MDC and partners offer Callery pear ‘buyback’ opportunities

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Callery pear trees (pictured above) may be visually appealing, but the tree creates problems for wildlife and landowners. People can get a native tree by turning in a photo of a cut-down Callery pear on April 23 at Callery pear buyback events at select sites around the state. Photo courtesy MDC

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has teamed up with the Missouri Invasive Plant Council, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, and the Forrest Keeling Nursery to offer Callery pear tree “buyback” events at select sites across Missouri. In the southwest part of the state, these events will take place on April 23 in Springfield, Joplin, and Lebanon.

These buyback events consist of people removing one or more Callery pear trees to be eligible to receive one, free native tree. To participate, people need to submit a photo of their cut-down Callery pear tree to http://short.mdc.mo.gov/48C between the dates of March 15 and April 15. One free tree will then be awarded to the person who goes to the buyback event. In southwest Missouri, callery pear buyback events will be held on April 23 at these locations:

Springfield: 3-6 p.m., MDC Southwest Regional Office, 2630 N. Mayfair Avenue
Joplin: 3-6 p.m., MDC Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center, 201 Riviera Drive
Lebanon: 3-6 p.m., Atchley Park (participants need to go to park office directly across from park), 1805 Lynn St.

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Though their white flowers in spring give a visual attractiveness to Callery pear trees, these non-native trees pose a number of problems for landowners and wildlife. Their top-heavy canopy and brittle branch structure leads to a tree that often breaks apart in storms. Their flowers may be appealing to the eye, but they have a foul smell and many varieties of this tree has thorns. On top of this, the tree’s aggressive growth causes problems for wildlife, native plant species, and livestock owners who want to keep these trees from taking over their pastures.

To take part in the April 23 buyback event, participants must register by April 15 online at https://moinvasives.org/2024/01/12/callery-pear-buyback-2024/ Click on the desired location to start the registration process, upload at least one photo of each Callery pear tree that’s been cut down, and select one native tree species in return. One free tree will be provided to each registered participant.

More information about this event, including a list of replacement tree species offered, can be found at https://moinvasives.org/2024/01/12/callery-pear-buyback-2024/.

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