Local News

Bradford Pears are No Longer Welcome in Downtown Lillington

Posted February 13, 2008 7:22 p.m. EST

— Raleigh's the city of oaks, Washington's known for its cherry blossoms and Lillington is known for its Bradford pears – or at least it used to be.

In Lillington, Bradford pear trees line Front and Main streets.

"I like the trees. I think they're beautiful at holiday time when they put lights on the trees," Lillington resident Gloria Walker said.

To see the trees go has Walker feeling a bit sad.

"It saddens you too. It really does when you think about it," she said.

The 136 Bradford pears were planted in honor of Lillington citizens, but town officials said the trees have become too much of a nuisance.

"They get large. They get on awnings (and) get on buildings,” Lillington Mayor Glen McFadden said. "They've caused problems on the sidewalks, sewer lines, some substation problems with the infrastructure as far as roads. They also create issues with the power lines."

Bradford pears also don't age gracefully.

"They're always dropping limbs off of them when they get so big, especially after wind or ice or something like that. They will fall down,” said Travis Johnson with Big Branch Tree Service.

For $7,000, Lillington officials are having the trees whacked apart and ground up.

McFadden said the town will plant something else in their place as part of a downtown revitalization project.

"It's gonna be a smaller tree, or some sort of greenery, we're looking at,” he said.

McFadden said the town is considering crepe myrtles as replacements for the Bradford pears. All the pear trees are expected to be gone within the next two weeks.