Bradford pear tree removal

Bradford pear tree removal

HIGH POINT, NC — They may be beautiful, but beauty isn’t everything.

“Most insects won’t feed on them, so that creates the food desert for the birds we were talking about,” Piedmont Tree Services ops manager Taumafalofi “Lofi” Leasiolagi said.

What You Need To Know

  • The Bradford pear tree is an invasive species in our state
  • It’s choking the food chain, especially in forests
  • The NC State University Forestry Extension has a bounty program to reduce its numbers
  • Taumafalofi “Lofi” Leasiolagi, who has been working with Piedmont Tree Services for about four years, says Bradford pears are susceptible to wind damage and usually fall apart within 20 years

Leasiolagi has been taking down trees with Piedmont Tree Services for about four years.

“A good friend of mine, Stevie, he was actually selling equipment, tree equipment,” Leasiolagi said. “I guess he saw the money that could be made in it, bought a few pieces of equipment, called me over and asked if I could start running it.”

So, hey did. This year, the Bradford pear tree is proving to be one of the more invasive removals.

“Just this year, probably about four different jobs, so maybe around 20, so far,” Leasiolagi said.

For context, Piedmont Tree Services is one of dozens of tree removal companies throughout the area. The trees create food deserts for animals and usually fall apart within 20 years.

“They are very susceptible to wind damage,” Leasiolagi said, gesturing toward a fork in a tree the company was cutting down. “You look here at the unions where the stems meet at the trunk, man, they’ll just rip off.”

The US Department of Agriculture originally introduced the trees in the 1960s because they were cheap and easy to move. Sixty years later, you’re paying the price.

“For a mature one, you’re looking at maybe $500,” Leasiolagi said.

Between taking down a tree and buying new native ones, that can add up. So, the NC State University Forestry Extension started a bounty program. It kicks off on April 23 in Greensboro. You bring proof you got your Bradford pear taken down, and the program will give you a new native tree – up to five total.

The removal is on you, but there are tree service companies all over the state, just like Leasiolagi and the Piedmont Tree Services.

“Knowing that if I don’t show up, then a lot of guys, they won’t show up,” Leasiolagi said. “I think about how everyone else’s family depends on me. Not only my family, but everybody else’s family, too.”

The exchange will be from 9 am to noon on April 23 at the UNCG Park & ​​Ride lot at 1720 W. Gate City Blvd.

And if you miss this one, the forestry extension is planning many more exchanges for the Bradford pear this year and next.