South Bend’s new invasive plant ban includes Bradford pear

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Dozens of invasive plant species, including a commonly planted flowering tree, will be banned from being sold or planted in South Bend starting this fall under a new ordinance.

The South Bend Common Council voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of the ordinance, which takes effect on Sept. 1. The measure fills a gap of 47 land-based plant species the state left off of a ban it created in 2019 against 44 species, the South Bend Tribune reported.

The ban does not apply to anything that’s already planted, and many of the plants it covers aren’t sold in garden stores.

But the list does cover the callery pear tree, which includes a cultivar known as the Bradford pear.

Steve Sass with South Bend’s Ecological Advocacy Committee said that species native to China and southeast Asia is often planted for its bright white spring flowers, but it can cause many problems by spreading.

“In the South Bend area, it’s a problem in natural areas but it’s not yet as huge of problem as it is in central Indiana. You take a drive down US-31 around central Indiana, there are literally just seas of white trees on both sides of the road in many places,” Sass told WSBT-TV.

The ban also covers Norway maple trees, burning bush and the groundcovers periwinkle and English ivy. All of those plants have spread aggressively into local parks.

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