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Author Topic: Fast growing, highly productive plants that produce abundant flowers all year for bees  (Read 3329 times)
Mackayboi
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« on: June 05, 2013, 09:55:54 AM »

I have around 7 acres of land, and about 2 acres has been recently been cleared to the soil level. I was wondering if anyone can offer advice as to what type of Well flowering groundcover plant which bees are attracted too.

Also, what are some really good trees that bees love, which would be a boon for my hives? I've done some research and noticed Australian bottlebrush are bee friendly.
Is there any tree that you have taken notice of which is a great producer of nectar and pollen? Especially all year round?


I'm keen to get planting so as to offer soil erosion protection, so any advice re trees or shrubs is appreciated. I'm in central Queensland. Tropical climate.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 12:58:54 PM »

Not sure about Australia but here's what I like here:
Trees:
Tulip poplars
Black Locust
Linden (aka basswood)
Eucalyptus
Most any kind of Gum
Pussywillow (early pollen)
Red Maple (early pollen and a bit of early nectar)
All kinds of fruit trees (early pollen and nectar)

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Michael Bush
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 02:16:48 PM »

maybe this can give you some ideas about various things here in the US? pick a area that is sort of similar to yours there, and plants which are indigenous there also maybe?

  http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/ForageRegion.php?StReg=TN_11
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rawfind
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 03:11:02 PM »

I have around 7 acres of land, and about 2 acres has been recently been cleared to the soil level. I was wondering if anyone can offer advice as to what type of Well flowering groundcover plant which bees are attracted too.

Also, what are some really good trees that bees love, which would be a boon for my hives? I've done some research and noticed Australian bottlebrush are bee friendly.
Is there any tree that you have taken notice of which is a great producer of nectar and pollen? Especially all year round?


I'm keen to get planting so as to offer soil erosion protection, so any advice re trees or shrubs is appreciated. I'm in central Queensland. Tropical climate.

You need to plant a wide variety so that there is always something in flower, aussie native would be most suited as they are used to our
climate, grevillias , as a rule i look at what is supposed to be good for nectar feeding birds, nectar is the key word here!! plant some rosemary for winter, up north your climate is different to ours down here so you will have different choices, even clovers are a good source of honey if you have some grassland there, good luck
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Mek
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 01:39:39 AM »

Tradescantia ‘Purple Heart’ (Tradescantia pallid ‘Purple Heart’)

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3750224.htm
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Mek
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 01:59:45 AM »

I would be so growing Mangos and Lychees and Paw paws  and bananas (if you have no frost) I also heard there is some kind of native lemon/lime on landline.
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JasonP
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 08:36:45 AM »

Hey I'll send you a file which might help.
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Mackayboi
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 08:53:54 AM »

Thanks for all the replies, much appreciated.

Mangos YES, Lychees YES, Bananas YES. The climate here in central Queensland is beautiful and so many of these fruits grow very well.
I suppose I answer my own question by stating that as long as I start planting fruit trees, then there will be enough nectar and pollen for the hive.

JasonP just send a personal message to me and I can give you my email so you can send file.

Excited to get some trees growing!
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Mek
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 12:26:02 AM »

If you have to do some kind on hedging japotica is nice looking  it fruits berries on the tree trunk after seven years but it mainly flowers once a year for about 2 days. Bees also like the magnolia we had in the garden ( I think its called magnolia). Not too sure if your council does it but we get "free trees" in the rates notices...   
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Lone
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2013, 07:42:05 PM »

Hello there,

I've been asking the same question for years.
You are right about bottlebrush and grevillea, Mackayboi.  We planted all different varieties, and there are a few in flower all the time.  Nearly all of them flower multiple times a year, all year round, and there are always bees in them.  They say they are dry tolerant, but do like watering a couple of times a week, especially in the heat.  Make sure you use native tree fertilizer or manure.

