Pollinator Supportive Trees

Tall tree

Why plant trees for pollinators? 

Flowering trees are an important source of pollen and nectar for pollinators. They are especially important in spring, when tired, overwintered bees emerge and need. Maples and willows are notable trees that provide an early supply of food. Apples and cherries bloom a bit later, providing beautiful blossoms, and good food.

Flowering trees are also great for pollinators because they provide a large amount of food at one time. American basswood is one of the best nectar producers you can have. When an American basswood is in full bloom, it attracts many bees and other pollinators. If you have a small space, and want to maximize the pollinator food that you provide, trees are usually your best option. 

What trees are good for pollinators? 

Other trees that are good for pollinators include tulip trees, fruit trees, dogwood, wild black cherry, common choke cherry, catalpa, black locust, and many lindens. Some hybrid ornamental trees have blossoms that look pretty, but don't provide nectar for pollinators.  When in doubt, as questions, or go for native plants!

You might also consider flowering shrubs that support pollinators. Spicebush and buttonbush are two great options that are native to Michigan. 

More lists of trees for bees: 

Where to find pollinator-friendly trees

MSU - Finding Seedlings

Local tree nurseries

(know a nursery with pollinator-friendly trees that isn't listed? email mpi@msu.edu)

Take care of your pollinator trees

Make sure that you take care of your trees. It takes time for them to become established, and they have to be healthy to produce lots of nectar.   

Michigan Resources

Other Resources