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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pollinator advice for National Pollinator Week

If you are interested in learning more about how to provide habitat on your property, TLC offers their Landscape Visionaries sessions.  A TLC staff member will discuss your vision on a visit to your property, and then write a report with suggested recommendations.  In honor of National Pollinator Week, check out this brief glimpse of a report for a local landowner who had beehives, and was also interested in native pollinators: 

"We had discussed planting a patch of sunflowers near your bees for easy pollen access.  I would recommend using Helianthus helianthoides (False sunflower).  This plant flowers for approximately eight weeks with the peak blooms occurring in mid-July.  It is self-sowing, attracts butterflies, bees, and if you leave it standing into the fall, the birds will flock to it to eat the seeds that have not already dropped into the ground.  This plant can tolerate moist to dry soils, and prefers full sun to partial shade, so the best option would be to plant this in the sunniest area near the bee hives.

We also discussed planting either a vine or some other type of shrub that would work as a wind block for the bee hives.  Locerina sempervirens (native honeysuckle) is a well behaved member of the honeysuckle family that attracts hummingbirds with its reddish orange flower.  This is a twining vine that needs some type of support to get started climbing.  It can be trimmed to your specifications.  The amounts of flowers on the vine are directly proportional to the sun that the plant receives.  It can tolerate drought but prefers a moist soil.  I would think that you should purchase four or five plants to act as a windblock for the bee hives.    

    Ilex glaubra (Inkberry) is a semi-evergreen shrub in the holly family (though not prickly like the American Holly).  You must be sure to plant male and female plants so that you will get berries and cross pollination.  The shrub produces a white flower in May, June, and July and is another plant that is touted by the Xerces Society as being a great plant for both honeybees and our native bees.  "

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