Michael, I think we'd be hard pressed to get any of those trees here, nor do they sound tropical.  Gum trees of course grow wild..but would you believe..you can't buy them from the nurseries here anymore??  Apparently they are not currently fashionable.  Gum trees vary of course, but some varieties flower every 7-10 years, some take 20 years to flower.  Some seasons they will flower for extended periods.  They are naturally the best honey source.  I read in an american bee magazine about E. torwood, a hybrid.  It's grown specifically for bees in Israel (I think, from memory).  This would be ideal..if it's possible to get hold of!  It's probably a subject for a different post, but where can you buy eucalypts in north queensland?

Bettertobe.. there are some things on that list we have here, such as pumpkin.  Most of the trees are foreign to us.

Mek, I haven't heard of Tradescantia ‘Purple Heart’, but that article seems to suggest it is used to attract blue banded bees, not european honeybees.  I think most of your suggestions are good...for native bees, that is.  Mangoes are fertilized primarily by flies or stingless bees. That's why you hang a dead chook from the mango tree.  Even so, I haven't seen my stingless bees work the mangoes here.  I don't know enough about what is used in commercial pollination on lychees, paw paws and bananas, but I've only seen stingless bees on the banana flowers.  I think A. mellifera like paw paws, and possibly lychees.  If you are talking about jaboticaba, then the bees do love the flowers when they are out.  It can flower a few times a year, but just for a couple of days at a time as you say.  Awfully slow growing, but the fruit is terrific.

Mackayboi, don't think that you can plant enough to feed your hive.  It's only supplemental feeding.  You'll find they will be more attracted to whatever is out in the paddocks than what you spend time watering twice a week.  Bees do tend to like citrus which grows well here.  The smaller ground covers are a bit harder to maintain..tend to die off in the heat, and hard to keep water up to unless you have good irrigation system.  I do have a few "morning star" bushes in the garden, which flower in full force every morning, and the bees love them, mainly for pollen I think.  When you plant fruit trees, you will probably benefit from good pollination more than the bees will benefit from your efforts.  By the way, there are lots of kinds of melaleuca, and some have masses of sweet bushy flowers.   Fiddlewood is another dependable tree that flowers a few times a year, and is fast growing with lots of flowers.  It might not be the best honey producer, but adds to the rations.

Does anyone know if bees like fig tree flowers?  I don't mean the small edible fig trees, but those massive figs, such as moreton bay?  We have a few young ones growing here, haven't flowered yet.  But I imagine when they do flower there will be zillions of flowers.  I might have to live to 150 to see it I guess.

Lone
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 07:59:05 PM by Lone » Logged
Lone
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2013, 08:23:39 PM »

You have really started a never-ending story here.

Bees practically swarm around palm trees when they are in flower.  I don't know enough about when they flower or for how long, as mine have only just started flowering, but I'm guessing that a few different varieties could extend the flowering period.


Lone
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2013, 02:58:11 AM »

I grow figs (though not the big kind you speak of so they may be different)and figs have the flower on the inside of the fig before it turns to fruit, ants pretty much are what pollinates it, only. honey bees can't get inside it really.

maybe wolfberry, ocotillo, datura though from the nightshade family doesn't transfer to the honey or harm the bees, and they love it, paloverde, jojoba or kiwi.... the thing with having all those fruit trees is you are gonna have to take care of em too....fruit tree pests can be pests, not to mention disease/etc. at least here anyways. and then many animals like to come along and take all the fruit too.
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Mek
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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2013, 08:00:41 AM »

Hmm If I had two acres I would grow plants that you could eat...
Trying out a Rainforest Lime tree that I got from bunnings. Saw it on tv.
As for Ground cover I guess buckwheat is a good way to go. I have been growing and then replanting the seeds when I see rain coming down. Cant seem to save the seeds cos its been damp when the seeds are ready to be picked. 
I would like to know a weedy/non weedy plant that could grow under orchid trees like avocados? I was gonna try make my Calendula (pot Marigold) become "weedy"
Nasternum is another plant I would like to try make "weedy".
Mustard green - > pickle them
Dandelions -> great for tea
Corn Flowers  -> Great for tea
My borrage didnt leave me any seeds as it was wet when the seeds were ready to harvest but it got ganky when I was going to seed save.
Garlic Chives -> Scrambled egg, kimchi
Thyme -> once established don't really need to look after. 

