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Trees for bees?

Any suggestions for good trees for bees, please?

I'm compiling a list of plants for pollinators that I want in my garden this year, but I may have room for a tree or two, and if so I'd want then to be good for bees.

I've read that Goat Willow trees are. often buzzing with bees, but unless I coppice it then it may grow too large. Anyone actually have a tree that gets filled with bees?


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  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,460
    edited March 2021
    Goat willow is the top bee tree (aphids love it too). The popular variety called 'Kilmarnock' is a good size for a small garden. Goat willow's prone to black spot, rust and aphids and can look a bit of a shocker so maybe don't site it too prominently.

    Hawthorn is also good, and you get the berries too.
  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil CorkPosts: 588
    Cherry, apple, blackthorn, pear, elder flower, and rowan might also be good options for bees.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,004
    Some Cotoneasters make good small trees and can be kept to size by judicious pruning.
    Mine are always buzzing when they are in flower and birds like the berries too.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 805
    Later in the season they like gleditsia, though that may be too large if goat willow is off the agenda. Malus 'Red Sentinel' is a lovely, smaller tree.
  • I bought a hawthorn a couple of years ago and the bees love the blossom. I don't have the native common hawthorn but a cultivar called crataegus persimilis "Prunifolia". It doesn't grow too big and has the autumn colour I love.
  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 887
    Hi @LeadFarmer,

    I'm a beekeeper, and would suggest the following:
    Acers  / Crab Apples / Willows / Cherry and Portuguese Laurels / Cotoneaster / Pyracantha / Hawthorn / Holly / Tilia  - all good for nectar and pollen.

    Also Magnolia and Winter flowering cherry for pollen only.

    Depends what you've got room for, but if you can spread across the seasons that would be good ... early sources of forage are always welcome.

    Good luck with your plans.

    Bee x

     image 
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,155
    Hi @LeadFarmer,


    Also Magnolia and Winter flowering cherry for pollen only.

     image 
    I have a mature Magnolia tree in my garden already, I didn't realise it was good for bees. The flowers only last a week or so and soon get blown off in the wind. Does this then mean it becomes useless to bees when the flowers have dropped?
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,525
    My elderberry gets pollinated by something but the bees don't go near it 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 887
    Hi @LeadFarmer,

    Yep .... when the flowers are over they are no longer any use to the bees.
    You could try Magnolia stellata .... which are reported to be more resistant to frost and wind damage. They are also a good bit shorter ... so you'll be able to see the bees close up.

    I have the most fabulous book which I'm always referring to ...

    'The Bee Friendly Garden' Ted Hooper and Mike Taylor. It has an A-Z of useful bee plants throughout the seasons. Might be worth looking out for.

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • WillowBarkWillowBark Posts: 223
    Common hawthorn is a winner. My parents used to have a huge one in their garden and the bees loved it.
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