Bees and Trees | Trees and Shrubs | Resources | Activities

Bees and Trees & other species

Trees and shrubs are an important source of honeybee forage. In city and suburban locations around Philadelphia, tree planting helps to boost what’s available for the bees, over and above what else might bloom in yards and gardens. Carefully tended for a few years, trees will give back for decades. Specific trees can provide early pollen, boost the nectar flow, and offset the ‘dearth’ in late summer going into fall.

Across the country, habitat losses are understood to be one of the most important factors damaging the health and well-being of honey bees. Other insects, including America’s native pollinators, are likewise affected. In agricultural and rural semi-wooded countryside, conflicts develop over land use. Scruffy ‘wild’ areas are degraded and lost. These habitat losses rip at the web of life, and for us in the city, in a historically forested area, a renewed emphasis on trees and shrubs is an important part of the solution.

In 2016, in Philadelphia and other counties in the region, we’re halfway into a decade-long campaign to ‘Plant One Million’ new trees. The list of benefits is long. One goal is to have 30% tree canopy in every neighborhood. Philadelphia has a list of approved Street Trees and a TreePhilly program that gives away trees for people to plant in yards and other off-street properties. Similar projects are happening outside the city. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, host of the Philadelphia Flower Show, promotes and supports these efforts, and trains hundreds of Tree Tenders to plant and care for trees. Community organizations, schools, and other groups — even our sports teams — are engaged.

Beekeepers can help. Our interest in improving the forage for our bees fits nicely with civic efforts to replant the urban and suburban environment. We can partner with existing organizations. We know that, as part of the canopy, many of the new trees and shrubs will provide forage for honey bees, as well as provide habitat for other wildlife and beautify our landscape.

> Trees and Shrubs (a full list)


Our handout:

BToS_3rd-ed_20170204_5pp – a pdf, 5 pages

Our 2-pg handout is formatted to print out onto one sheet of legal-size paper (8.5×14″, both sides), and folded into a small booklet. The 5-page version above is in a larger font and formatted to be printed on regular ‘letter-size’ paper.

Comments and feedback are welcome. Join our Facebook group, ‘Bees & Trees and other species,’ to discuss the specifics and best strategies for building bee-friendly forage.

If you take photos of bee-friendly trees and shrubs, we have a new Flickr group: ‘Bees and Trees and other Species.’