Growing Trees for Bees

Paul Alfrey - Balkan Ecology Project
Wednesday, 8th March 2017

Paul Alfrey from the Balkan Ecology Project shares a variety of trees that we can all plant for the bees. From fruit and nuts, to nitrogen-fixers and ornamentals.

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 reading this 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.


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.

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

See the original blog HERE

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

See the original blog HERE
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. 580m 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.

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.

For the full article visit:

More from the Balkan Ecology Project

The early polleniser polyculture - plant for bees

Soil temperature and seed germination

Learn to market garden with the Balkan Ecology Project

Nitrogen fixing species for agroforestry systems