SUMTER, S.C. — Bradford Pear Trees may be nice to look at, but experts say they're not good for the environment.
That's why they're encouraging locals to chop theirs down in what they're calling a 'Bradford Pear Tree Bounty.'
"What we want to do is encourage people to cut down their Bradford Pear Tree, take a picture with your cut down tree, bring it in and we will give them a free native replacement tree," David Coyle, Assistant Professor in Clemson University's Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, said, "and when you cut that tree down make sure you treat that stump."
Coyle said this is their second year facilitating the effort, this time expanding it to Sumter. Theo Lane with Duke Energy said their company is providing the new trees.
"They grow very fast, they grow very tall and they grow very brittle. So, in times of adverse weather conditions, they become a problem for our service reliability particularly if they’re planted in close proximity to power lines," Lane said. "So, what we’ve done with this Bradford Pear Bounty program we’ve funded is to help people remove those trees. They take those trees in, they come in and then we give them noninvasive species.”
Sumter-area property owners are encouraged to come to Swan Lake Iris Gardens, located at 822 W. Liberty Street, to exchange up to five Bradford Pear trees for a healthy species.
The event will be held in Sumter Feb. 27 and Clemson March 13 from 9 a.m.-noon. For more information on the locations, how the exchange works and how to register, visit https://www.clemson.edu/extension/bradford-pear/index.html