Skip to main content

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) Response to Fire in a Managed Prairie Ecosystem

  • Adam R. Warrix (a1) and Jordan M. Marshall (a2)

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana Decne.) was introduced to North America as an ornamental tree in the early 1900s. Due to widespread planting, P. calleryana has become common throughout the eastern United States and has invaded natural areas, especially disturbed areas. Prescribed fire is a common management technique in prairie ecosystems to mimic natural disturbances. We tested the effectiveness of prescribed fire as a control technique for P. calleryana in a managed prairie system. Fire top-killed all established P. calleryana individuals. However, these individuals responded to fire with 3 to 4 epicormic sprouts each. Similar sprouting behavior occurred in 2-yr-old seedlings. Exposed seeds, fruits, and 1-yr-old seedlings were killed by fire. Established P. calleryana were single-stemmed individuals before exposure to fire. After the prescribed fire, they all were multistemmed, which increased the potential flower-bearing stems within the prairie. We conclude that fire alone is not a suitable technique for managing P. calleryana invasion. Cut and herbicide application methods are labor-intensive. However, combining cut and spray methods with prescribed fire may be effective. Fire removes standing grass and forb biomass, leaving exposed P. calleryana stems, which would make locating individuals and directly applying herbicides easier.

Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: Jordan M. Marshall, Department of Biology, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN 46805. (Email:
Hide All
Auld, TD, Bradstock, RA (2006) Soil temperatures after the passage of a fire: do they influence the germination of buried seeds? Aus J Ecol 21:106109
Bond, WJ, Midgley, JJ (2001) Ecology of sprouting in woody plants: the persistence niche. Trends Ecol Evol 16:4551
Brooks, ML, D’Antonia, CM, Richardson, DM, Grace, JB, Keeley, JE, DiTomaso, JM, Hobbs, RJ, Pellant, M, Pyke, D (2004) Effects of invasive alien plants on fire regimes. BioScience 54:677688
Creech, JL (1973) Ornamental plant introduction—building on the past. Arnoldia 33:1325
Culley, TM, Hardiman, NA (2007) The beginning of a new invasive plant: a history of the ornamental Callery pear in the United States. BioScience 57:956964
DeBano, LF, Neary, DG, Ffolliott, PF (1998) Fire’s Effects on Ecosystems. New York: Wiley. 352 p
Dirr, MA (1998) Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses. Champaign, IL: Stipes. 1005 p
Flory, SL, Clay, K (2006) Invasive shrub distribution varies with distance to roads and stand age in eastern deciduous forests in Indiana, USA. Plant Ecol 184:131141
Fulcher, B (2002) Trouble on Main Street? Tennessee Conserv 68:1215
Gonzalez, SL, Ghermandi, L, Paláez, DV (2015) Growth and reproductive post-fire responses of two shrubs in semiarid Patagonian grasslands. Int J Wildl Fire 24:809818
James, JJ, Smith, BS, Vasquez, EA, Sheley, RL (2010) Principles for ecologically based invasive plant management. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 3:229239
Kauffman, JB (1991) Survival by sprouting following fire in tropical forests of the eastern Amazon. Biotropica 23:219224
Kennard, DK, Gould, K, Putz, FE, Fredericksen, TS, Morales, F (2002) Effects of disturbance intensity on regeneration mechanisms in a tropical dry forest. For Ecol Manag 162:197208
Levey, DJ, Bolker, BM, Tweksbury, JJ, Sargent, S, Haddad, NM (2005) Effects of landscape corridors on seed dispersal by birds. Science 309:146148
Li, L, Revesz, P (2004) Interpolation methods for spatio-temporal geographic data. Comput Environ Urban 28:201227
Matzek, V, Covino, J, Funk, JL, Saunders, M (2014) Closing the knowing-doing gap in invasive plant management: accessibility and interdisciplinarity of scientific research. Conserv Lett 7:208215
Neary, DG, Klopatek, CC, DeBano, LF, Ffolliott, PF (1999) Fire effects on belowground sustainability: a review and synthesis. For Ecol Manag 122:5171
Nowak, DJ, Crane, DE (2002) Carbon storage and sequestration by urban trees in the USA. Environ Pollut 116:381389
Ojima, DS, Schimel, DS, Parton, WJ, Owensby, CE (1994) Long- and short-term effects on fire on nitrogen cycling tallgrass prairie. Biogeochemistry 24:6784
Oswalt, CM, Fei, S, Guo, Q, Iannone, BV III, Oswalt, SN, Pijanowski, BC, Potter, KM (2015) A subcontinental view of forest plant invasion. NeoBiota 24:4954
QGIS Development Team (2017) QGIS Geographic Information System. Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project. Accessed: February 2, 2018
R Core Team (2017) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Accessed: February 2, 2018
Raison, RJ, Khanna, PK, Woods, PV (1985) Mechanisms of element transfer to the atmosphere during vegetation fires. Can J For Res 15:132140
Reichard, SH, White, P (2001) Horticulture as a pathway of invasive plant introductions in the United States. BioScience 51:103113
Reimer, FC (1925) Blight Resistance in Pears and Characteristics of Pear Species and Stocks. Corvallis, OR: Oregon Agricultural College Experiment Station Bulletin. 214
Renz, M, Gibson, KD, Hillmer, J, Howe, KM, Waller, DM, Cardina, J (2009) Land managers and researcher perspectives on invasive plant research needs in the midwestern United States. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 2:8391
Swearingen, J, Reshetiloff, K, Slattery, B, Zwicker, S (2002) Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas. Washington, DC: National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife. 82 p
Vincent, MA (2005) On the spread and current distribution of Pyrus calleryana in the United States. Castanea 70:2031
Wenger, KI (1953) The sprouting of sweetgum in relation to season of cutting and carbohydrate content. Plant Physiol 28:3549
White, J, McClain, WE, Ebinger, JE (2005) Naturalized Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana Decne.) in Illinois. Trans Illinois State Acad Sci 98:123130
Whitlock, C, Higuera, PE, McWethy, DB, Briles, C (2010) Paleoecological perspectives of fire ecology: revisiting the fire-regime concept. Open J Ecol 3:623
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Invasive Plant Science and Management
  • ISSN: 1939-7291
  • EISSN: 1939-747X
  • URL: /core/journals/invasive-plant-science-and-management
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed