Bradford Pear to be banned in South Carolina!

South Carolina will become only the second state in the United States to ban the sale of Bradford pear trees and any other pear trees grown on the commonly used Pyrus calleryana rootstock.

The ban on sales of Pyrus calleryana — or Callery pear — and three species of Elaeagnus will begin Oct. 1, 2024.

Bradford pears were once touted as sterile, but it turns out that if pollen from any other Pyrus species gets into Bradford pear flowers, the trees can make viable seeds. Those seeds are then eaten by birds and other animals and spread across the Southeastern landscape, contributing directly to one of the worst invasive plant species in the region — the Callery pear.

 

Bradfore pear

Callery pears are an aggressive invasive species with stems and branches possessing large thorns. They can spread by seed or root sprouts and can quickly take over a roadside, old field, pasture, vacant lot, or forest understory.

Does this mean that homeowners have to cut down a Bradford pear tree or remove the Elaeagnus shrub growing on their property? No, but they are encouraged to do so. In fact, Clemson University runs an annual program where residents can obtain a free, native replacement tree in exchange for cutting down their Bradford pear tree. For more details, see the Clemson Bradford Pear Bounty program.

 

The noxious weed shrub Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) has sadly been promoted for “wildlife plantings”.

 

One of the South’s most overplanted trees, per The Southern Living Garden Book.

“I think the impacts of it as it gets out into the natural landscape are pretty evident,” said David Coyle, assistant professor of Forest Health and Invasive Species at Clemson. “Frankly, there are a lot better things that people could put in their yards; there are a lot of good natives they should probably plant instead.”

Not only do Callery pears have nasty thorns that can damage everything from tractor tires to livestock, but they also damage the ecosystem by crowding out native plants while providing little to no food for insects.

The ban on these plants will make them illegal to sell or trade within South Carolina. “There are several ways to attack the problem, and one of those ways is to just stop it from being sold,” Coyle said. “As part of Clemson Extension’s Bradford Pear Bounty program, we’re trying to teach consumers that there are better things to plant and, essentially, teach them not to buy those non-native species. But you can’t reach everyone that way, so we’re trying to come at it from another way and just make it illegal to sell them.”

 

Noxious weeds are weeds that have been designated by an agricultural or other governing authorities as a plant that is injurious to crops, ecosystems, humans or livestock. To read the full news release, visit Clemson News: Invasive Bradford pear, 3 other species to be banned for sale in SC.

To learn about South Carolina’s other listed species, browse the State Plant Pest List.

Remembering Jim Fowler

In case you haven’t heard, we are sad to report the passing of SCNPS member James Alexander Fowler.

One of the earliest members of the Upstate Native Plant Society, Jim was a prolific contributor for many years. Having spent years of field research on native orchids and carnivorous plants, he became a leading expert in his field of study as a naturalist. His books and native plant images and information online provide valuable content to the science, and he was honored by the U.S.Postal Service with the publication of Wild Orchids Forever Stamp collection in 2020. Jim took his last photography field trip on Mount Mitchell on June 25, 2021.

Learn more about this incredible member and his contributions to native plants research and in our society in

Bill Stringer’s Remembering Jim Fowler

Patrick McMillan’s tribute

Walter Ezell’s The Timeline of an Untimely End

July 20 Going Native to Attract Beneficials

Upstate Program:  Going Native to Attract Beneficials

Join the Upstate Chapter on Tuesday, July 20, at 7pm for a timely presentation on attracting beneficial insects.  Drew Jeffers, our presenter, is a Spartanburg County Extension agent.

The Zoom link is: Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84388373145?pwd=c3JxUDVFUERhWlhSVEJ5MDBoRGM2QT09

 

Meeting ID: 843 8837 3145

Passcode: 725876

Join the virtual gathering at 6:30 pm for socializing.  The meeting will start at 7:00 pm hosted by Dan Whitten.

 

Jeffers has wide ranging experience.  He says, “I am a native of the mountains of eastern Tennessee. I have a B.S. in Agriculture and Plant and Soil Science, and M.S. in Plant and Soil Science from the University of Tennessee. My thesis project focused on woody tree and shrub liner production. I have worked as an herbaceous perennial grower for Zelenka Nurseries, a production manager for Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery, a bedding plant grower for Van Wingerden International, and an Integrated Pest Management(IPM)coordinator for Costa Farms – Costa Carolina.

