You may already have borage or milkweed in your backyard. What about trees that help bees though? Trees for bees can help these beloved pollinators in different ways than flowers can. If you aren’t sure which are bee-friendly trees, read on. We’ll outline pollinator trees and shrubs that will help keep bees alive.
About Pollinator Trees
Bees are the most important pollinator of flowers and crops. The recent decline in the bee population has everyone worried, including farmers and gardeners. Planting bee-friendly trees and shrubs is one way to help these essential species by providing a long-term balanced habitat.
Certain trees and shrubs are the backbone plants for a bee-friendly ecosystem. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plant smaller pollinator plants since habitats should be multi-tiered. Shrubs and trees for bees can provide nesting opportunities for both bees and butterflies.
Dead trees are the preferred nesting spot for many kinds of bees. Even the hollow stems of shrubs can provide nesting spots for some small bees like the tiny harebell carpenter bee.
Trees That Help Bees
That doesn’t mean that bee friendly trees don’t offer forage. A small tree or large shrub that is lush with pollen rich flowers is ideal for bee forage, since bees don’t need to spend energy flying from one plant to another.
Which are particularly good trees for bees?
- Fruit trees like cherry, pear, peaches, apple, and crabapple have lots of blossoms.
- Trees famous for their flowers like magnolia, forsythia, crape myrtle, lilac, and rhododendron.
- Other trees that help bees, like maple varieties, provide nectar for overwintering bees.
Bee-Friendly Trees for Windbreaks
Pollinator trees can also be those that help bees and butterflies avoid strong wind currents. Foraging bees and other pollinators get easily blown away. As an example, honeybees can’t withstand winds over 25 mph.
Your best bet when planting pollinator trees is to select a mix of deciduous and conifer trees and shrubs. Conifers are not pollinated by insects, but they do provide excellent wind protection for bees.
Other excellent choices of trees and shrubs for bees are those that flower and provide windbreak protection. These include honeysuckle shrubs as well as redbud, dogwood, willow, and serviceberry.