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Trees for Bees

 
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Trees are the bee's knees, and I'm pretty fond of bees too

Trees are an important, stable source of food for bees and other pollinators providing thousands of flower heads all in one place.

I could go on and list their other virtues but the fact you're on my blog leads me to assume that  you already have a pretty good appreciation of both trees and bees so let's get straight to the point of this post and find out which trees attract bees.

Bees from our Garden

The good news is there are trees that provide nectar and pollen for bees pretty much all year round. Better news is that most of them are very easy to grow and suitable for growing in a wide range of conditions including small and large gardens and in the wild.

You can view this post with photos and tables from our blog here - http://balkanecologyproject.blogspot.bg/2017/02/trees-for-bees.html

I've put together five lists of trees that you'll find below;

Trees for Bees that also provide fruit or nuts
Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Bees
Ornamental Trees for Bees  
Master list including all of the above in alphabetical order
Master list including all of the above in order that trees flower
Indicated on the lists are when the trees are in flower, what they offer the bees, i.e pollen, nectar or honey dew (see below for honey dew description), and whether and when the trees offer fruits, nuts or other wildlife foods. I've also included a link to plant profiles of trees that we stock in our bio nursery. You can find details of a bee tree multi pack below that we are offering from the nursery this spring.  

Trees for Bees that also provide fruit or nuts





Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Bees





Ornamental Trees for Bees  





Master list including all of the above in alphabetical order





Master list including all of the above in order that the trees flower

It's no coincidence that flowering and bee activity are triggered by warming temperature, During long cold winters in locations at high altitude or regions of high latitude, plants will not follow the sequence as illustrated below. In our gardens at approx. 580 m above sea level on the 42nd parallel north, the below table is an accurate representation, although there is a lot of variation within the month.







If you know of a tree or shrub that is great for bees and is not on the above lists please share it in the comments section below. Also if you see any mistakes in the list, I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know also in the comments section below.

Honey Dew

If you have ever parked your car under a tree and arrived back to find it covered in a sticky substance, you have come across honey dew. You have the sap-sucking psyllids or aphids to thank for this.

An aphid feeds by inserting its straw-like mouthpart (proboscis) into the cells of a plant and draws up the plant’s juices or sap. Most aphids seem to take in from the plant sap more sugar than they can assimilate and excrete a sweet syrup, honey dew, that is passed out of the anus.

For many other insects including ants, wasps, and of course the bees, this is a valuable source of food. Ants harvest it directly from the aphids, bees generally collect it from where it falls.




Ant drinking "Honey Dew" - I could not find the original source of this photo to give credit


Check out our previous blog here where I profile a polyculture design dedicated to bees and other pollinators




Polyculture for Pollination Support


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Click here to order our Bee Tree Multi-pack - One of each of the below trees Price includes delivery to anywhere in Europe


Albizia julibrissin - Silk tree Alnus cordata - Italian Alder Caragana arborescens - Siberian Pea TreeCercis siliquostrum - Judas TreeCornus mas - Cornellian CherryHibiscus syriacus - Rose of SharonLigustrum vulgare - Privet Koelreuteria paniculata - Golden Rain TreePaulownia tomentosa - Foxglove TreeRobinia pseudoacacia - Black Locust Tetradium danielii - Korean Bee Tree


Trees for Bees Multipack


Would you like to join us for our Regenerative Landscape Design course in Sep 2017?


Regenerative Landscape Design Course
 
Posts: 613
Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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willows are the 1st. to bloom here in early may then its my currants and honey berries. too cold for honeybees here but the bumbles and mason bees are out and about early followed midsummer by the leaf cutters.
 
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Those flowering charts on the Balkan Ecology website are a fantastic resource for permaculture design!  

https://balkanecologyproject.blogspot.com/2017/02/trees-for-bees.html?m=1

I like how the trees are also separated by Fruit and Nut, Nitrogen fixing, and Ornamentals.

It just reminded me of Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier's book, "Edible Forest Gardens, Volume two"

Appendix 3 of that book has several lists of species-by-function.

One of the functional tables is a Nectary Calendar (pages 545-549), so designers can ensure bees, birds, and beneficials can have food from April through October.  More food for them is more honey for us!

 
steve bossie
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Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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i just added 3 siberian pea shrubs to my yard for the flowers they put out, the peas i feed to my chickens and the nitrogen they fix. they are very easy to grow from seed and grow vey fast. once they are established are also drought tolerant. they are thorny but beautiful small trees  to about 15ft. but can be pruned smaller.
 
pollinator
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Thanks for the great resource!

Right now lilac jumps to mind, if only because it is blooming all around our neighborhood! Of course, that's more of a shrub, and maybe you weren't including shrubs. If you wanted to include bushes and shrubs, you may have the makings of another nice blog post!



Cheers!
 
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We have plenty of citrus here, but the bloom period is rather short. I imagine that would be a factor, too?  
 
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Location: Indiana
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This forum note was copied to the Blog Spot listed above also.

A tree that I did not see on your list is: Botanical name: Tilia cordata   -   All Common Names: little-leaved linden, littleleaf linden.

I was around one of these while on an early July fishing trip into Canada several years ago - huge tree, literally many thousands of
bees, sucking nectar out of the small yellow blossoms.

I now have some of these growing in my back yard. Last year the Japanese Beetles loved those trees too, but, they are alive and well again.
 
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I find it interesting that the honey bees seem to adore my apple trees, but don't take much interest in my pear tree. They do seem to have preferences! I need to find something they like that blooms early to plant under my pear trees to see if that helps? I've added comfrey (which they do seem to like) and Iris (which I haven't noticed bees visiting) but both of them bloom too late.
 
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