Chat with your fellow SCNPS members and learn how to draw more beneficial insects into your landscape.

Roadside Botanizing

by Bill Stringer

The Upstate Chapter is planning a series of what we refer to as “roadside botanizing” field trips, in which we carpool to previously scouted sites along country roadsides.  Not your normal native plant hike, but it offers some real advantages: 1) Country roadsides are infrequently mowed and/or sprayed with herbicide, just enough to keep trees from taking over the roadside.  This enables a wide variety of herbaceous natives to establish and persist; 2) We have the mobility to visit a wide variety of soil conditions in the span of a day; and 3) We can cater to a wider variety of age groups than can participate in a hike.

On Saturday, Jun 26, we hosted our first roadside botany field trip of 2021 into Oconee County, including stops in the Andrew Pickens US Forest Service District.  Our stops included a roadside/utility right-of-way (ROW) near Clemson, a trip to Pine Mountain in the National Forest, and a third stop in a frequently burned open site in the Forest, near Long Creek.

At the Clemson site we saw 17 native herbaceous species, including goat’s rue, both smooth and fuzzy varieties of greater tickseed, Georgia aster, anise-scented goldenrod, and butterfly milkweed, as well as silky oatgrass and blackseed needlegrass (see Latin names and website links in a list below}.

Our next stop was along a USFS roadside on Pine Mountain.  It was a long, curvy, dusty ride to the site. The site is an annually mowed roadside/powerline ROW.  The managed strip was from 10 to 20 feet wide, bordered by pine and hardwood forest.  The high diversity in the managed strip was mostly native herbaceous species, while the herbaceous diversity under the adjoining forest was very low.  The list includes the species we saw at Clemson plus two butterfly pea species, spiked hoary pea (a close relative of goat’s rue), slender lespedeza, trailing lespedeza, pencil flower, cat-claw sensitive briar and white-topped aster, well as hill cane.

The final stop was an open site near Long Creek which is burned every 2-3 years.  The big thrill on this site was a bus-sized densely growing population of big bluestem, a major component of the midwestern tall-grass prairies.  New species here also included eastern silver aster, New Jersey tea, spiked wild indigo, and horsefly weed.

We went to one more USFS roadside to look for yellow fringed orchid, but it appeared that the roadside mower guy got there first.

We ate our picnic lunches at the Long Creek Fire Station, where we were treated to bake sale fried pies by Jackie Burke of our roadside team.  Another thrill was seeing the General Lee, the iconic orange Dodge Charger muscle car from the 1970’s Dukes of Hazard TV show.

I have always been a fan of country roadsides and utility ROWs, and this early summer botanizing trip was a huge success!

Participants included Jackie Burke, Bill Putnam, Seth Harrison, Adam Bailey, Janie Marlow, and Bill Stringer (who brought along his border collie, Jay, who had the most fun of all!)

List of Native Herbaceous Species Spotted

Note:  The underlined blue Latin names are links to the species pages on the USDA Plants Database
(https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/ )  Clicking on these links will take you to the species webpages.  Most of the images on the pages can be enlarged by clicking on them.

