One of the first trees blooming right now is the Bradford Pear, but it has proven to be an invasive tree. In fact, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is urging the public to avoid this non-native tree species when shopping for a new tree this spring. The Bradford pear, Callery pear, Cleveland Select, Autumn Blaze, or Aristocrat multiply quickly and crowds out Missouri native plants. Missourians with these invasive pear trees on their property have the opportunity to cut down their trees and receive a free, non-invasive tree in return at several “buy-back” events around the state on April 18th. Registration to participate the “buy-back” is now open, as of today. To qualify, participants must submit a photo of their cut-down Callery pear online. One free native tree will be provided to each registered participant at a select location statewide on April 18th from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The nearest participating location is in Lebanon for the “buy-back” program. For more information on the buy-back events and how to register, visit