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South Bend bans popular flowering tree

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WPTA21) - A popular flowering tree will no longer be sold in South Bend after city officials banned it.

The Bradford pear, which produces a dazzling display of flowers in early spring, will no longer be sold in South Bend beginning September 1. Regulations will also prohibit the planting of the trees.

Trees that are already planted will be allowed to remain.

Bradford pears are an invasive species. They became popular in the 1900's for ornamental reasons, adorning yards and city streets with those early season blooms.

Research cited by Indiana University shows the landscaping industry is responsible for just over 80% of invasive species in Indiana. In the case of the nearly ubiquitous Bradford pear, that leads to a reduction in native trees.

The prolific Bradford blooms so early, that it spreads its seeds before other trees have a chance to do the same. This strategy crowds out native trees that are beneficial to Indiana's environment.

Earlier this year, Fort Wayne officials asked neighbors not to plant the trees, but stopped short of banning them.

"I would recommend trying to find a native species for your yard," said Derek Veit, Superintendent of Forestry Operations. "They're well-adapted for our environment. They're well-adapted for our soils. Our native species offer seeds and fruits that our native wildlife also enjoy. So planting native trees also encourages native animals."

For a list of trees and plants native to Indiana, click here.

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Brien McElhatten

Brien McElhatten anchors the evening weekday newscasts at ABC21. He also hosts and produces the ABC21 Daily podcast.

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