>Goat’s rue  Tephrosia virginiana

>Greater tickseed  Coreopsis major

>Butterfly milkweed  Asclepias tuberosa

>Georgia aster Symphyotrichum georgianum  Google elsewhere for image

>Anise-scented goldenrod  Solidago odora

>Silky oatgrass (downy danthonia) Danthonia sericea

>Black seed needlegrass  Piptochaetium avenaceum  

>Butterfly pea (Atlantic pigeonwingsClitoria mariana

>Butterfly pea (spurred butterfly pea)  Centrosema virginianum

>Spiked hoary pea  Tephrosia spicata

>Slender bush clover (lespedeza) Lespedeza virginica

>Trailing lespedeza  Lespedeza procumbens 

>Pencil flower  Stylosanthes biflora

>Little leaf sensitive briar  Mimosa microphylla 

>Narrowleaf white top aster  Sericocarpus linifolius 

>Hill cane  Arundinaria appalachiana  Google elsewhere for an image

>Big bluestem Andropogon gerardii  Andropogon gerardii

>Eastern silvery aster  Symphyotrichum concolor

>New Jersey tea  Ceanothus americanus 

>Spiked wild indigo Baptisia albescens Google elsewhere for image

>Horsefly weed  Baptisia tinctoria

SCNPS Objects to Removing Protections from Dwarf-Flowered Heartleaf

Since 1989, Dwarf Flowered Heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora) has been protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  This year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to “delist” the species – remove it from the Endangered Species list and thus remove its protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Dwarf Flowered Heartleaf lives only in three counties in South Carolina (Greenville, Spartanburg, and Cherokee) and part of the North Carolina Piedmont.  The Society worked successfully to protect property next to Blackwell Heritage Preserve in Travelers Rest, which contains both Bunched Arrowhead and Dwarf Flowered Heartleaf, and successfully opposed another development in Travelers Rest that would have wiped out a population of the plant.  With the leadership of the Society’s member Gill Newberry, SC DNR established Peters Creek Heritage Preserve in Spartanburg to protect a population of the plant.

The SC Native Plant Society, SC DNR, Prof. Newberry, botanist L.L. (Chick) Gaddy, and researchers from Appalachian State University all submitted comments opposing the removal of this species from the Threatened List.  Among other things, the comments noted that in 2017 the Service established a quota to deny 30 species a year in our region the protections of the Endangered Species Act in violation of the Act, that the Service had failed to comply with requirements it set out in 2011 for recovery of the species, that the Service was ignoring recent research that indicates that many of the populations it relies upon in North Carolina are in fact a different species, and that the species faces tremendous threats from development in the Piedmont and climate change.

The Native Plant Society, DNR, and the scientists most familiar with the plant hope that the Fish and Wildlife Service, now under new leadership, will withdraw this proposal.  To review the comments, go to www.regulations.gov, put “hexastylis naniflora” in the search function, click on the fifth result of the search (the Proposed Rule), and then click on the “Browse Comments” button.

Update by Frank Holleman

Mosquito Control Spraying

As summer arrives, so to will our shared annoyance with the mosquito.  This month we take a look at the growing national trend of using mosquito control pesticides to rid our backyards and communities of this dreaded nuisance, and the collateral damage to our non-targeted beneficial insects that comes with it.  Doug Lockard investigates the more common chemicals and application processes, the impact on native habitats, and some insights into dealing with their use in his article Reflections on Mosquito Control Spraying.  

 

Field Trip Report: Wildcat Falls

Trip leaders Rick Hoffman and Dan Whitten recently led a small group into the forests of the Blue Ridge in Western North Carolina.  Although we all had rain jackets due to the threat of misting rain, it proved to be a glorious day.   We reached the gorgeous Wildcat Falls pretty quickly and decided to continue on to see the incredible high mountain river where we stopped for lunch.  The six mile round trip was easy to moderate and although the falls, the river and the views were excellent, it was the incredible native plant diversity that topped the perks of the hike.  The high point was a multi-stemmed (trunk) Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) tree that may well be a national champion.  Checking after the trip the American Forest National Database of Champion trees and the NC Forest Service Champion Trees, and although we didn’t measure this tree, it seemed a likely candidate to be a contender.  It would certainly make a worthwhile project for someone.  The SC Champion Tree database was down for updating.

 

Changing Landscaping Pardigms

Former SCNPS President and life-long native plant advocate Rick Huffman reflects on the challenges of changing paradigms toward a more ecologically sound landscape design basis that takes into consideration a better understanding of soils, water, hydrology, light, shadow and micro-climates.  The article is a must-read for those of us looking to move their landscapes toward the ‘Living Landscape’ concept, and it’s an inspirational commentary for all native plant enthusiasts.

Read Landscape Design through the Lens of Ecology here.

 

Upstate Propagation Class

It’s that time again for the free Native Plant Propagation course at the Upstate Native Nursery.  We had to set aside this SCNPS favorite due to Covid for the past year and are pleased to announce the upcoming course at the Upstate Native Nursery. The three-hour course  includes the basics of both sexual and asexual (vegetative) plant reproduction and hands-on propagation.

Instructors Miller Putnam and Jon Fritz will guide you in the planting of your own seed flat from our Upstate Native Seed Bank. You’ll learn methods for bringing seeds out of dormancy (i.e., scarification, stratification), and through germination using a variety of recipes of soil, light, water, time and temperature.

The second and final class for this season will be held on Saturday June 5th from 9am-noon.  For more information on the class and to sign-up CLICK HERE or contact:

Miller Putnam, 864 325 9700  [email protected]