FROSTBURG — Frostburg citizens with a Bradford pear tree on their property have an opportunity to remove the invasive species and receive a native tree replacement from the city as part of its recently announced Bradford Pear Bounty Program.
During a Shade Tree Commission meeting over the summer, Sunshine Brosi, a professor at Frostburg State University, brought the idea for the program to everyone’s attention, said Elizabeth Stahlman, the city’s administrator. “It’s from other communities across the country that have done it.”
In order to participate in the program, residents must fill out an application and submit a picture of the tree.
“If we can’t verify by picture,” Stahlman said, “we’ll go out and do a site visit.”
From there, applicants will be notified when the Shade Tree Commission has verified the tree. Its removal, which the property owner is responsible for, will have to be verified, too. The program is limited to the first 25 applicants.
The options for a replacement tree from the city and commission include an eastern redbud, flowering dogwood or red maple.
They came up with the replacement trees based on them being native trees, but also because the eastern redbud and flowering dogwood are smaller ornamental trees that flower, like a Bradford pear does, said Stahlman. The red maple is a larger growing alternative.
“Redbuds are a hearty tree around here,” Stahlman said. “It also helps with our overall urban tree canopy.”
The trees come from a wholesaler and will be at least four-and-a-half feet tall and half-an-inch wide in the trunk. The selected replacement trees will be available for pickup near the Frostburg pool sometime around April 3.
The city has a few Bradford pear trees left, of which Stahlman said “probably the ones on Main Street will come down this year.”
The Bradford pear tree is originally native to China and was introduced to the states in 1964 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Among other things, the tree lives a short life, 20 to 25 years, and its structural integrity is shoddy at best, leading to it being prone to breaking in the wind. Ice does a number on them, too, and they spread quickly, edging out native tree populations.
Applications for the program can be found at https://www.frostburgcity.org/explore/logo/ad_city-news/bradford-pear-bounty-program/news_details.
Follow staff writer Brandon Glass on Twitter @Bglass13.