Pollination, the transfer of pollen from male to female parts of the same or a different flower is necessary to produce fruit and seed in many horticultural crops such as tomatoes, squash, watermelon, apples and peaches.
Pollinators include honeybees and many native bees, such as sweat bees, mason bees, digger bees, leaf cutter bees, and bumble bees. Certain flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps and even hummingbirds also serve as pollinators.
We can encourage pollinator populations in Polk County by providing plants that help sustain them. Pollinators are challenged daily by habitat loss, parasite and disease pressure, and the unintended consequences of pesticide misuse.
Bee forage plants can bloom season long with careful plant selection for Polk County. A combination of herbaceous perennial and annual plants, trees and shrubs can provide valuable resources to bees and other pollinators.
Bees can even use grasses as a pollen source. Anyone, from individual home gardeners to commercial and agricultural property managers, can promote pollinator health by selecting and planting appropriate plants. And as we celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees, let us plant some trees for bees.
Here are some trees to consider: Serviceberry, Hawthorn, Southern crabapple, Red bottle brush, Persimmon, Tupelo, Catalpa, American holly, American plum, Eastern redbud, Yaupon holly, Sourwood, American yellow wood, Crape myrtle, Black Cherry, Dogwood, Tulip tree, Carolina cherry laurel, and Chaste tree
The source of information for this article was “Selecting Trees and Shrubs as Resources for Pollinators,” UGA Cooperative Extension Bulletin 1483.