Trees for Pollinator and Butterfly Gardens
Carefully considering which trees to plant when designing a garden for butterflies and pollinators is crucial. Simply die to their size, a tree can offer a lot of food at once to wildlife. You can create a pollinator friendly yard and still have an attractive landscape by including the right varieties. Here are a few suggestions for small size tress which nave both a ornamental and wildlife value.
Crabapple – Crabapple trees are not only beautiful, they will help you to create a wildlife friendly garden. The early spring flowers will provide a food source for bees and other pollinators, then later in the season, the fruit will feed birds. Be aware that the size of the crabapple fruit is important. Some cultivars bear crabapples which are too large for the birds to eat. Look for a variety with smaller fruit such as ‘Sargent’ or ‘Prairie Fire’.
Chaste Tree – Chaste tree is a hardy, easy to grow flowering tree for southern landscapes. It blooms in summer over a long period and the flowers are highly attractive to butterflies and bees. The lavender purple spiked blossoms have a light fragrance which will heighten the atmosphere of your yard. Chaste tree is a good alternative to crape myrtle.
Maple – We love our native maple trees for their brilliant fall color but they are also important to wildlife. Maple is one of the first trees to bloom in spring. The tiny flowers are insignificant to humans but very important to pollinators since they offer the first bees to emerge an important food source. At that time of year food is scare so planting a maple tree will help our pollinator friends.
Mountain Gordlinia – A hybrid cross of our native Franklin tree, Franklinia alatamaha, and loblolly bay. The saucer like white blooms are a pollinator magnet! Flowers appear during the summer and this lovely little tree will keep blooming sporadically almost until frost. Blooms are also fragrant which is an added bonus in your garden.
Eastern Redbud – The pretty pinkish purple flowers which grow along the branches of Eastern Redbud will attract bees and pollinators to your yard. They will be all over this tree! Eastern Redbud comes in different varieties which range from purple leaf, green leaf or multi color such as ‘The Rising Sun’ pictured above. Redbud is also native for an eco friendly landscape.
Serviceberry – There are many varieties of native serviceberry but all will attract early emerging butterflies and pollinators. When in bloom, your tree will be alive with creatures gathering food. In fall the berries are edible to humans should you care to harvest them. They taste like blueberries. If not, leave them for the birds who will thank you for it.
More on Creating a Backyard Habitat
This is part of our series on Creating a Wildlife Friendly Garden.
Food – Fruit, berry and seed plants. See:
Trees for a Bird Garden
Perennials to Attract Butterflies and Pollinators
Shrubs for Butterfly, Bee and Pollinator Friendly Gardens
Attracting Wild Birds with Shrubs
Georgia Butterfly Host Plants
Coverage and Nesting Sites – Evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs for protected nest building spots. Visit:
Hedgerows for Wildlife Gardens Backyard Habitat
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