to hybridization and resulted in fertile seed production. Through foraging birds, escaped Callery pear populations have exploded, and threaten native biodiversity as these invasive trees steadily march into our native grasslands and forested areas, and are even becoming a headache for land developers. Don’t let the beauty of this beast fool you,” Smeda said.

Dr. Smeda is a member of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP). An inter-agency and inter-organizational resource of the Grow Native! program, MoIP’s principal goal is to make early detection and control of invasive plants a higher statewide priority. In February 2019, MoIP unveiled its statewide Invasive Plant Assessment that ranks the impact, abundance, and trend in abundance of 142 different invasive plant species.

The assessment found that, in regions with sufficient data, Callery pear’s presence imposed moderate to severe environmental degradation on the landscape, and its range is increasing at moderate to severe rates. The MoIP website offers resources on how to control this highly invasive woody species; and provides resources on native alternative trees to plant instead.

On April 26, 2019, as part of its 2019 Callery pear awareness campaign, MoIP will partner with Forest ReLeaf for a Callery Pear Buy-back offering. People who supply a photo of themselves with a cut-down, in-bloom Callery pear tree in their yards will receive a free native tree to replace it, one per household (or per cut-down tree), at Forest Releaf CommuniTree Gardens Nursery in Creve Coeur Park (2194 Creve Coeur Mill Rd) on April 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last.      

The organizations caution owners to properly identify Callery pear against other native, noninvasive trees with white flowers blooming in April, including serviceberry, wild plum, and dogwoods. This web page from the City of Columbia offers photos of native trees for comparison.

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The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP) is a resource of Grow Native!—a 19-year-old native plant marketing and education program serving the lower Midwest. Grow Native! is administratively housed by the nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation. For more information about MoIP, visit www.moinvasives.org or call 417-299-1794; for more on the Grow Native! program, or the Missouri Prairie Foundation, visit grownative.org or moprairie.org

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. Since 1993, the organization has provided over 200,000 native trees for plantings throughout the region. www.moreleaf.org