Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) response to fire in a managed prairie ecosystem

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

Midwest-Great Lakes Society for Ecological Restoration Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Bloomington, IN.


Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is an invasive tree introduced to North America as an ornamental from southwest Asia. It easily invades disturbed areas, causing a disruption to mid- to late-successional species establishment. The purpose of this study was to assess Callery pear demographics in a managed prairie and quantify the effects of a prescribed fire management strategy on Callery pear density and recruitment. This study was conducted at Arrowhead Prairie, Allen County, IN, managed by Little River Wetlands Project (LRWP). Before 2009, Arrowhead Prairie was primarily used for agriculture. Following LRWP acquisition, the property has undergone active management including native plant seeding and prescribed fire. The prairie was divided into a north and south section using a historic ditch, with the south section burned in April 2014 and the north section burned in May 2015. Fire in both years top killed Callery pear individuals, with 100% producing epicormic shoots and 83% producing more than one epicormic sprout. In contrast, 13% of individuals had epicormic shoots without fire. Trees were significantly shorter than prior to the burn; however root collar diameter was not different, suggesting that resources were used in primary growth. While fire did reduce stem height, it did increase the number of stems occurring within the burned section. Root stored reserves provided necessary energy to produce numerous sprouts by the majority of pear trees, although no trees produced flowers during the duration of the study. Plant age likely plays an important role in response to fire, with seeds and fruits succumbing. However, older seedlings may survive with increased epicormic shoot production.



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