Not too sure if this is the case with your land but it sound like its all been cleared... so there is no green material in your ground?
So maybe try green manure plants ie like clover and buckwheat? nurf the lawn and go clover and ground cover thyme? 
Arrowroot (use plant as mulch) Tree Lucerene create wind barrier quickly and use as mulch (I think this one can become weedy though but couldn't find out cos dad poisoned it thinking it was a weed)
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Better.to.Bee.than.not
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2013, 03:00:39 AM »

if it doesn't get to hot for buckwheat, it is really one heck of a honey producer thats for sure. easily 60-70 lbs of honey for one hive to produce per acre by itself. and of course you get the buckwheat also, you can use it to make buckwheat flour, and/or save the seeds for replanting.

I'm in Michigan, US, and we grow a lot of buckwheat here.at about a 40-50 lb of seed per acre, we get about 870 lb of seeds in return reported/acre of common average but as much as 1500 lbs/acre even. it's massively productive as you can see.

« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 03:15:50 AM by Better.to.Bee.than.not » Logged
Lone
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2013, 07:51:58 AM »

That's too bad about the figs.  I looked it up, and it seems different figs have their own kind of wasp which pollinates them. http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ploct99.htm

Better to be,  I don't know many of the plants you mention, but I know for sure that kiwi is a cold weather plant.  Remember Mackay is in the tropics.  Not quite as dry as where I am, but I'm assuming you wouldn't rely on rainfall for ground cover and "weed" plants.  If you worked at it full time, you could have a whole lawn of flowers for bees, just like this! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22846419

I reckon it's a lot easier to grow trees for bees up here, but it's nice to provide some other plants too.  I've never seen clover here, I don't know about Mackay.  Mek, would you show us a photo of your garden?  It certainly sounds nice.  I hope you get another beehive soon to give it a workout.

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Mek
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2013, 08:45:32 AM »



Letting some thyme grow on the ground and leaving the wild dandelion as is in the ground



This is the overall view of letting the buckwheat, thyme and dandelion grow.



This is the Calendula growing underneath it is probably some radish and behind it is mustard greens.



Close up picture



This is nasturtium growing underneath the banana plant safe from the frost.



The closest garden bed has leek buckwheat and gold beetroot
The right side has rosemary growing and pot marigold.





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Lone
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2013, 09:55:03 PM »

Thanks, Mek, very nice!    Smiley

Do you see bees working all those flowers?

Lone
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Geoff
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2013, 06:32:29 PM »

     Mid-winter in Gippsland, Victoria. Bees getting along nicely on protea, rosemary and lavendar. All hardy plants and get by on nil attention.
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Mackayboi
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« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2013, 08:30:44 AM »


Mackayboi, don't think that you can plant enough to feed your hive.  It's only supplemental feeding.  

It would seem that Supplemental feeding would be the only thing that planting a few trees here and there would do.

I have taken a survey of my area, around 2km from the radius of where I am going to place the hives, and the following features have come up.
-Natural water hole- non drying at low points.
-plenty of abnoxious weed known here as 'Japanese Sunflower' Which have many mini sunflower heads. They seem to be in flower all year.
-Woodland bush with many variety of trees.
- Also the property inherits 200 lychee trees.

So I think it comes to a conclusion, that there will be plenty of natural food supply for the beehives when they finally get into operation. (just finished the bee boxes, haven't collected a swarm yet) The trees that I will plant to Supplement the bees would definitely help production, but perhaps to really make a difference, the quantity and quality of the trees need to be of significant numbers.

This thread has turned out some really helpful advice, thanks.

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