The Best Trees and Shrubs for Ontario Pollinators

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So many times, people will inquire which trees and shrubs to plant to help feed our struggling pollinators.  Finally because of these numerous inquiries, I have constructed a listing of native trees and shrubs that bloom from April to September.   Different criteria were used to make our choices.

What makes our choices slightly different is that we base selection on bee appeal.  Universities rate plants based on their bee appeal.  Using these bee appeal value, only plants that were rated as very good or excellent were chosen.  Bee appeal usually translates to the production of vast amounts of pollen and nectar available to pollinators.  Also, our choices are native since native trees and shrubs have formed intricate relationship bonds with our native pollinators.  And lastly, we wanted plant choices to extend food availability for the whole season for hungry insects.

APRIL – The Serviceberry is a very important source of nectar and pollen for awakening pollinators along with maples and willows.

SERVICEBERRY (AMELANCHIER spp)

Serviceberry in bloom

Serviceberry fruit

MAY – The Plum are very fragrant and have abundant pollen and nectar.

CANADA PLUM (Prunus nigra)
AMERICAN PLUM (Prunus americana)

Plum in bloom

Plum fruit

MAY – JUNE – The Cherry family have abundant pollen and nectar.

CHERRY (Prunus serotina, pensylvania, virginiana)

Cherry blooms

LATE MAY – JUNE

Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)

Ohio Buckeye flowers

Ohio Buckeye nuts

THROUGHOUT MAY

EASTERN REDBUD (Cercis canadensis)

Redbud flowers

Redbud seed pods

LATE MAY THROUGH JUNE

NORTHERN CATALPA (Catalpa speciosa)

Northern Catalpa blooms

Northern Catalpa bean pods

MAY TILL LATE JUNE – The Indigo Bush flowers for an incredibly long time. Not fragrant but oforous.

INDIGO BUSH (Amorpha fruticosa)

Indigo Bush in bloom

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MAY – JUNE – The Eastern Flowering dogwood produces good amounts of both pollen and nectar.

EASTERN FLOWERING DOGWOOD (Cornus florida)

Flowering Dogwood flowers

JUNE – The Hawthrones

HAWTHORN (Crataegys spp)

Hawthorn in bloom

Hawthorn fruit

JUNE – JULY – Basswood produces copious amounts of nectar. Extremely important tree.

BASSWOOD (Tilia americana)

Nut fruit of the Basswood

JUNE – JULY – The Eldeberry

ELDEBERRY (Sambucus nigra)

Eldeberry in flower

Eldeberry fruit

LATE JUNE

HONEY LOCUST (Gleditsia tricanthos)

Honey Locust seed pods

EARLY JULY

SUMAC (Rhus spp)

Staghorn Sumac fruit

AUGUST – Meadowsweet is an important nectar and pollen source especially during typical August drought weather.

MEADOWSWEET (Spirea alba)

Meadowsweet in flower