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Oklahoma forestry experts warn against Bradford Pears

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Bradford Pear tree looks beautiful but smells terrible, and its scent isn't the only reason people are cursing the greenery.

“It was deemed the perfect tree. I mean, it's beautiful in the spring, because it has the flowers and it's contained. It can grow about anywhere in Oklahoma, and then in the fall it has really great colors,” said Mark Bays, urban forestry coordinator for OK Forestry Services.

They also thought it was sterile when they were brought over from China in the 1960s.

That's not the case.

“Birds eat the little berries. They fly off and do what birds do, and so they are planting them across the state right now," Bays said.

A recent survey of Oklahoma City parks found there are 542 Bradford Pears growing in city parks.

They're also on a watch list for invasive plants in Oklahoma.

That's because, in the last 10 years, the Department of Agriculture started seeing problems with it spreading past its boundaries.

“If you have all of these Bradford Pears growing in close proximity to where other native trees are, they start taking from those resources that those native trees need - water in the soil, nutrients in the soil and then they can start crowding out the other trees that naturally should be there,” Bays said.

Plus, their tight-knit branches can cause damage to homes and vehicles during an ice storm.

“That ice load accumulates on all of the branches, and all of those branches are connected right at the very central part in the tree and they just completely self-destruct,” Bays said.

“I was happy to see that any kind of ice storm will take down a Bradford Pear because I sometimes fantasize about going around and cutting down all of the Bradford Pears I can find,” said Christine Eddington.

Eddington said she hates the Bradford Pear tree because they give her debilitating allergies.

"When the Bradford Pears start blooming, I start feeling sick unless I use massive precautions. I don't even run outside when the Bradford Pears are blooming," she said.

A once celebrated tree - now the obnoxious neighbor next door.