Cities working to prevent invasive species

Foresters across Greater Lafayette are working to safe local ecosystems from invasive species like the Bradford Pear Tree.

Posted: May 27, 2020 6:20 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Foresters in Greater Lafayette like Bryce Patz are leading the way to limit the spread of invasive species across the community.

They are focusing on saving local ecosystems from a species of tree known as the Bradford Pear.

"This is our opportunity to help remove those invasive species that have an amazing and terrible impact on our public lands as well as private lands," said Patz.

Patz helps run Operation Releaf, a remove and replace program in West Lafayette.

The program will remove any Bradford Pear with a non-invasive tree on any West Lafayette resident's property. But Patz said only trees within a public right-of-way are eligible to be removed.

"It's between the sidewalk and the curbs. But if people don't know if it's in the right-of-way or not, just give us a call or an email and we can verify that for you," said Patz.

According to Purdue's Urban Forestry Specialist Lindsey Purcell, these trees have been a growing issue over the years.

"They'll grow in virtually any growing condition. So what they do is they block out the favorable native plants and the ecosystem is just destroyed," said Purcell.

Lafayette has also taken steps to limit such plants from growing.

Urban Forester Tim Detzner said the city has made a list of plants that are prohibited from being planted.

"That doesn't apply to people's private property, but anywhere in the city and any new developments that come up, they are not allowed to plant Bradford Pears," said Detzner.

He said this is just one step the city is taking.

"It does spread so prolifically and we want to minimize that as much as we can," said Detzner.

According to Detzner, Lafayette and West Lafayette leaders have also been in talks to create a joint program.

Operation Releaf in West Lafayette will be removing Bradford Pears each spring and fall.

To schedule a removal, you are asked to contact Bryce Patz at 765-775-5160

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