The Bradford pear tree in Charleston, SC

This tree is beautiful, but the smell doesn’t match. | Photo by Johnny Brewer on Unsplash

We hate to be the pearer of bad news, but one springtime tree in the Holy City will soon be banned.

The early-blooming white flowers of the Bradford pear tree popping up around our lovely city isn’t necessarily something to celebrate. Those blooms are more of a warning sign than an indicator of spring.

Bradford pear trees, a cultivar of the Callery pear native to Asia, were introduced to the US in the early 20th century for their ornamental, symmetrical beauty. But don’t let their looks fool you — these trees are structurally weak + are quick to shed branches during heavy wind and rain.

Recognizable for their white flowers and strong, distinctive smell, these beautiful but pesky trees cross-pollinate with other pear trees, producing harmful offspring that threaten the lives of native trees and create food deserts for birds. Bradford pear trees have white flowers and inch-long thorns capable of puncturing tires.

As such, the Bradford pear tree will officially be banned in South Carolina in 2024. This year was chosen to give nursery owners time to transition + clear out their inventories.

But don’t dis-pearClemson University has plenty of guidance on how to remove + replace your Bradford pear trees.

We’re not here to burst your beautiful springtime buds, here are four native trees Clemson recommends planting instead.

  • Pagoda dogwood | A gorgeous multi-stemmed tree with showy white blossoms not dissimilar to the Bradford pear tree
  • American basswood | A large native tree with fragrant yellow blossoms in late spring
  • American beautyberry | Aptly named for its striking pink fruit + arching branches
  • Ashe magnolia | A smaller, deciduous magnolia with white, saucer-shaped flowers

Learn about 40 more trees recommended for Charleston here. Wondering where to head for your plant + gardening supplies? Check out these 10 local plant nurseries.

Roots and Shoots Nursery, 1108 Wappoo Rd.

Roots and Shoots offers 300+ species of flowers, trees, shrubs, vines, fruits, and vegetables. Check out in-store offerings or browse the online store.

Hyams Garden Center & Accent Store, 870 Folly Rd.

Hyams has been serving the Lowcountry since 1981, offering a team of horticulturists and home + garden dècor artists. Learn gardening tips and insights from the “Gardening Wisdom” interactive platform.

Abide A While, 1460 N. Hwy. 17, Mt. Pleasant

This local nursery offers free classes held on Saturdays that feature topics such as springtime blooms, rose care, and hydrangea care. Heads up: The next class is on April 23.

Flowertown Garden Center, 410 E. 5th N. St., Summerville

Stroll through over three acres of designed display areas, offering trees, plant material, and pottery.

Meeting Green, 1455 Meeting St.

Schedule a container garden consulting & installation with this local nursery to ensure that you’re choosing the best plants for your garden.

Angel Oak Nursery, 2484 Ashley River Rd.

Not looking to plant an outdoor garden, but want an indoor nursery? Check out Angel Oak Nursery’s array of indoor plants.

Hidden Ponds Nursery, 4863 N. Hwy. 17, Awendaw

Swing by to explore Hidden Ponds Nursery’s newest addition: The Butterfly House.

Brownswood Nursery and Landscape, 1290 Brownswood Rd., Johns Island

Read about how this local spot began as a backyard oasis in the 1960s + established its location on Johns Island in 1978.

Terra Bella Garden Center, 4716 Forest Hills Dr., North Charleston

Terra Bella offers full-service design + installation, from initial design to completion.

Bonus: Who needs the Bradford when The Angel Oak Park has free general admission? Pack a picnic + head over to Johns Island to see one of the oldest living oaks — estimated to be 400-500 years old.