As far as invasive species go, the Bradford Pear Tree has to be one of the prettiest.

The Bradford Pear Tree is native to China and was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s and was a popular ornamental tree, especially in the south, by the 1950s.

The initial attraction is obvious. Bradford Pear Trees and beautiful during the early spring when its white flowers are blooming, and it's a hearty tree that requires little care, making it ideal for home owners that are looking for a little splash of color in their yards.

Unfortunately, the benefits stop there. While they look pretty, they have little to no benefits to wildlife and will quickly overtake other tree species in the area. They drop massive thorns that can disable the strongest of off-road tires. And possibly most offensively, they stink.

The tree is perhaps most famous for the scent of its blooms, which some have compared to rotting fish, urine and baby poop. The fragrant white blooms that appear in early spring draw admirers, despite the offensive smell.

That's right these trees smell like pee, poop, and rotting fish while they bloom. At this point I'm actually kind of intrigued by the Bradford Pear Tree and want to smell it for myself.

The trees are absolutely beautiful but I understand why some communities would like to "cancel" the Bradford Pear.

The western Chicago suburb of Northlake voted unanimously in November to ban the Bradford Pear from their town. They will come to your house, remove the Bradford Pear, and replace it with another tree, free of charge. That's how much they hate them.

The University of Illinois has some alternatives to the Bradford Pear that are appropriate for the area and will have a similar aesthetic to the Bradford Pear. They include:

  • redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
  • American plum (Prunus americana)
  • flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)

Do you have a Bradford Pear in your yard? Do they smell as bad as people say? Reach out and let us know.

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