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One year into Callery Pear tree ban, invasive species still blooming across Ohio

Wikimedia Commons - C. E. Price

Callery Pear trees were once a popular ornamental species across Ohio.

The landscaping-favorites can still be found throughout the state in yards and along the highway, blooming white flowers each spring. However, since 2023, the trees are no longer allowed to be planted in Ohio.

The Callery Pear tree is an invasive species with a risk of causing economic or environmental harm.

While there is no requirement to remove existing plants, the tree has been under a sale, grow, and plant ban for over a year.

Introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, the Asian native was originally considered sterile.

But after years of cross-breeding, Callery Pear trees gained the ability to spread and germinate at a rapid rate.

Ohio has a list of ecosystem-friendly alternativesfor people wanting to plant ornamental trees, said Thomas Macy, forest health program manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“At least 10 or so potential alternative tree species that could be used that might have some of the ornamental attributes that Callery Pear had, but don't present that invasive problem,” he said.

Depending on site conditions, Ohioans may consider using tree species native to the eastern United States with similar characteristics to the Callery pear. Some potential alternatives include:

  • serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)
  • eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
  • American plum (Prunus americana)
  • flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
  • American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
  • yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
  • hawthorn (Crataegus spp)
  • blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica)

Spotting the Callery Pear

The trees are easily recognizable by their small, white flowers that are often known to release a foul smell.

Known for its dark green, rounded leaves with a shiny upper surface, the pear trees also produce small, hard pears in the Fall. Birds will often consume the fruit from the tree and spread its seeds further.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, OSU extension, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture all offer helpful resources on how to control the spread of invasive plants like the Callery Pear tree.

There are also federal resources available to remove the plants from specific properties, according to Macy.

“In most cases, those are going to be woodland or forest type situations where that funding is eligible for," he said, adding it would also likely need to be at least several acres of land.

For more information on the ban and resources, visit

Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.