Norfolk Botanical Garden is a 155 acre oasis surrounded by beautiful water views that include 52 themed gardens and natural areas throughout the Garden. In the early 1960’s, NBG designed and planted an allee of trees, known as NATO Vista, composed of Crapemyrtles, Bradford Pears and Norway Maples. The Pyrus calleryana, commonly known as the Bradford Pear tree, have become an invasive species, according to the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, and are in the process of being removed.
This fruit bearing tree is a food source for local birds and other wildlife; the seeds pass through their digestive systems causing much of the invasion. Sapling trees have sprouted, invading other areas of the Garden. You can see hundreds of these invasive trees lining local area highways and interstate systems.
“They are a foreign species that have already started to invade open areas and displace other, native trees and have become a maintenance concern,” said Brian O’Neil, Director of Horticulture.” “The Garden will begin discussions on the redesign and re-purpose of NATO Vista after the pears are removed.”
The ground debris will be recycled and used as mulch for pathways throughout the Garden.
According to the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation
Invasive plants are species intentionally or accidentally introduced by human activity into a region in which they did not evolve and cause harm to natural resources, economic activity or humans. The Bradford Pear is a species that poses a moderate threat to native species, natural communities or the economy.