Cut Down Your Bradford Pear Tree, Get A Free Tree To Take It’s Place

Bradford Pear Trees in Catawba County

Bradford Pears in full bloom. Photo by Apline Tree Removal.

In Catawba County, a bounty is being offered for the troublesome Bradford Pear trees for anyone who is willing to remove them from their property. The bounty being a native replacement tree, provided by Duke Energy.

The Bradford, which was once seen as a beautiful ornamental tree that was good for the area, has since garnered it’s fair share of enemies. The N.C. Wildlife Federation, N.C. State University Extension, N.C. Urban Forest Council, Catawba County Government, the N.C. Forest Service, the Catawba County Master Gardeners, and Duke Energy are all teaming up to promote the destruction of these trees. Duke Energy is sponsoring the event by supplying three-gallon potted, native replacement trees.

How To Claim Your Replacement Trees

In order to take part of this event and claim up to five replacement trees (one for each Bradford you remove) you must first register online at Then, be sure to take before and after pictures of the tree, showing that it has been removed. Close up pictures of the tree, including the leaves, bark, and flowers (if present) are also required to confirm that the tree was indeed a Bradford Pear.

Then, simply go to the event on April 22 between 9:00-11:00am, located at the Catawba County Agricultural Resource Center (1175 S. Brady Ave, Newton), and show the photos to the event organizers to claim your replacement trees.

Why Hunt Bradford Pears?

Bradford Pear trees were promoted by the United States Department of Agriculture back in 1963. At the time, they were seen as the perfect tree to bring to our area from Asia, with their springy aesthetic and ease of growth. The issues associated with these trees were quickly discovered, and it has since been an issue to remove them.

To start, at the peak of spring they have a very unpleasant smell, like a decaying animal. They are also very susceptible to splitting and breaking, which has caused road blocks and other inconveniences. But the biggest issue is their rapid spreading. These trees produce huge numbers of little fruits, which combined with their ease of growth, makes them spread extremely easily and uncontrollably.

How to Remove the Trees

If the tree is a manageable size and you choose to remove it without the assistance of a professional, be sure to research how you can cut a tree to make it fall in the direction you want, to prevent any damage to your property or yourself. Ideally, you will want to remove the stump and root system altogether to prevent it from re-sprouting, but that isn’t always as easily done as it is said, so if you can’t remove the stump, just cut it as low to the ground as possible and cover it in a herbicide to kill the root system.

If you live in city limits, the trash pickup will gather the remains of the tree if you set it at the street on trash-pickup day. It must be cut in lengths no longer than 6 feet or they will not pick it up. Another tip I have employed, is to set the tree out at the street a little bit at a time. If you give them too big of a load to pick up, they will charge you (although it is a very reasonable rate). If you have room in the yard to store the tree, consider cutting the tree up, putting it behind the house, and setting maybe 1/5 of the tree at the street every week. That way you are getting rid of the tree over the course of 5 weeks, and you aren’t overloading the pickup guys so they won’t feel the need to charge you.

For more information, call 828-465-8240. Visit for details and to register for your new tree!

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