[NAFEX] Non-fruiting callery pears? NOT!

Dr. Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Mon Apr 26 12:14:28 EDT 2010

Here in my town of Hopkinsville, KY - located near Ft. Campbell, KY - is
'Gander Memorial Park', dedicated to the 248 US servicemen based out of Ft.
Campbell and 8 flight crew members who died in a plane crash at Gander,
Newfoundland in 1985, as they returned from a peace-keeping mission in the
When the park was dedicated, in '86(I believe), they planted row upon row of
'Bradford' pears, one for each serviceman.  Within 10-12 years, they were
displaying the typical 'self-destruct' modality which is so common for this
cultivar - and by 15 years, over 100 of the 248 trees were badly damaged or
totally destroyed.

Additionally, the grove was a mass roosting place for millions of
blackbirds, starlings, grackles, etc. - particularly during their fall
Wonder upon wonders, somebody found Histoplasma capsulatum organisms in soil
underneath some of these trees.  Duh!  We've known for generations that soil
augmented with bird feces is the ideal 'growth medium' for this fungal
organism that is ubiquitous to this area of the country.  The alarmist media
and municipal administration treated the situation as if it were a SuperFund
hazardous waste site. 
He**, if they'd have sampled soil from beneath any of the thousands of
callery pears planted in residential settings around town, I'd bet they'd
have found Histoplasma spores there, as well - and there has been no
epidemic of histoplasmosis in the human or animal populations.
Anyway, they fenced the property to exclude public access and spend untold
hundreds of thousands of dollars having the pears removed, the
'contaminated' soil stripped, hauled away, and replaced, and replanted with
a smaller regimented planting of some variety of sheared/shaped dwarf
evergreen something-or-others. 

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Raby, Brian
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 9:39 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Non-fruiting callery pears? NOT!

South of where I live, there is an off-ramp intersection near Keystone and
86th street (for those that know the area) that is a triangular piece of
land.  Probably about an acre in size.  The entire area is packed with these
wild pears.  

Very pretty in the spring when the flower and in the fall when the leaves
turn.  When the fruit begins to ripen, the area becomes OVERWHELMED with
Starlings, Blackbirds, etc.. that come in to feed. When they take off and
move, the sun is literally blotted out.  It is just amazing to watch them as
they form these "organic" waves of bodies as they twist and turn in flight.

Central IN

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