Why is the city of Fayetteville giving replacement trees to people who cut down their Bradford pear tree?
Because not all trees are good.
The Bradford pear is just one of many cultivars of the callery pear, which is actually a non-native invasive species in the United States. The first callery pear was imported in 1908 from China to resist a blight attacking U.S. pear orchards.
The callery pear grows anywhere, no matter how dry or rocky the soil. Today we know that the callery pear and all its cultivars reproduce quickly, choke out native plants, and worst of all, are not eaten by Arkansas caterpillars.
An oak hosts over 500 species of caterpillars, but the Bradford pear hosts only a handful. A yard full of Bradford pears is a food desert for moths, butterflies, and birds.
So, for a more natural habitat and more birds, don’t plant a Bradford or any other cultivar of the callery pear, and if you have one, replace it with a native tree.